Can a Cultural Makeover Clean Up France's So-Called Crime Capital?

Marseille has sought to maximize its year as European Cultural Capital to jumpstart a transformation of the notoriously rough-and-tumble port city. But will new initiatives provide enough momentum to dislodge old habits and stereotypes?

"Thanks to European Cultural Capital initiative, Marseille-Provence 2013, which will dump a projected €98,000,000 into the city by the end of the year, its cultural scene leads the charge for Marseille to be the thinking-person’s destination on the Med," writes Alexander Forbes.

Despite the construction of a host of new museums, ambitious architecture, and high profile public spaces, obstacles to the city's rebirth as a "vibrant Mediterranean capital" remain.

"Institutions aside, habits such as the population’s love for the automobile despite the city center’s fairly walkable scale, a recently revamped public transport system, and constant lack of parking leave a lack of street life aside from the most touristy areas directly surrounding the Vieux Port. It’s a point-a-to-point-b kind of place, not one in which to find your next café or bar by stroll and one in which you might spend triple the time driving to that next spot as you might have walking the kilometer or two."

Full Story: A Walk in Marseille: Will a Once-Rough City's Cultural Makeover Take?


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