Photo courtesy Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With today’s challenging economic times, no municipality would argue with a cash infusion equating to 660 million Euros, over a five-year period. That is what the city of Marseille and the surrounding area has received, in funding, to create an exceptional cultural stage for 2013.

The concept of Cultural Capital of Europe started in 1985 with the purpose of featuring the pivotal role of cities in the daily life of the continent. It is also a way to highlight artistic talent and establish venues for cross-pollination of creative thought. Two cities are selected for each year, over the ensuing 27-year period, 40 cities have been honoured with the title. In 2013, the cultural centres are Marseille, France and Kosice, Slovakia.

Photo courtesy Carolyne-Kauser-Abbott

Chosen as in 2008 as a Cultural Capital for 2013, Marseille along with other regional cities in Provence have undertaken a gargantuan infrastructure and programming project to ready the inventory of venues. It is estimated that the region will welcome an increase in annual visitors by 12%.

And you thought the coastal beaches were busy last summer!

Photo courtesy Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Marseille Provence 2013 or MP2013 is the marketing signature for this yearlong event, with the following ambitious vision:

“European and Mediterranean: the title of Marseille-Provence’s bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2013 clearly expressed our ambitions for the project.
Because Europe is born of the Mediterranean, our bid to the European Union focused on building a hub for dialogue and creativity open to cultures from all around the Mediterranean basin.

Marseille-Provence has been involved in economic, political and social exchanges for the last 2,600 years. We used our unique historical position to convince the European jury of the pressing need to create a space where artists in all disciplines and European and Mediterranean audiences can meet and exchange. “

It is perhaps obvious that a tremendous team endeavor is required to ensure the success of this celebration. In a region touched by the current Euro-zone economic issues, it will be worth the effort if the millions of Euros of public/private funds spent are recuperated in visitor expenditures by an estimated 8-10 times.

Photo courtesy Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

The events will take place in Marseille and throughout a number of other locations in Provence, highlighting artistic talent from all parts of Europe. The region will benefit long-term from a legacy of modern museums, a refurbished ferry terminal, renovated galleries, outdoor art spaces and a new 360km-hiking route.

The annual program will kick off on January 12th with a contemporary art trail in Aix-en-Provence, and a spectacular light and music show in Marseille that evening. Sunday January 13th is a day of family oriented treasure hunts, 120 around the region. That evening, the renowned Groupe F, will treat viewers in Arles to an outer-worldly pyrotechnical show on the banks of the Rhône River.

The full 12-month calendar for MP2013 includes over 400 events, a vast showcase of music, dancing, cinema, theatre, hands-on workshops, literature, old masters, new talent and much more.

Are you planning to visit Marseille in 2013?


1. Marseille-Provence 2013 – official program guide pages 5-10
2. Marseille-Provence 2013 website
3. Marseille-Provence 2013 – progress report (April 2011)


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December 4, 2012

A City Comes To Life: Cultural Capital Marseille Provence MP2013

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