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Marseille, France

Marseille, located on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, is the largest commercial port and second-largest city in France, and one of the oldest cities in Europe. Historically, the economy was dominated by its role as a port of the French Empire, linking the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with metropolitan France. Because of its pre-eminence as a Mediterranean port, Marseille has always been one of the main points of entry into France, attracting many immigrants and made the city into a unique cosmopolitan melting pot. Currently over one third of the population of Marseille can trace their roots back to Italy. Marseille also has the largest Corsican and second largest Armenian population in France. Other significant communities include North African Arabs and Berbers (25% of the total population), Turks, Comorians, Chinese, and VietLeiden Netherlandsse. Marseille has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, humid winters and hot, dry summers. It is known for the Mistral, a harsh cold wind originating in the Alps that occurs mostly in winter and spring. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara desert. Marseille is a city that is proud of its differences from the rest of France. Today it is a regional centre for culture and entertainment with its important opera house, its historical and maritime museums, its five art galleries and numerous cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants. The most commonly used tarot deck, the Tarot de Marseille, comes from Marseille. Another local tradition is the making of santons,

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