Marseille, also familiarly known as Marseilles is a city in France. The capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur region, Marseille, on Frances south coast, is the countrys second largest city, after Paris, with a population of 852,516 in 2012, Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia Marseille was the most important trading centre in the region and the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now Frances largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce, freight and cruise ships. The city was European Capital of Culture, together with Košice, Slovakia, in 2013. It hosted the European Football Championship in 2016, and will be the European Capital of Sport in 2017. The city is home to several campuses of Aix-Marseille University and part of one of the largest metropolitan conurbations in France, the Metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence.