Five years ago, a European jury of 13 people and organizations designated Marseille Provence and Kosice, Slovakia the 2013 European Capitals of Culture. At long last, the calendar has turned, and those five years of planning are playing out all across Provence. Officially kicked off last week, the year of cultural celebrations demonstrates the extraordinary collaboration between 8 Provençal cities and more than 2.2 million inhabitants.
In Marseille, the best places to find complete information are the Pavilion M in the Place Bargemon and Espace Culture at 42 Canebiere, where event and exhibition tickets are sold and information about transport provided. Artistic and cultural events of all disciplines will take place from Arles to Toulon – from gastronomy and scholarly conferences to art displays and performing arts.
Impressive new cultural facilities enhance Marseille’s urban landscape along the seafront – MuCEM (Museum of Civilizations from Europe) and the Mediterranean, the Regional Centre of the Mediterranean, the Silo and the FRAC. Based in the Fort Saint-Jean overlooking the port, the MuCEM will house collections from the “Europe” department of the Museum of Man in Paris.The largest private cultural facility added to Marseille’s esteemed ‘collection’ is the Museum Regards de Provence, constructed in the former Sanitary Station of Marseille.
A unique concept of the Ateliers de l’Euro Méditerranée will host over 200 training and creativity workshops for artists, created as a major European project of intercultural dialogue. Also developed for the sharing of cultures and challenges will be six commissioned films on the role of women in the Mediterranean. Special tribute and exhibitions will focus on Albert Camus, whose centenary birthdate will be celebrated in 2013.
As the world increasingly reduces communication to rapid tweets and texts; the spirit of collaboration, communication and culture that permeates the Marseille celebrations is encouraging.