From Aix-en-Provence to Marseille, from Arles to La Ciotat, a constellation of towns and villages fan out accross the wide range of landscapes that characterize the region of Provence. Three broad categories define the the region's unique social and geographical features : cosmopolitanism, the relationship between nature and towns/cities and urban cultures.
All throughout 2013, visitors and residents alike will enjoy outstanding moments throughout the Marseille-Provence region. From January to December, music, dance, exhibitions (fine arts, sculpture, contemporary art and architecture), circus arts, cuisine and theatre will shine throughout the whole of Provence.
The year 2013 will unfold like a long chronicle told in three parts. The story's central theme is the Mediterranean, the narrative of its two shores, and le partage des midis ("sharing the midi's"). This is the common thread throughout the entire programme.
Marseille-Provence presents the very best its towns have to offer. Urban cultures are the stars of the show, extending beyond music to include sport, literature, video, new technologies and arts of all kinds.
OPENING WEEKEND: the day and evening of Saturday, 12 January, will be highlighted by the participation of the Patrouille de France (French air force aerobatic show), the inauguration of a new cultural tour, the opening of new sites dedicated to culture, musical performances and pyrotechnical shows. Sunday, 13 January will be dedicated to families and popular events. All are invited to join the adventure by taking part in a giant treasure hunt held in several of the region's towns.
The second act of the European Capital of Culture's exhibitions unfolds under two ambitious projects: the MuCEM exhibition, a unique architectural creation at the entrance of Marseille's Vieux-Port which embodies the Mediterranean Basin as a bridge between East and West. A utopian version of Van Gogh is the foundation of the summer's flagship exhibition, held between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, as well as in Aubagne, Martigues, Cassis and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
Part 3 takes place under the banner of togetherness. Nearly a century later, the region's faces during this third and final act of the European Capital of Culture number not one hunderd, but one thousand. Theses faces are first and foremost the great "Mediterranean figures" - those emblematic personalities who continue to light our consciousness and fuel our imagination, such as Averroès, Albert Camus, Le Corbusier, Pasolini, Penone, Pistoletto and others.
Located at the crossroads of northern and southern Europe, the region enjoys a privileged position around the Mediterranean circle. The Marseille-Provence region can be reached by all means of transport via the Marseille-Provence airport (which includes the mp2 terminal dedicated to "low cost" airlines), the port of Marseille, railway connections, and motorways to Italy, Spain and northern France which provide quick links from the region to the rest of Europe.