Marseille is the prefecture of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in France. Situated in the Provence historical province, it is located on the coast of the Gulf of Lion, part of the Mediterranean Sea, near the mouth of the Rhône. Marseille is the second-largest city in France, covering an area of 241 km²; it had a population of 870,018 in 2016. Its metropolitan area, which extends over 3,174 km², is the third-largest in France after those of Paris and Lyon, with a population of 1,760,653 as of 2017, or 3,100,329 by the broader Eurostat definition of metropolitan region. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais.
Founded around 599 BC by Greek settlers from Phocaea, Marseille is the oldest city of France, as well as one of Europe's oldest continuously inhabited settlements. It was known to the ancient Greeks as Massalia and to Romans as Massilia. Marseille has been a trading port since ancient times. In particular, it experienced a considerable commercial boom during the colonial period and especially during the 19th century, becoming a prosperous industrial and trading city.