Lying on the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast, France's oldest city can look back on over 2,500 years of history. With 100m tonnes of freight passing through the port each year, Marseille has always been a bustling melting pot of cultures. Indeed, the city can be traced back to Greek sailors colonising the area in 600BC, which is why Olympique de Marseille's players are still known as 'Les Phocéens'.
There is now plenty to enjoy that marks the passage of time since then, from museums to churches, the beautiful Vieux Port area and the imposing Palais de Longchamp. Yet Marseille is also a transport hub – well served by rail, road, air and sea – and the gateway to the lavender fields, rolling hillsides and idyllic mountains of Provence, one of France's most popular tourist regions.
UEFA capacity: 67,000
Tenants: Olympique de Marseille
Opened: June 1937
• Famously open to the elements in the past, the renovated stadium will feature a roof upon completion, scheduled for mid-2014. The estimated €267m makeover is being carried out with the team still playing matches there.
• As its name suggests, Stade Vélodrome possessed a cycling track when it first opened in 1937, though the new venue's opening ceremony was capped by a football match between Marseille and Italian side Torino FC.
• The stadium has also hosted sports as varied as athletics, rugby, boxing, tennis, hockey and even motorsports, though its days as an all-purpose arena ended when the cycling track was finally removed in 1985.
• Stade Vélodrome staged matches at the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, with its capacity increased to 60,000 for the latter tournament; it also hosted games at the 1960 and 1984 UEFA European Championships.
• Located in the south of the city, on the north bank of the Huveaune river, the Vélodrome has regularly been used as a concert venue since the 1980s and has also hosted political rallies.