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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 5, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 27
Vive la France! - Marseille to welcome hundreds of thousands for EuroPride
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Vive la France! - Marseille to welcome hundreds of thousands for EuroPride

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN Travel Writer

Bonjour, Marseille! The French city of approximately 1.6 million people, which lines the Mediterranean Sea in the Provence region, will host EuroPride 2013 on July 10-20. The 11-day event features a cultural bouillabaisse of activities and seminars that is expected to draw close to a million participants, especially with the recent legalization of Gay marriage throughout the country just weeks ago.

EuroPride kicks off July 10 with an Opening Ceremony at MuCem (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations) and climaxes with a huge parade on July 20 that runs from Vieux Port to Prado Beach. In between, a program that includes parties, public marches, and concerts will take place at several venues in Marseille, such as La Friche de la Belle de Mai and Dock des Suds (where I saw Phoenix perform to a sold-out audience in 2010). New this year is the first-ever EuroLesboPride, a five-day event folded into the larger itinerary that is exclusively for women. A Pride Boat cruise, Techno Parade with after-party dance, and a gathering of same-sex couples for a symbolic 'Marseilles Kisses' demonstration are also on the lineup.

The parade itself begins at 2 p.m., after keynote speeches by organizers, and will pass through various points before ending at Prado Beach (Gaston Deferre) for a closing concert that includes performances by Kazaky, Arno Cost, and Sophie Tapie. No international entertainers have thus far been announced, a change of pace from when Lady Gaga played live at EuroPride when it was staged in Rome.

Gay marriage narrowly became legal throughout France in April, but officially went into effect a month later. This will play a significant role at EuroPride, as the number of European countries legalizing same-sex marriage has increased to double digits. Homosexuality was decriminalized in France just 30 years ago, and the country has made enormous strides toward becoming one of the Gay-friendliest nations in the world.

TRAVEL INFO
Marseille is a beautiful city in the South of France, about a three-and-a-half-hour train ride or 45-minute flight from Paris. It's also a quick jaunt to the French Riviera, where you can sunbathe in Cannes, go shopping in Nice, or gamble in nearby Monte Carlo. The host hotel for EuroPride appears to be the InterContinental Marseille-Hotel Dieu (www.ihg.com) - at least it's the one featured on the event website. I can't vouch for the InterContinental, but I have stayed at the uber-fancy, waterside Le Petit Nice-Passedat (www.passedat.fr) and also at the budget-friendly Ibis Marseille-Gare Saint Charles Hotel (www.accorhotels.com), adjacent to the train station.

For EuroPride information, go to http://europride2013.com. For tourist information, visit www.marseille-tourisme.com or www.atout-france.fr.

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