MARSEILLE, France (AP) — The French city of Marseille has been inaugurated as the European culture capital for 2013.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault addressed crowds Saturday at the new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, designed by Rudy Ricciotti for this year's celebration.
The flagship arts center, situated on Marseille's old port, will promote shared culture from the Mediterranean basin.
Barroso says "Marseille Provence 2013 is a perfect illustration of dialogue between peoples."
Other projects for Marseille's year in the spotlight include a pedestrian district around the old port.
But not everyone was happy.
A 44-year-old resident, Mathilde Gockel, says "the pedestrian part is great. But to make a square, the booksellers near the Marseille Conservatory were kicked out. The soul has gone from that area."