It was here in 1798 that Napoleon and his army departed for an invasion of Egypt. There were as many as 200 scientists joining these forces to gather "information" in Egypt. One person who wanted to join too was the famous scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. He tried to join them via Marseille, but he couldn't get a boat to cross.
Source: Andrea Wulf, 2016, De uitvinder van de Natuur