User description grew to become the preeminent Greek polis within the Hellenized area of southern Gaul. However, the city misplaced its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, throughout Caesar's Civil War, during which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at struggle with Julius Caesar.Marseille continued to prosper as a Gallo-Roman metropolis, becoming an early middle of Christianity in the course of the Western Roman Empire. It grew to become part of the County of Provence through the tenth century, though its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and a sack of the city by the Crown of Aragon in 1423. The city's fortunes rebounded with the ambitious constructing initiatives of René of Anjou, Count of Provence, who strengthened the town's fortifications in the course of the mid-15th century. During the sixteenth century the city hosted a naval fleet with the combined forces of the Franco-Ottoman alliance, which threatened the ports and navies of Genoa and the Holy Roman Empire. Marseille was a Gauls port center that grew to become the Greek colony of Massalia circa 600 BC, and was populated by Greek settlers from Phocaea (modern Foça, Turkey).The city's primary thoroughfare (the extensive boulevard called the Canebière) stretches eastward from the Old Port to the Rétypeés quarter. Two giant forts flank the doorway to the Old Port—Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south facet and Fort Saint-Jean on the north.Marseille's primary railway station—Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles—is north of the Centre Bourse within the 1st arrondissement; it's linked by the Boulevard d'Athènes to the Canebière. Marseille is the second-largest metropolitan space in France after Paris. To the east, beginning in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Farther east still are the Sainte-Baume (a 1,147 m mountain ridge rising from a forest of deciduous bushes), town of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m Mont Sainte Victoire.Farther out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, considered one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made well-known by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The major business centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at Rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse (one of many city's primary purchasing malls).To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an necessary bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the seventh and eighth arrondissements, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde.