In their first domestic match under new coach Elie Baup, Marseille needed a late goal from Benoit Cheyrou to beat a disciplined home side who created several good chances of their own during a see-saw affair.
Marseille were quicker out of the blocks and Reims goalkeeper Kossi Agassa was twice called into action in the opening 10 minutes.
First, he had to react smartly to keep out a long-range effort from Charles Kabore who was given too much room by the home defense.
Then in the ninth minute, Agassa managed to turn away for a corner a fine free-kick from Mathieu Valbuena from just outside the penalty area.
The visitors were almost left ruing their failure in front of goal as Gaetan Courtet got on the end of a free-kick to plant a header on target that Steve Mandanda just managed to block near the post.
And just before half-time Mandanda was called into action again as Kamel Ghilas found space at the back post to fire in a volley which Marseille’s keeper blocked with his foot.
After the interval, the game swung back in Marseille’s favor as Andre-Pierre Gignac tested Agassa with a powerful right-foot shot.
Gignac had another chance in the 53rd minute when Valbuena produced a good low cross but he sent his volley slightly wide.
More opportunities followed for Andre Ayew and again for Gignac but Agassa pulled off two more excellent saves.
Marseille kept going forward though, and they were finally rewarded in the 76th minute when a superb cross from Kabore from the right found Cheyrou at the left angle of the penalty area, and he produced a stunning volley to finally beat Agassa.