Faced with the city of Marseille stands the Château d'If, whose importance has been a military posterity much less than the legends associated with this picturesque site.
The small island entered history in 1515, when it landed the first rhinos known in Europe, famous enough to be immortalized in engraving by Dürer.
The "Chateau d'If" was built shortly thereafter, between 1524 and 1531, at the request of King Francis. Commanding the entrance to the port of Marseilles, he had to protect the bay from attack and ensure the possibility of supply to the city by the sea.
The building, square, was confined three powerful cylindrical towers. In 1702, Vauban, commissioner of fortifications, ordered the construction, next to the castle, construction of guard known as "barracks Vauban."
From the 17th century, the fortress was used mainly State Prison. There enferma opponents of the royal power, including Protestants, and Republicans under the Second Empire. The site must, however, its fame on the talents of Alexandre Dumas novels, which situation the action of "Count of Monte Cristo", published in 1844 in the island of If.
In landing on the island If you will be surprised by the clarity of the water surrounding the limestone rock whipped so often by the mistral and calcined sun ... From reality to fantasy, entering the castle If you can impregnate the suffering of prisoners, known or lesser-known, real and imaginary, who stayed within its walls, locked in his cell and its cachôts.
A brief reminder of the novel by Alexandre Dumas : Named captain of Pharaoh, the sailor Edmond Dantès is about to marry the beautiful Mercedes when he is locked up at the Chateau d'If, falsely accused of bonapartisme. Another prisoner, Abbé Faria digging a tunnel to escape for many years, befriended him and gave him the existence of a hidden treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. After fourteen years of captivity, Edmond Dantes finally manages to escape (he was then 33 years, he joined in prison to 19 years) It then becomes the wealthy Count of Monte-Cristo and revenge on those who sent in prison. Among the enemies of the count, there are Villefort, the crown prosecutor, Danglars, the banker Dantès and the Earl of Morcerf, the rival in love Dantès and his son Albert de Morcerf.
Marseille 13 001
Boarding the Old Port (bottom of the Cannebière)
Quai de la Fraternité (anciennement Quai des Belges)
TEL : 04 91 46 54 65 (compagnie maritime Frioul If Express)
Opening hours (subject to change)
Du 2 janvier au 31 mai : de 9h30 à 17h30
Du 1er juin au 3 septembre : de 9h30 à 18h30
Du 4 septembre au 31 décembre : de 9h30 à 17h30
Dernière visite : en fonction des horaires de bateaux,
Office de tourisme de Marseille : 04 91 13 89 00