An old fortress that became a prison, the Château d’If held the Comte de Monte-Cristo, a famous character from Alexandre Dumas novel. Today it is one of the city’s most visited spots. From le Vieux-Port, take the shuffle boat to reach the site.
The Château d’If is located a nautical mile from the Vieux-Port and was built in the 16th Century on François 1er order to be a fortress protecting the port access. At this time, the city is « the most beautiful window on North Méditerranée of the French kingdom », so the king wanted to preserve it.
At the end of the 16th Century, it becomes a state prison. One could not survive longer than 9 months in the ground floor cells because of the promiscuity and dirt. But the riches could rent one of the first floor cells, offering more space, windows and a chimney.
The Château d’If held famous people between its walls, like the commandant Jean-Baptise Chataud, accused by mistake to have brought the plague in Marseille in 1720, or the Comte Mirabeau. But its international notoriety came with a fictive character, Edmond Dantès, (le Comte de Monte-Cristo) who is kept prisoner during 14 years before escaping.
Tips & Anecdotes
Its name comes from the Greek « hypos » which means « little island ». The two last prisoners of the Château d’If were two Marseillais fishermen.
Ilot d’If, 13007 Marseille
Opening hours depending on weather forecast…
- From the 30th of March to the 12th of May, everyday, 10am- 5pm
- From the 13th of May to the 15th of September: everyday, 10am-6pm
- 16th of September to the 29th of March: everyday except Monday, 10.30am-5pm
- Château d’If admission ticket: 5,50€ full price/ 4,50€ reduced price
- Shuttle boat: 10,50€
HOW TO GET THERE?
Shuttle boat: get on board on the Quai de la Fraternité, 13001 Marseille