Discover the history of the perfectly preserved "Château d’If", one of the most impressive historical sites on the Mediterranean coastline.
Located on the island of If, the smallest island in the Bay of Marseille, the fortress was built in 1524-31 under the orders of King Francis I. The purpose of the building was to protect access to the port and to defend the coastline from sea-based attacks. In 1580, it became a state prison and its role won't change for 400 years. Over the centuries it gained a fearsome reputation as many opponents of royal power, especially Protestants and Republicans, were jailed and died in the fortress.
The most famous prisoner might be Edmond Dantès, the hero of Alexandre Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo, who was incarcerated before ultimately escaping. The fans of the novel will be glad to visit the permanent exhibition: Alexander Dumas and the Count of Monte Cristo.