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Château d'If picture in Marseille
Château d'If picture in Marseille
Château d'If  picture in Marseille
Aerial Chateau picture in Marseille
Château d'If picture in Marseille
Château d'If picture in Marseille
Château d'If  picture in Marseille
Aerial Chateau picture in Marseille

Key Info

  • Embarcadère Frioul If, 1 Quai de la Fraternité
    13001 Marseille, France
  • Official Website

Details

  • Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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Château d'If is a 16th-century fortress, commissioned by King Francois I, set atop the smallest island in the Frioul archipelago less than a mile from Marseille. It was later used as a prison, considered ideal for its isolated, escape-proof location (similar to San Francisco's Alcatraz). Visitors to Marseille often travel by boat to this beautiful and mysterious monument, especially since it inspired the prison setting of Alexandre Dumas' famous book, "The Count of Monte Cristo." 

Once on the island, visitors are free to wander Château d'If at their leisure. Recent travelers described the experience as interesting, both for the ancient history exhibited here, as well as for the stellar views of the bay and Marseille in the distance. Since the island boasts only one outdoor cafe, some wish that there was more in the way of eateries or gift shops – even as a place to shelter from the cold winds of the island and kill time before boarding the ferry back to the city. 

To reach Château d'If, many travelers hop aboard a Frioul If Express shuttle boat from Marseille's Vieux Port. A round-trip boat ticket costs 10.80 euros (about $12.80) per person, though for families of four or more it costs 8.10 euros (about $9.60) per person. Kids younger than 4 ride for free. Keep in mind that entrance to the fortress costs extra – 6 euros (around $7). Château d'If is open every day except Monday, from Jan. 2 to April 1 and from Oct. 2 to Dec. 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From April 2 to Sept. 30, it's open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors can also take a 90-minute self-guided tour of Château d'If, or if scheduled in advance, a 30-minute guided tour. If you purchased a City-Pass, your admission is covered. For more information on facilities and services, visit the monument's website.

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#1 Le Panier Le Panier – or the Basket – gives a glimpse of Old Marseille and real Marseille culture. From its narrow winding streets that spill into squares to its restaurants, ateliers (worskshops) and ... Read more » Sami Sarkis / Getty Images

#2 Vieux Port Vieux Port started docking ships and boats back in 600 B.C., and it was a vibrant hub of the city until steamboats became the preferred mode of transport and ... Read more » ThomasSaupe / Getty Images

#3 Abbaye Saint Victor Abbaye Saint Victor is a working Catholic church, which was founded back in the 11th century as an abbey and named for the Roman soldier and Christian martyr Victor of ... Read more » RnDmS / Getty Images

#4 Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde – translated as Our Lady of the Guard – was built in the 1850s on the foundation of Marseille's ancient fortress. Today, this working Catholic ... Read more » Daniiielc / Getty Images

#5 Fort Saint-Jean Built in 1660 by Louis XIV, Fort Saint-Jean is a well-preserved fortress guarding Marseille at the entrance to the Old Port. Interestingly, it was built not to keep invaders at ... Read more » Evgeniya Ivanova / Getty Images

#6 Parc National des Calanques Visualize jagged limestone cliffs dropping into secret pebble beaches, which are lapped by the aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and you'll start to get a picture of the ... Read more » Raffi Maghdessian / Getty Images

#7 MuCEM The Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Mediterranée, which goes by its acronym MuCEM, is Marseille's history and cultural museum that leads visitors on an anthropological ... Read more » Cultura/Tim E White / Getty Images

#8 Cathedrale de la Major Where the Abbaye Saint Victor is unembellished in its design, the Cathedrale de la Major is ornate. But it's also younger: The Cathedrale de la Major was built in ... Read more » Fred Bahurlet / EyeEm / Getty Images

#9 Chateau d'If Château d'If is a 16th-century fortress, commissioned by King Francois I, set atop the smallest island in the Frioul archipelago less than a mile from Marseille. It was later ... Read more » Photograph by Paul Atkinson / Getty Images

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Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde picture in Marseille
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Parc National des Calanques picture in Marseille
MuCEM picture in Marseille
Cathedral picture in Marseille
Château d'If picture in Marseille
Le Panier picture in Marseille
Vieux Port picture in Marseille
Abbaye Saint Victor picture in Marseille
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde picture in Marseille
Fort Saint-Jean picture in Marseille
Parc National des Calanques picture in Marseille
MuCEM picture in Marseille
Cathedral picture in Marseille
Château d'If picture in Marseille

Visitors say Le Panier offers an authentic look at Marseille life.  Sami Sarkis / Getty Images

Vieux Port – the Old Port – is the heart of Marseille, with its congregation of docked sailboats and yachts and lineup of restaurants, bars and shops.  ThomasSaupe / Getty Images

Compared to other churches in the city, Abbaye Saint Victor offers a stark façade. RnDmS / Getty Images

You can't miss the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde as it's the focal point of the Marseille skyline.  Daniiielc / Getty Images

Fort Saint-Jean offers some wonderful views of the Mediterranean.  Evgeniya Ivanova / Getty Images

You'll experience colors galore at Parc National des Calanques – from the green pine trees that top its white cliffs to its blue Mediterranean waters.  Raffi Maghdessian / Getty Images

The gorgeous contemporary design of MuCEM contains the anthropological history of the region.  Cultura/Tim E White / Getty Images

The Marseille Cathedral was designed by architect Léon Vaudoyer in the Romanesque Byzantine design.  Fred Bahurlet / EyeEm / Getty Images

The fortress-turned-prison, Château d'If, inspired the nearly inescapable setting of Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo."  Photograph by Paul Atkinson / Getty Images

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