When in Marseille, this is a must! You cannot miss this historical landmark. As a fan of Dumas's book, 'Count of Monte Cristo' I loved this experience.
I went during winter and the water around the island was so beautiful, a clean and subtle green/blue. I can't imagine what it looks like during summer when the sun is hitting the water and the colors around are even more vibrant.
The Castle itself is an old majestic ruin. Amazing views from the top and from all around the small island. Loved the experience, would highly recommend it.
25 and under get in free (from certain countries, but the US is in that list of countries!) just have to show ID (I showed my driver's license which is funny because who in France knows what a real vs. fake CA driver's license looks like?)
The island itself is beautiful. It's funny that it's 5.50 euro to get in because you have to pay for the boat trip already. P.S. on weekends/in summer, get to the ticket booth super early because it is a clusterf**k getting the boat tickets. We got there at 10:15 and got our tickets by 10:55 and managed to get on the next boat via magic.
The fort itself is a mix- just looking at it sans the information is cool, and looking at some of the info/watching the video is sort of cool, but then there's way too much randomness/incoherency in the exhibits. There are at least two rooms on the second floor that make loud animal sounds at you, while the only actual animals on the island are the lizards and the seagulls.
It has a beautiful view. Talk to the guy in the gift shop; he's way better than the exhibits. Ask about the rhinoceros.
If you only have a few days in marseille I think this is skippable (unless you're really into the count of monte cristo). Go to Cassis (take the bus from Castellane for 2.70) instead.
Definitely worth the trip out there. It costs about 11 Euro for the round trip boat ride and 5.50 Euro to enter Chateau d'If. On the island they provide brochures for every major language so as you explore you will know the significant events of the islands history. After you explore inside the Chateau, take a stroll around the outer wall of the island and you will find many photo ops and neat views.
If you're a fan of Alexandre Dumas' book "The Count of Monte Cristo", this is where the main character Edmond Dantes was wrongly imprisoned. Unlike the hero of the story, no one has ever escaped from the prison. It's an old fortress on the island of If only a 15 minute boat ride from the Vieux Port. Boats leave every hour from Quai des Belges and cost less than 10 Euro. You can see the shoreline and the beautiful blue ocean from the cell windows; it must have driven the prisoners crazy to be able to see everything and know that they would never be out there again.
Chateau d'If is a former prison on a small island ner Marseille. It is well known from Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo". Also, there is a very nice view from the island to Marseille.
Yes, I admit it, I totally dragged my friends here because I love the story of The Count of Monte Cristo, but the island ended up being really interesting in an unexpected way. Yes the actual prison was enlightening and the history was pretty fascinating. It described the actual history (no one has actually escaped) as well as how Dumas worked it into literary legend. The graffiti has a cool historical context, and though it is a tourist attraction, it is not too crowded (at least in the middle of March it isn't). It is totally worth going to the top of the tower of the prison; the view is beautiful and there is a really interesting sound effect that happens up there. The coolest part by far was having a picnic on the island. It helps that the weather was wonderful, but the whole ambiance was great as well. The only disconcerting thing was that there were a ton of animal bones on the ground, but wandering around the island was amazing and the 10 euro boat ride out there was 100% worth it. Students get in free as well so students if you have a student ID definitely do not forget it.
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