A fortification in Marseille Bay visitable by boat.

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The Castle of If

The prison of the Count of Montecristo.

Out in the Bay of Marseille you'll find another of this city's notorious fortifications, the castle-prison of If, built on the isle of the same name. It was commissioned by King François I in 1527 with the supposed intention of protecting the city against sea attack. But the truth is that the indomitable Marsellais were simply not good at taking orders and so the monarchy felt the need to keep them in line with cannons aimed at the seafront promenade and buildings. This castle is also famous for harbouring the prison which supposedly held prisoner Edmond Dantés, the Count of Montecristo, a character invented by the 19th-century novelist Alexandre Dumas. If you'd like to visit this isle, a boat service departs from the Vieux Port daily.

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