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The Château d’If is a fortress built in 1529 by King Francis I on the Island of If. The king wanted the fortress to fulfil three functions: to protect the city from invasions, to provide cover for the new royal fleet of galleys, and to be an observation point for watching over Marseille. Just a few years after opening, the Château d’If became a prison from 1580 to 1871 for anybody who opposed official French authority.
Immortalised by the writer Alexandre Dumas in his 19th-century novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the most famous prisoner to be held at the Château d’If was the novel’s protagonist, Edmond Dantès. Unlike Dantès, visitors will not be unjustly imprisoned here for fourteen years, but can enjoy a fascinating day touring the château. The prison also housed a number of famous historical figures in France, such as the Comte de Mirabeau, who was incarcerated on the orders of his father.
The Château d’If has been perfectly preserved and is one of the most impressive historical sites on the Mediterranean coastline.
May 18 - September 20: 10am - 6pm
September 21 - May 17: 10.30am - 5pm
The last visit on any particular day depends on the departure schedule of the boats.
September 21 - April 1: every Monday
January 1, December 25
The château may also close due to bad weather.