In Marseille, France the most fascinating place I visited was Château d’If.
Château d’If is a prison in the middel of Marseille’s waters, very close to the shore, built for nearly 500 years. Several illustrious characters have come to be imprisoned: revolutionaries, religious characters as well as the famous Count Monte Cristo, so there is also a movie recorded in the “prison floating” receving the name of “The Count of Monte Cristo”. The castle was built as a fortress for the purpose of defending attacks at sea but became a nightmare for many characters as: two fishermen and a knight were the first “guests” accused of plot against the kingdom, the writer Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau and many others. The island is one of the four islands of Frioup.
My tour experince was incredible. From the small port of Marseille I took a boat which did an charming trip around the island and afterwards I got inside the island, visiting the castle. It’s not far off shore, it’s about 30 minutes. And, on the island, I sat for about 2 hours, enough time to visit the castle, but I was able to enjoy some delicious pasta at a “restaurant”, which of course was not long time ago. It’s new, especially for tourists and the castle is now a tourist monument.
I was very fascinated by the color of the water that easily approaching the castle becomes crystalline, very clean and clear and a diamond color. The castle, there is nothing changed in it. The stairs, the doors, the grates, the windows are of course with the bars, the beds, the water well all have remained unchanged for several hundred years.
I was still shocked, and it seemed like my mind went back about 500 years when I saw the conditions which the prisoners lived. In nowadays, our prisons are luxury. In every single cell of detainees, their names were inscribed in the wall, the years which they were prisoners, and even in some of the rooms there was a big board and I could write my name and date when I visited the castle.
The window of one of the cell
Although I did not see the movie “The Count of Monte Cristo” before to visit the prison, I still had the feelings and ” I went back in time” to imagine how was them life there.
One of the cell
The view from the top