4 August 2017

Le Château d'If, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)

Le Château d'If in the centre background from Notre Dame de la Garde.

And from the Corniche.

Le Château d'If, close to the archipelago of Frioul (otherwise known as the Ratonneau and Pomègues islands) just off the coast of Marseille, is of course a tourist must which remained a prison for four hundred years, and which was made famous by Alexandre Dumas's novel Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (1844–46), where the fictional Edmond Dantès was incarcerated. Something like 100,000 tourists visit it a year, and the queues are long. In the castle are labelled Dumas-related locations: a fiction within a fiction. No, we didn't bother to visit it: too touristy, too false, too much of a time waste. Why trouble to take a short cruise to see this place when you can enjoy the ferries from the much more peaceful L'Estaque to Le Vieux Port or (even better) the tiny village of Les Goudes (where the fictional Fabio Montale of Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseille trilogy lives) to Le Vieux Port – or vice versa?

A mural near the ferry terminal in Les Goudes.

And the ferry approaching Marseille from Les Goudes, with Notre Dame de la Garde in the centre middleground.

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