Monday, March 11, 2019

Marseilles - The Island of the Count of Monte Christo

Last week, Blandine and I hopped over to Marseilles for a three day trip. It's just down the road for us from Lyon, but for some reason, we never got around to it in the three years that I've been here. Funnily, even Blandine has never visited Marseilles, except once, as a baby, with her parents. I'll be doing a series of posts on Marseilles, but first up: Île d'If (If island, if being the French word for yew. Better known as the island where Alexander Dumas set THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO, and where reputedly the real, historical Man in the Iron Mask was also interned for a while. This island fortress was used as a jail for inconvenient political prisoners from the 16th to 19th centuries. Alexander Dumas used a real location for his novel. In his time, the exact location of this fortress prison was unknown, and it was surrounded with a great deal of dread and mystery. Naturally, having read the book as a child, this was my Number One destination in Marseilles, although the city has many attractions. To get there, you go down to the old port early morning, taking a look at the ancient fish market that still functions early mornings on the quay, and buy a ticket on the ferry boat that takes you to the island and a couple of other destinations.
Here are the pics of the fish market, old port, the ferry trip, and the island itself:

 Graffiti on the walls left by prisoners:

 The central courtyard
 Rich prisoners had access to a fireplace:

 View from the cell windows:

 Views from the top of the fortress

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