Best time to visit Provence & French Riviera

Chateau d'If in Provence & French Riviera

Visit the dungeon from the Count of Monte Cristo novel

Best time: year round

Chateau d'If
Chateau d'If
Chateau d'If
Chateau d'If
Chateau d'If

The tiny island of If is located just off the southern tip of France. A fortress complex became famous due to The Count of Monte Cristo novel by Alexandre Dumas, and even though it is a work of fiction, the fortress attracts many visitors.

Built in the in the mid-1500s the fortress was originally supposed to serve as coastal defence position. By the 1800s, the place was transformed into a prison on an island. It has seen murderers as well as political prisoners during its history.

The prison was shortly closed and reopened to the public as a landmark in 1890. One of the former cells has been chosen as the one where the Count was held despite the character being fictional and never existed.

The castle is open year round except for January 1 and December 25. Opening hours differ depending on the season from 10 am to 5 pm or 6 pm.

Practical info

What is the history of Chateau d'If?

Chateau d'If was constructed in the mid-1500s as a fortress and coastal defense complex. Its purpose was also to keep the French city of Marseille under control in the event of an uprising. Show more

In which location can Chateau d'If be found?

Chateau d'If is situated on a small island off the southern French coast, to the northwest of Marseille. Visitors can easily take a ferry from the city's Old Port to reach this island, which is part of the Les Îles du Frioul archipelago. Show more

Why is Chateau d'If famous?

Chateau d'If is known worldwide as the setting for the character Edmond Dantès' imprisonment in Alexandre Dumas' novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. Although Dantès is a fictional character, visitors are eager to see the cell in which he was supposedly imprisoned. Chateau d'If is now a popular tourist attraction. Show more

Who was imprisoned in Chateau d'If?

At Chateau d'If, a wide variety of prisoners were held, including political dissidents, heretics, and felons. Many inmates were victims of the prison's harsh conditions, which led to illness and suicide. Among Chateau d'If's most famous inmates were the writer Mirabeau and the financier Law. The prison was later closed in 1873 and opened as a landmark in 1890. Show more

How can one visit Chateau d'If and do we need a tour guide?

Visiting Chateau d'If can take anywhere from one to two hours. The fortress can be toured, and visitors can learn about its past, look at the cell that inspired The Count of Monte Cristo, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. While guided tours are limited, they are not required to visit the attraction. An audio guide is available for those who want to learn more about the history of the fortress, but visitors may also choose to explore the island on their own. Show more

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