Every year, hundreds of people gather on If island to pay homage to Edmond Dantès, the hero of Alexandre Dumas' famous novel, and to complete the Défi de Monte Cristo. The Count of Monte Cristo was unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment and had to swim to his freedom so this romantically inspired sea challenge is basically an attempt to recreate his feat and get from the island to the shore. However, the route is a bit different. It's 5 kilometres long, starts on the north shore of If island and ends on Plage du Grand Roucas Blanc in the Prado beach park just south of Marseille. You can either take part in the race and try to win or just watch it from the shore. The best place for a spectator is the pop-up village at the end of the race, the Village du Défi, which has live music and lots of other entertaining activities.