Castle of If Marseille

Discover the history of the "Castle of If", one of the most visited sites in Marseille.


The "Castle of If" was the first royal fortress of Marseille. It was built under the orders of François I in 1516 in order to protect the access to the port. The location of the Castle of If was strategic as it was located on one of the busiest shipping routes.


However, in 1580, it became a state prison and its role won't change for 400 years. If the detention conditions were difficult for most of the prisoners, some famous people were living in better circumstances. Among the famous prisoners, we can name the Knight Anselme in the sixteenth century or the Count of Mirabeau in the eighteenth century.

A little later, the fortress stopped being a prison and was finally opened to the public in 1890.

The world renowned Castle of If became famous thanks to the "Count of Monte Cristo", a novel written by Alexandre Dumas.

Classified as a historical monument in 1926, the Castle of If is visited by over 90,000 people each year. It is possible to get there by boat with a regular line from the Old Port.


If you want to visit the Castle of If, our 3-star hotel is situated on the Old Port where the boats depart for the Frioul Islands.


Practical Information: 

Castle of If - Marseille 
Frioul If - Pier 1
Quai de la Fraternité 
13001 Marseille

For more information visit the Castle of If website.

To get information about the tickets and the boat trip, visit the Frioul If Express website.