The storied Chateau D’If sits on the small island of If, just a short ferry ride from Marseille’s Vieux Port. Built originally (depending on your view) to defend Marseille from invasion or to keep Marseille under the king’s control. Its greatest fame came as “France’s Alcatraz,” a secure island prison with a reputation as escape-proof. The only prisoner who ever escaped alive was the fictional Edmond Dantes of Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
It’s only one of the attractions of Marseille, France’s second-largest city and main Mediterranean port. Marseille is one of 2013’s two European Capitals of Culture, along with surrounding areas in Provence, including Arles, Aix-en-Provence and Aubagne. Marseille itself has celebrated with new music venues, new waterfront attractions, a huge new museum of Mediterranean civilization at Fort Saint Jean on the waterfrong, and major renovations at other museums.
Marseille is a city of many food traditions as well. It’s not only the homebase for bouillabaisse, the traditional fish stew, but also France’s best place to sample North African cuisines.
For more information: http://marseillecityofculture....ital-of-culture.html and http://www.marseille-tourisme.com/en/