It is easy to be inspired by the beauty of our travels abroad. Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea from and about the tropical island of Cuba, while Rudyard Kipling introduced children to the lush jungles of India in The Jungle Book.
Alexandre Dumas found his inspiration in an isolated castle on an island off the coast of Marseille, France. Chateau d’If imprisoned Edmond Dantes for 6-years in his novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.
The once fortress built in 1524, only two miles from Marseille’s Vieux Port is one of the many sights you can visit by boat, which is exactly how you should tour this city rich in maritime history.
Fly into: Marseille Provence Airport (MRS)
Recommended length of time: 2-3 days
Hotel Bellevue Cafe (Photo Credit: Hotel Bellevue)
Start your day with a chocolate croissant and espresso at Hotel Bellevue’s terrace restaurant. Sit outside and take in the views of the Vieux Port’s marina and look for the boats returning from the morning’s fresh catches.
Chateau d’If & Frioul Island
Now you’re ready to jump on the local ferry, found on the far south-east corner of the old port. From here you can visit the previously mentioned Chateau d’If and walk through the prison cells and grounds of the fortress, which provide you a beautiful view of the city of Marseille from afar.
Frioul Archipelago Islands (Photo Credit: Travel Ardor)
That same ferry ride will stop at Frioul Archipelago Island, which can be compared to New York’s Governors Island or San Francisco’s Treasure Island. The French locals bring their dogs, bikes and kids to Frioul Island for its beaches, trails to sandy creeks and restaurants serving fresh daily catches.
Visit Frioul If Express for departure times and fare prices.
You cannot appreciate the South of France, until you’ve seen it from the sea. It’s a sight to take your breath away and make you cancel your return flight home. Between Marseille and Cassis are the Calanques, 12 beautiful inlets or bays, engulfed by steep rocky walls. You can get to the Calanque by land or sea, but I recommend a private charter that will allow you time and access to swim in these inlets of clear blue water. Does it get any better? You can choose to tour some or all of the coves, but they don’t particularly differentiate from each other.
Book private charters at Blue Attractions
Book public excursions at Croisieres Marseille Calanques
$$$: Intercontinental Hotel Dieu
Nightly Rate: 200 Euros
$$: Best Western La Joliette
Nightly Rate: 99 Euros
Bon voyage and safe travels!
Alexandra Avila, Traveling-in-Heels