Château d’If

Today we got up early and went to Marseille.  We had plans to go to Château d’If. Château d’If is a fortress (later used as a prison) that was built in the late 1520’s to early 1530’s on the island of If.  It is the smallest island of the Frioul archipalego about a mile off the coast of Marseille in the Mediterranean Sea.  Alexandre Dumas made the Château famous in his popular novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.  This is the reason for our wanting to see the Château d’If.

We were all in the car by 8:45am and made it to Marseille in less than 2 hours, quickly found a parking spot and headed to the Vieux Porte.  We walked up to the ticket counter and posted on a white piece of paper that looked like it had just been torn out of a notebook, was a handwritten note, “No chateau d’if today”!  Aaron lost his cool a little bit with the lady.  Customer service does not exist in France.  This woman could have kindly said, “We are so sorry for the inconvenience!”  But instead, she just said, “No, it’s closed.” She didn’t give us an explanation, except that the wind was too strong.

French websites are terrible!  No explanation needed.  If you have experienced it, you know what I am talking about.  I had checked the Château d’If website and there was nothing about weather conditions or a possible cancellation because of wind, etc.  I looked at it in French and then I did the English version so I wouldn’t miss any important information.  Clearly, there was nothing posted about closures.  We were disappointed and irritated to say the least!

Well, what to do on a hot day in Marseille!  We took the ferry boat to a different island, Frioul, and passed right by Château d’If.  We walked around Frioul, had lunch and enjoyed the beautiful views.  We did not pack any bathing suits or towels so none of us swam.  It was a bummer because there were beautiful coves where people were swimming.  Over all we made it into a fun day, but we were disappointed that we didn’t get to visit the famous Château d’If!

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Marseille has a beautiful Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde Marseille.  It is a church that sits atop a hill that overlooks all sides of Marseille.  Aaron took me there on our honeymoon many years ago!  It is beautiful!

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This is the Old La Major Cathedral.  I have never been inside, but it is an amazing site.  It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral that seats the Archdiocese of Marseille.

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AJ was the most disappointed in not being able to get to Château d’If.  We still got pretty close, just at a distance!

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After we arrived on Frioul we walked around a bit and then found a little restaurant for lunch.  Alexis ordered a plate of petits poissons, little fish, thinking it would be a little sampling of a few pieces of fish.  After she ordered it and asked the waiter a few questions about it I realized it was not what she was going to be expecting.  She then ordered a salad but we kept the order of fish.  The fish plate arrived and as we expected it was a huge mound of little deep fried whole fish.  Alexis still ate a few, but AJ and Austin enjoyed most of them.  Jack and Tristan both tried one but they could only eat the tail side, not the eyes!

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While walking around Frioul we came upon a sculpture.  It was a metal rhinoceros with a clear plastic box in its’ open stomach area.  Inside the plastic box were books.  It was a little library for those who would dock their boats and needed something to read.  It was the coolest, yet oddest of ideas.  I guess the oddity comes from the location.

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We had a fun day in Marseille, even though it wasn’t what we had hoped to see and do!

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