Frioul Islands (Îles du Frioul)
The Frioul archipelago is made up of the islands Pomègues, Ratonneau, If and Tiboulen. The most visited island is the isle of If, home to the Chateau d’If–a fortress and former prison immortalized in the 1844 book by Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo. The only way to access the islands is by boat from Marseille - normally as part of a combined ticket that includes entrance to the Chateau d’If, where you can explore the former prison cells.
Aside from the chateau, you can go bird watching, hike the small islands, and explore the remnants of the former quarantine hospital Hôpital Caroline and also Fort Ratonneau, used by the Germans during WWII. Restaurants and amenities are gathered in the small village of Port Frioul on Île Pomègues where you’ll also find the start of the main hiking paths.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Access to the Îlles du Frioul may be difficult for people with limited mobility as there are few marked or even pathways.
- Remember to wear sunscreen and a hat and bring water with you if visiting in hot weather–there’s little shelter from the sun on the islands.
- Entrance to the Chateau d’If is via paid ticket only.
How to Get There
Just off the coast of Marseille, the Îles du Frioul are accessible by boat from the mainland. Ferries run back and forth regularly to the islands of If and Frioul, as do private vessels. Tickets for the chateau must be purchased separately on arrival.
When to Get There
The Îles du Frioul are open all year round, although spring and summer are the best times to enjoy the birdwatching and wildflowers on the island. There are usually more frequent ferry services operating in the summer months. Boat services may be cancelled in bad weather.
Visit the Calanques If you enjoy boat trips, make sure you visit the Calanques just outside of Marseille–a series of rocky swimming coves with beautifully clear water, most of which are accessible only by boat (or a very steep hike!). From swimming and snorkeling to picnicking in a deserted cove, the Calanques offer a great way to explore the coastal scenery of Provence.
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- La Corniche
- Vallon des Auffes
- Palais du Pharo
- Fort Saint-Jean
- Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Le Mucem)
- Abbey of St. Victor (Abbaye Saint-Victor)
- Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale La Major)
- Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)
- Roman Docks Museum (Musée des Docks Romains)
- Museum of African, Oceanic and American-Indian Art (MAAOA)
- Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology (Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne)
- Centre de la Vieille Charite
- Place aux Huiles
- Old Port of Marseille (Vieux Port)
- Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)