#7 – My trip to France: Chateau D’If
Here is the view approaching Chateau D’If, a fortress about a mile off the coast of Marseille (photo from Wikipedia).
Docking at Chateau D’If.
Chateau D’If was constructed in the 1500s to guard against sea attacks; the imposing structure was later transformed into a prison.
Used for political and religious prisoners well into the 1800s, Chateau D’If was much feared for its reputation as an escape proof site.
Chateau D’If is most famous for being the setting of the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo (photo from Goggle images).
In the story, Edmond Dantes, a young merchant engaged to be married, is imprisoned in Chateau D’If after false accusations by jealous rivals that he is a Bonapartist traitor.
What I didn’t know before I visited Chateau D’If is that the The Count of Monte Cristo was based on a true story of a French shoemaker who was wrongly accused of being a British spy.
Pierre Picaud, the shoemaker, was engaged to marry a wealthy woman until three jealous acquaintances made the accusation, landing him in prison (actually a different prison, the Fenestrelle Fortress) for seven years.
Another important part of the story — Edmond Dantes’s friendship with a fellow inmate, an Italian priest — was also based on the real-life friendship of Pierre Picaud with an Italian cleric, who bequeathed his fortune to Picaud.
As for escaping from the prison . . . . . .
well, be sure to read the book . . . . .