Vieux-Port de Marseille & Iles du Frioul

The Frioul Islands, an archipelago just off the coast of Marseille in the Mediterranean Sea, are a set of four islands with rare birds  as well as historically recognized structures. We took a ferry ride from the Old Port of Marseille out into the bay, past the first island on which Chateau d’If – the prison in which the Count of Monte Cristo was held – and on to Ratonneau island.

When we arrived in Marseille, we made a quick stop to shop for beach towels, water shoes and hats, then went to the harbor, where we purchased tickets for 20 minute ferry ride to the islands. As we started our ferry ride, we saw the ancient forts and new mansions that sit at the mouth of the harbor.

We did some walking, swimming (wading), sightseeing, and snacking on Ratonneau, before heading back for a nice meal in Marseille. Such a peasant day.

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The view from the ferry as we left the Old Port of Marseille behind.
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Fort Saint-Jean on the western shore at the mouth of the Old Port of Marseille, built by Louis XIV in 1660.
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Fort Saint-Jean, taken from further out past the harbor.
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Palais du Pharo, built in 1858 by Napoleon III on the eastern shore at the mouth of the Old Port of Marseille.
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Small bay on Ratonneau Island where it looked like a couple guys in wet suits were getting ready to go spear fishing.
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Wading in the COLD water on the swimming beach – Plage de St Esteve – on Ratonneau Island.
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The view across the swimming bay on Ratonneau looking at hôpital Caroline, constructed at the eastern end of the island in 1828 to quarantine foreign sailors, particularly those with cases of cholera and Leprosy. The hospital was partially destroyed during WWII. Currently, archeologists are working to uncover and preserve ancient Roman ruins on the site.
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Another view across the swimming bay at hôpital Caroline and Chateau d’If.