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The "Château d'If", a few miles away from the city. Its castle was built on order of François 1st, king of France, at the beginning of the XVIth century. It became later a state prison in 1634. In Alexandre Dumas' famous novel "Le Comte de Monte-Cristo", the main character, Edmond Dantès was jailed in the Château d'If, from where he escaped, being "buried" in the sea as a fake dead body. Several films have been made on this famous story. The Château d'If can be visited from the "Vieux Port" and though if Edmond Dantès never existed, you can visit his cell !
Another photography from Notre-Dame de la Garde showing the "Îles du Frioul". The "Château d'If" (Castle of If), in the foreground, is the smallest. Other islands are Pomègues island, Ratonneau island and Planier island. Except the later, they can be visited and boats sail from the Vieux-Port for their visit.
Notre Dame de la Garde is a main sea-mark. When you see this pictures that shows the landscape seen from several miles away, you can easily understand. It is the first thing that the sailor will see when arriving towards the coast and it cannot be mistaken.
This fountain is on a small square on the way down from Notre-Dame de la Garde to the Boulevard de la Corderie. It depicts an important event in the recent (XIXth century) of Marseille but I am unable to find exactly what it was. I will have to pay another visit to Marseille to check that !
Not far from the top of the hill an American tank that dates from WWII and the liberation of the city by the allied troops is on display. It is now surrounded by high fences to prevent kids of the district loved to "play war" and climb on the tank !
Towards the sea, the view is stunning, especially in late afternoon, when the sun is low on the horizon. This district, already in the shade has long been inhabited and is mostly covered by modest private houses, often with a small garden.
The platform of the basilica offers not only a superb view on the city but also, southwards, a view on some of the "calanques" which are kind of highly indented fjords carved by erosion in the limestone rocks. Those that are closer to the city have been inv added by buildings but there remains always some sort of wilderness, within the city.
In the basilica, there is an extraordinary collection of ex-voto, small-scale models of boats, of planes hang by those who were lucky to come back after a dangerous travel or by those that were looking after the help of "Notre-Dame" to come back safely.
The crypt and the basilica are open daily from 7 AM to 7:30 PM (9 PM in July and August). In the crypt, there is a wounded Christ on the cross. Pilgrims rub the wounds of the Christ which are deeply carved by the rubbing of millions of pilgrims (1.5 millions of visitors each year).
A few impressive figures :
The hill is 147.85 m high.
The ramparts are 13.15 m.
The tower is 41 m
The height of the pedestal of the statue is 12.5 m
The statue is 12.5 m high and weight 9,786 kg
Wrist measurement of Child Jesus (circumference) : 1.10 m
Weight of the great bell : 8,234 kg
Height of the great bell : 2,50 m.
Weight of the clapper : 387 kg.
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