A must-see

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graffitis gravés par des prisonniers dans la cour intérieur. représentent des plaques avec des noms et des dates.

The words “Château d’If” and “Count of Monte-Cristo” go hand in hand for us all ! You just can’t help it. But there's so much more… Step into the fascinating world of graffiti: inextricably linked with the castle's past, it conjures up key moments in its history.

A history of graffiti

If and its graffiti

First a fortress, then a prison, the castle is obviously going to be home to the “works” of both inmates, guards and soldiers. Not to mention those created by visitors, who, since Chateau d’If was opened to the public in the mid-19th century, have also wanted to add their contribution. 

In 2018, the graffiti was the subject of an exhaustive inventory and an archaeological study.

graffiti représentant un cœur et une forme celtique
Graffiti cœur brassai, château d'If

© Antoinette Gorioux / CMN

Graffiti artists

Prisoners' graffiti

Prisoners from every era have left traces of their confinement, the largest “collection” comprising graffiti by workers incarcerated in 1848, for having taken part in violent riots against the closure of the National Workshops  (introduced earlier to alleviate unemployment). 

As the graffiti kept the prisoners busy, the authorities even went as far as providing them with tools! The resulting graffiti is both a remarkable testimony to the conditions in the prison and a message of hope for future generations.


La cour intérieure, château d'If

© Patrick Muller / CMN

Military graffiti

Three types of soldier have left graffiti: members of the garrison, imprisoned soldiers and soldiers visiting whilst on leave

The site belonged to the French Ministry of Defence until the 20th century, so most of the soldiers who left graffiti were visiting the castle, as it is a very popular destination for soldiers either awaiting departure or on leave.

graffiti gravée sur l'une des portes en bois du château
Graffiti militaires

© Antoinette Gorioux / CMN

Visitor graffiti

The first visitor graffiti to have been formally identified dates back to March 1880, which is when the building ceased to be classified as a penitentiary establishment. The graffiti is very varied, one of the favourite motifs being hearts, which appear on many of the walls. Either engraved or drawn with a pencil, they seem to echo Dantès’ love for Mercedes. Love, it’s always about Love !

Today, we’re very keen to conserve our precious heritage. So if you want to make sure your name goes down in history, head for our “wall of expression” or the visitors’ book !  

graffiti sur l'un des murs du château où on peut lire "le tour du monde à pied"
Graffiti Le tour du monde à pied, château d'If

© Patrick Muller / CMN

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