The Rhinoceros of Château d’If


A long time ago, a rhinoceros stayed on the island of If in Marseille. This is also the starting point for the construction of the famous Château d’If. In 1516, King François I, on a pilgrimage to Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, learned that a rhino sent to the Pope by the King of Portugal made a stopover in Marseille. Not knowing what to do with such an animal that had never been seen in Europe, the Marseille authorities installed it on the island of If.

This is how François I, going to the island to hunt, discovers the place and the rhinoceros staying there, and decides to build a fort in order to improve the defenses of Marseille: the Château d’If.

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