Archipelago of Frioul

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Silhouette of limestone off Marseille, the archipelago of Frioul points towards the coast the sharp reliefs of its four islands: on a north-south line, Pomègues and Ratonneau, If and Tiboulen.
The assertive character of the islands and their rugged relief: creeks, beaches and sandy coves, impressive peaks, quality of light, transparency of the water, make it a site of great seduction, a place still preserved, an authentic meeting in the Mediterranean. The microclimate of the site generates original floral species adapted to the arid conditions that characterize it. Moreover, the mistral is the great actor of the islands, it sculpts, it gnaws, it orders.

These islands are thus the kingdom of plants called "xerophytes" for the drought, "alophytes" for the salt and curious forms. In total, 200 species of plants can be observed, some of which are protected. These islands are also a refuge for many marine birds. They are, among others, the domain of predilection of the gull, the "gabian" of the Provençals.

The history of the islands goes back a long way, since in the quaternary period they were joined to the mainland, as evidenced by the discovery of bear bones, deer bones... The island of Frioul offers many coves to be reached after a more or less long walk, but also some beaches: the Havre de Morgiret (pebbles and rocks), the calanque of Saint Estève (sand, supervised), the beach of the landing stage (pebbles) or the calanque of the Crine nicknamed the little Tahiti.

The Archipelago of Frioul is owned by the City of Marseille since 1971. The village of Port Frioul was created in 1974: it has several restaurants, a marina with a capacity of 700 moorings and welcomes many boaters. The aquaculture farm, located on the island of Pomègues, raising sea bass, was recognized as the first organic farm in the world.

The Caroline Hospital

The history of the islands began in the 6th century B.C. at the same time as that of Massalia. Throughout the centuries, they were stopovers for Mediterranean sailors, whether they were warriors or adventurers. Later on, their sanitary function played an important role in the protection of Marseille. At the beginning of the 19th century, the architect Michel-Robert Penchaud built the Caroline Hospital on the island of Ratonneau to treat patients suffering from yellow fever.
The GACM shuttles ensure the link between the mainland and the archipelago.
Opening period (s)All year round.
Practical information
  • Visits :
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Archipelago of Frioul


Archipel de Frioul
GPS coordinates
Latitude : 43.2806
Longitude : 5.30496