FORT ST. JEAN
In 1660 Louis XIV of France had decided to fortify the Port Entrance at Marseille. Louis is reported to have stated that we have noticed that the inhabitants of Marseille are extremely fond of nice fortresses. We wanted to have our own built at the entrance to this great port a way of saying politely that the people of Marseille were causing him too much trouble and he wanted them under his control!
Saint Jean, the smaller of the two forts (the other is Fort St. Nicholas), was built around the Commandery of the Knights Hospitaller and incorporated a 15th Century defensive tower built by Rene I of Provence.
During the French Revolution the Fort was used as a prison and it was often the last place on French soil that French Foreign Legionnaires would see before posting to North Africa.
Today the Fort is open as a museum.
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