The Ratonneau island is part of the Friuli archipelago. 2.5km long, it is connected to the island of Pomègues by the Berry dike built in 1822. This Marseille island is full of visitors looking to enjoy its small beaches in the summer season. This island is a pure delight for the people of Marseille, as well as tourists, who are looking to escape the traffic noise and enjoy a real moment of idleness.
Some historical points
The first signs of life on Ratonneau Island can be found in the Neolithic period. Then, in 49 BC, when the Romans invaded Marseille, their ships anchored on the island. Later, in the 18th century, when the plague struck Marseille, Ratonneau was used to establish a quarantine area for passengers and ship's cargo. In the 19th century, a hospital was opened there to receive people suffering from contagious diseases, particularly those with yellow fever: the Caroline Hospital.
Visit Ratonneau Island
The interest of the island of Ratonneau, as for the Friuli archipelago, is based on a total change of scenery. A mineral landscape gives to the place an intense and mysterious aura. An ideal place to practice a family hike and discover the unknown story of Marseille. 2.5km long and 500m wide, it is connected to the island of Pomègues by the Berry dike built in 1822. You can visit the Fort, the Batterie du Cap de Croix, the Caroline Hospital or the Brégantin Fort. Several beaches and calanques are accessible and will enchant you with their turquoise water and their view over our beautiful Phocaean city. We recommend a mask and snorkel dive to admire the surrounding seabed. Bars and restaurants are at your disposal to eat during your visit. Be careful in summer: the island does not have any shaded areas. So remember to take a hat, sunscreen, parasol and plenty of water to avoid a heat stroke.
The Ratonneau Fort
The Ratonneau Fort is the first place to visit on the island. Built in 1886, it is located on the highest point of the island. Several installations are still unfinished and many ruins can be found. To be admired as a priority: - The entrance gate built in white stone, a remarkable installation - Two ammunition shelters dug into the rock - A 360° view of the island and Marseille
Caroline de Ratonneau Hospital
Built in 1823 and 1828, the Caroline Hospital is located on Ratonneau Island. The hospital took the name of the Duchess of Berry, its construction had been ordered to resolve several health concerns, including strict isolation in the case of quarantine. Once completed, the site could accommodate 48 patients and 24 convalescents. The hospital remained in use until 1941. It is a real architectural jewel that is really worth a visit. Today, the site is being restored by the ACTA VISTA association. It hosts many events including the MIMI festival, which is held every year in mid-July and presents many artists from various backgrounds.