Fort Saint-Jean is a fortification built in 1660 under the reign of Louis 14th. It is located at the entrance of the Old Port of Marseille. The fort is linked by two bridges to the historical district and the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Mediterranéa (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations).
Louis 14th said that the fort was built because the citizens of Marseille seemed to be extremely fond of forts. That being said, the fort was not necessarily built for war reasons and in fact, the two new forts were built with cannons pointing towards the town and not outwards.
In 1790, a revolutionary mob seized the fort and decapitated the commander after he refused to let the fort go.
Afterwards, during the French Revoltion, the fort became a prison and it became the home to over a hundrer people, including the Duke of Orléans, Louis Philippe II and his sons. Most of the prisoners were later murdered.
During the World War II, the German military occupied the fort and it was damaged by an explosion of munitions. The fort remained damaged, overlooked and neglected until 1960, when it was classified as a historical monument and it was reconstructed.