The fortifications’ main appeal, the fruit of military engineers’ science, is the quality of the unequalled scenery wonderfully lending itself to discovery and relaxation…Because he was aware of the strategic importance of Île de Ré, Vauban built a vast urban surrounding wall of huge dimensions and semicircle shape having a radius of 1.5km in 1681. Situated in the centre of the island and capable of protecting all the population of the island in the event of an attack, the fort of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is the most beautiful example of the island’s citadel constructed by Louis XIV’s great engineer.
Presenting two imposing gates decorated with a glorious sun symbolising the power of the Sun King (Porte des Campani and Porte Toiras), the fortifications remained intact through centuries with very few renovation works. Large ditches, high walls and huge earthen dykes bear witness to the military past of a city and island fought over throughout history.
To the north-east, the surrounding wall leans against a citadel built on the vestiges of a former fortress constructed in 1627. It is spacious and has a small fortified harbour. It was the military heart of the fortified system of Île de Ré before being converted into a detention centre in the 19th century.
Constructed in record time – only 5 years – the fort of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a remarkable example of its first fortification system and one of the best preserved monuments. Listed as a historic building in 1925, its nomination proposal has been submitted in order to be considered for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The fortifications’ main appeal, the fruit of military engineers’ science, is the quality of the unequalled scenery wonderfully lending itself to discovery and relaxation…
You can also explore the fortifications thanks to conducted tours organised by Tourist Office
- Spoken languages
- Guided visits (groups only)
- Self-guided visits (groups only)
- Guided visits
- Self-guided visits