The Citadel of Belle Ile

Citadel of Belle Ile. Photo: ECPAD

The Citadel of Belle Ile en Mer has played a role in France's great history. Since the 16th century, it has been the scene of every conflict and coveted by all of Europe's naval powers.

The citadel extends over more than 10ha and has ramparts 4km long. The citadel is composed of around a dozen buildings totalling over 10,000m2 of floor space, not counting the many blockhouses. Built from 1549, it still has an impressive system of ditches. Belle-Ile became the property of the crown in 1661 after the arrest of superintendent Nicolas Fouquet. In 1683, Vauban was charged with fortifying this island. It was occupied by the English from 1761 to 1763. In the 19th century, the citadel was used as a penal colony for prisoners of war and then political prisoners before becoming a reception centre for refugees of the Spanish Civil War at the end of the 1930s. From July 1940, the island was occupied by the Germans. It was to be one of last parts of France to be liberated as it was part of the famous "Lorient pocket". The French government sold the citadel in 1960, by which time it had fallen into a state of serious disrepair.


Creation of an historical museum in 1970 devoted to Belle-Ile-en-Mer on the site of the dungeon's ancient blockhouses. Citadelle Vauban 56360 Le Palais Tel: 02 97 31 85 54 Fax: 02 97 31 89 47 Rates Free visit: adult: 6.50 € 12 to 16 years: 3.50 € - 12: Free Group: 5 € Guided Tour: Adults: 8 € 12 to 16 years: 5 € - 12: Free Open daily all year July-August: 9h/19h from 01/09 to 31/10 and from 01/04 to 30/06: 9h30/18h from 01/11 to 31/03: 9h30/17h

  • Carte de Belle Ile. ©SHD

  • Citadelle de Belle Ile. ©ECPAD

  • Citadelle de Belle Ile. ©ECPAD

  • > Return to results

    Practical information

    Address

    56360
    Le Palais
    Tel: 02 97 31 85 54 Fax: 02 97 31 89 47

    Prices

    Visite libre : adulte : 6.50 € de 12 à 16 ans : 3,50 € - de 12 ans : Gratuit Groupe : 5 € Visite Guidée : adultes : 8 € de 12 à 16 ans : 5 € - de 12 ans : Gratuit

    Weekly opening hours

    Ouvert tous les jours, toute l'année juillet-août: 9h/19h du 01/09 au 31/10 et du 01/04 au 30/06: 9h30/18h du 01/11 au 31/03: 9h30/17h