Vue générale du fort (façade Est). Source : ©Fabien1309 - License Creative Commons - Libre de droit
Halfway between the island of Oléron and the island of Aix to which it is attached, the impressive silhouette of Fort Boyard stands proudly like a "stone warship" perched on the fortified reefs.
Halfway between the island of Oléron and the island of Aix to which it is attached, the impressive silhouette of Fort Boyard stands proudly like a "stone warship" perched on the fortified reefs. Shortly after the construction of the naval shipyard at Rochefort, the location of the current fort was the subject of a study that concluded that it was impossible to build a defensive structure on the sand bank that ran alongside Boyard.
Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, who would later become the General Commissioner for the Kingdom's fortifications, wrote the following to King Louis XIV: "Sire, it would be easier to grasp the moon between your teeth than to undertake such work on this site". Failing to materialise for technical reasons, the idea of building a defensive fort was dropped. Fouras, la Rochelle and the islands of Aix and Oléron were strategic positions that controlled access to the Charente until the beginning of the 19th Century. However, the protection of Rochefort and its channel by all these sites proved ineffective, as they were too far away from the corridor taken by the ships leaving the naval shipyard.
Robbed of its strategic importance, it became a target for German troops carried out target practice against its walls during the Second World War. The start of its film career dates back to 1966, when its upper level was used as the setting for the final scene in Robert Enrico's film "les aventuriers" ("The Last Adventurer") with Lino Ventura and Alain Delon. In 1980, the fort was bought by an audiovisual production company and then donated to the Charente-Maritime General Council, resulting in it being used for the purpose for which it is now world famous. No longer open to the public due to its new television vocation, its surroundings can still be seen from one of the many pleasure boats offering tourists a close up view.
Its defensive purpose reduced to nothing because of advances in artillery, it was used as a detention centre from 1870 onwards: a military prison for Prussian and Austrian soldiers and then a place of detention for hundreds of communards, before being abandoned after 1913.
Mairie of the island of Aix
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