La Chuise de Saint-Jean La Rivière

View of the Fort de la Chuise de Saint-Jean-la-Rivière. Source : sud-passion


The Chuise de Saint-Jean-la-Rivière is part of the system controlling the gorges that lead to Nice in the Seré de Rivières system.



The Chuise de Saint-Jean-la-Rivière is part of the system controlling the gorges that lead to Nice in the Seré de Rivières system. A combination of stone and concrete, this Chuise is a cave-fort dug out of the cliff. It is a small building cut out of the cliff in the Gorges de la Vésubie between Saint-Jean-la-Rivière and Le Suquet. Like the Chuise de Bauma Negra, it is part of the system controlling the gorges in the Nice hinterlands. These are barrier forts.


The Valley of the Vésubie, called the Switzerland of Nice, is the shortest (48 km) valley in the Nice hinterlands. The lower valley, starting at Saint-Jean-la-Rivière, makes its way through the gorges of the Alpine foothills before joining the left bank of the Var River through the Défilé de Chaudan. The Ligures used this passage and it was a busy route in the Middle Ages, as it is one of the main salt roads leading to Piedmont via the Col de Fenestre. In the 16th century the Valley of La Roya became the preferred route. Two hundred years later, the region opposed the English, Sardinians and Austrians during the War of the Austrian Succession. During the French Revolution, the region gave shelter to those who refused military service, the “barbets”, who carried out guerrilla actions against the regular troops.


In 1860, the County of Nice and Savoy became part of France, bringing the Italian threat closer just after France had been defeated by the Prussians and Italy had been unified by the King of Piedmont. The failure of the system of defences, which was unable to protect cities from enemy fire, led Seré de Rivières to develop a new system based on the principle of forward defence lines protecting a central core. Fortifications were set up near the border, making use of natural obstacles to monitor, control and block the passages, with their layout determined by area covered by each one’s fire.


The building comprises two floors on the side of the road. It is equipped with 40 and 80-mm cannon openings. The underground galleries lead to shelters and firing positions that cover the length of the national highway. Two movable bridges that can be manoeuvred from inside the fort were used to cut off the road. It can house 30 to 60 men.

The fort cannot be visited.

Syndicat d'initiative de Belvédère: +33 (0)

Saint-Martin de la Vésubie Tourism Office: +33 (0)


Fortweb website on European fortifications


  • Vue du fort de la Chuise de Saint-jean-la-rivière. Source :

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