Difficult to holiday in Charente without visiting the famous Fort Boyard, located between the island os Aix and Oléron.

FORT BOYARD : Building work started in Napoleon’s reign and lasted over 30 years, with 20 years spent on building the foundations alone.  It was finally finished in 1859 although Napoleon never actually got to see the finished work.

 

Built to keep the mouth of the Charente, the harbor of the island of Aix and the arsenal of Rochefort, it came to strengthen the defense system built along the coast and the islands of Charente-Maritime. The adventure of construction, decided by Napoleon, spreads over 30 years, including 20 for foundations alone …

The enterprise is difficult: between the storms, which ruin the unfinished walls, the capsizing of boats that carry the stones, and the English attacks, the works have a hard time to advance and will not finish until 1859.

Napoleon will not see the completion, even when he leaves the Isle of Aix for exile. But the progress of the artillery, quicker than that of the construction, rendered it useless as soon as it was finished. It will have cost the current equivalent of more than two hundred million euros. He is the pride of the time, so much so that a model is presented at the 1867 World’s Fair.The fort is not visited but many shipping companies and cruise lines offer walks closer to the stone ship.See more info on Cruises to Fort Boyard

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