Fort de Bertheaume

Plougonvelin, France

The Bertheaume fort is a small part of the large coherent system of small forts and batteries designed to protect the entrance to Brest harbour. It is situated on a small island just 100m off the coast of the town of Plougonvelin. It was only accessible at low tide by foot over a rocky bank, attackers had to climb the steep cliffs first to reach the walls of the fort, an impossible job.

The medieval fort that used to be situated on the island was destroyed during an English attack in the 16th century. On his inspections of the Brest region in 1683 the famous architect Sebastien Vauban had already noticed the strategic value of the island and wanted to build a battery there.

The first cannon were placed there during the English attack in 1694 and the fort was finished in 1699. The original fortifications where situated only on the large island. The buildings on the smaller island closest to the mainland date from the 19th century. The fort on the large island consists of batteries for cannon on 4 levels connected with stairs. At some places the bases of the chauguettes can still be seen on the walls and posterns gave access to the foot of the walls.

In the past the island was only accessible by a boat at high tide. This was a small boat connected to a rope running from the mainland to the island. By pulling the rope the boat went to or from the island. The current steel bridge dates from the 20th century. In the late 19th century the fort was abandoned and was replaced by the more modern casemated fort on the mainland. The Nazis built a small blockhouse on the island.

In the 1990s the Fort de Betheaume was restored and opened to the public. Apart from the visit of the fort it also offers a survival track (only available when the weather conditions allow it). The fort is open to the public all year round. A small restaurant and various exhibition rooms are located in the 19th century fort. There you can also visit the underground powder magazine, carved in the rocks 13m below ground level.

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Founded: 1694-1699
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Phung Le (10 months ago)
beautiful, lot of stuff to do around, climbing, kayaking, zip lines, sup,...
Alan Hunt (2 years ago)
Great place and great value
Hilary Wright (2 years ago)
Worth a visit. Good views of the rocky coast line here with views over to the Rade de Brest. If you like rock climbing and abseiling the fort has been converted into an open air adventure park. Looked spectacular to us as observers!
Yip Wong (2 years ago)
my wife and I did this a week ago and it was a fantastic experience. ziplining over the sea, climbing around on the rocks, and walking on rope bridges.
M M (3 years ago)
Very beautiful place with a lot of animation
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