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.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.