Mont-Dauphin Fortress

Mont-Dauphin, France

Mont-Dauphin is one of the many places fortified by Vauban in the second half of the 17th century. Following invasions of Provence by Savoy in 1691 and 1692, Louis XIV dispached Vauban to put the frontier in a better state of defence. In 1692 he came to the Plateau de Mille-Aures, which overlooks both of the invasion routes used by the Savoyards, to fortify it.

The ground in question was on a high hill, roughly four-sided and only readily accessible on one side, another side being steep but passable and the further two sides being cliffs. This meant that the place would only require a short amount of bastioned front, the remainder only requiring a basic wall. The plateau was previously uninhabited, so it was decided that a new town would be built within the fortifications. Plans were made for a front of three arrow headed bastions and two demi-lunes in the north, where the defences were most approachable.

To the south, Vauban planned a trace of smaller bastions, this approach being all but inaccessable. The entrance here was carried over a small demi-lune. Later in the 18th century, the trace of the southern defences was altered, but this demi-lune remained, leaving it oddly skew from the wall. There were serious problems obtaining enough stone for revetting the ditches and ramparts. Thirdly, the threat of invasion from Savoy subsided before the fortifications were completed and the fortress lost its immediate importance. Despite this, Mont-Dauphin was strengthened after French troops suffered a defeat nearby in 1745. For the rest of the century, the barrack buildings multiplied, but some elaborate and extensive plans for extra layers of defence drawn up in 1747 were shelved.

One of the additions that was actually realised is a lunette called the lunette d'arçon, which is an advanced work in the north, but is connected to the fortress by an underground passage. The fortifications at Mont-Dauphin are in very good condition.

In 2008, the place forte of Mont-Dauphin, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the 'Fortifications of Vauban' group.

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Details

Founded: 1692
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maarten van Linden (2 years ago)
Cool living and breathing town inside the old fortifications, on a hill overlooking the valley. Open all week as it's a town but tours are not available on Mondays.
Paul Berry (2 years ago)
Well worth a look. A very well presented and preserved Fort. Built by Louis vii Lots to see on the site and then some cafes and artisan artists shops to have s look at. The views from the top are great.
Geoff D (2 years ago)
A beautiful historic town with stunning scenery, lots to see and do. The fortifications, ramparts, church, main street, and cheese making were impressive, and fascinating.
Hans Laros (4 years ago)
A bit disappointed, since the reviews were good and the site looks very pretty from a distance. Arrived on Sept 2, on a warm sunny day, in time for a guided tour, but that was unfortunately only in French. You would not expect this at a Unesco site. Lots of signing about craft shops but absolutely nothing was open. I guess they're not interested in sharing it with the public. Very little places to eat, just a few places where you could get some ice cream. Overall, unwelcoming and underwhelming.
Andrea Ricci (4 years ago)
The fortress is in a strategic gorgeous positions above the valleys of Durance and Guil rivers. I recommend arriving from the bottom through hiking the easy 1 hour path, and find the ways asking the walls to have sightseeing on the valleys from above. The village is small and cute, with wide streets, meadow, old buildings and craftsman shops.
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