Fort Carré is a 16th-century star-shaped fort of four arrow-head shaped bastions, that stands on the outskirts of Antibes.
The Romans probably built the first fortifications at Antibes. In 1553, a tower called la tour Saint-Florent was built around a pre-existing chapel. Henry III had four bastions added in 1565, whereupon it became Fort Carré (the squared fort).
In the 1680s, Vauban strengthened Fort Carré, adding traverses to protect against ricochet fire and exchanging the stone parapets, which were liable to scatter deadly splinters when hit by shot, for brick ones. Vauban also enlarged the embrasures and added outer walls to the fortification.
Later, the fort's design was modified to take eighteen cannon. The entrance to the fort is through a triangular work that protrudes from the walls, and which is loopholed and pierced by a heavy wooden door. From here, there is a narrow bridge that leads into the fort itself via the flank of one of the arrow-headed bastions. Inside, there are barrack buildings for officers and men as well as the ancient chapel, which has been preserved through the successive stages of military development of the site.
In addition to improving the defences of Fort Carré, Vauban fortified Antibes itself, adding a land front of four arrow-headed bastions around the town, as well as seaward fortifications, including a bastion on the breakwater closing the harbor.
During the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte was briefly imprisoned here. In July 1794, after the violent overthrow of Robespierre, General Bonaparte was detained as a Jacobin sympathizer and held in Fort Carré for ten days. His friend and political ally, Antoine Christophe Saliceti, secured his release. Then in 1860, the fort played an important role when France annexed Nice.
Today Fort Carré is open to the public.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.