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:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).