Military heritage

The Château d'Oléron Citadel is a complex and remarkable fortification. Its function was to protect the River Charente'smouth and Rochefort's harbour. The Citadel was built in five stages over a period of 120 years from 1630 onwards. Its construction works was initiated by Richelieu in the reign of Louis 13th. It was Vauban who completed this project in the 18th century. Vauban's touch speaks of daring beauty, balance, power. Nowadays the Citadel houses several exhibition rooms.

Situated opposite Bourcefranc-le-Chapus is the Fort Chapus or Fort Louvois. Its purpose was to protect access to Rochefort's harbour. Built in 1691 during the reign of Louis 14th, this fort is still in great shape. Nowadays this astonishing site houses in its keep theOyster Museum and scale models of the coastal fortifications. The fort is linked to the Pointe du Chapus by a 400 metre causeway which is only passable at low tide.

Founded in 1555 at the heart of the marshes, Brouage was once at the forefront of the salt trade in Europe. In the 17th century, under Richelieu's influence it bacame a fortification. On several occasions, the Brouage Citadel played a crucial role in defending the Saintonge coasts.

The Citadel eventually lost some parts of its fortifications under the impact of Vauban. Nowadays this village is a magical place where you can discover, amongst other things, the splendid monument of the Halle aux Vivres, Saint-Luc's powder magazine and a wide range of traditional and contemporary arts and crafts.

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