The Fortifications of Vauban comprises of 12 groups of fortified buildings on the western, eastern and northern borders of France. They are the works of the military engineer, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. This engineer worked under King Louis XIV.
The buildings were built from scratch by the engineer and include citadels, bastion towers and urban bastion walls. They also include mountain forts, sea forts, two mountain communication structures as well as a mountain battery. The fortifications were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites because they are an outstanding example of classical fortifications. The works of Vauban were copied and used in the Western military architecture as well as other continents until the mid-19th century.
Among the sites that were listed in the World Heritage Site in 2008 are:
- Arras, Pas-de-Calais – This is a citadel
- Besançon, Doubs – citadel, city walls and Fort Griffon
- Blaye-Cussac-Fort-Médoc, Gironde – citadel of Blaye, city walls, Fort Paté and Fort Médoc
- Briançon, Hautes-Alpes - city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-Têtes, Fort du Randouillet, ouvrage de la communication Y and the Asfeld Bridge
- Camaret-sur-Mer, Finistère - Tour dorée (literally translated as "Golden Tower") or Tour Vauban
- Longwy, Meurthe-et-Moselle - ville neuve
- Mont-Dauphin, Hautes-Alpes - place forte
- Mont-Louis, Pyrénées-Orientales - citadel and city walls
- Neuf-Brisach, Haut-Rhin: ville neuve/Breisach (Germany) - gateway of the Rhine
- Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Charente-Maritime - city walls and citadel
- Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue/Tatihou, Manche - watchtowers
- Villefranche-de-Conflent, Pyrénées-Orientales - city walls, Fort Libéria and Cova Bastera
There were two sites that were considered to be among the list inscribed, but were removed. They were:
- Bazoches, Nièvre - château
- Belle-Île-en-Mer, Morbihan - citadel and walls surrounding Le Palais
If the above list of sites is anything to go by, then you will have your schedule full with sites awaiting your exploration. As always, France as a destination never disappoints. You will get a chance to alternate sightseeing with such activities as resting on the beach, sampling some French food, as well as shopping. Make sure that a camera with extra memory cards is among your ‘to pack’ list. You will certainly want to record the fond moments you will have here.
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