La tour bastionnée de Chamars, au bord du Doubs
Fortifications of Vauban


Vauban adapted with genius to the land

Besançon lies in an exceptional strategic position, which Julius Caesar had already noticed: the River Doubs encloses the city in a loop closed off by a hill.

Here Vauban was to find a town that had been fortified since ancient times. Forever striving to adapt to the terrain, he improved some buildings and designed new ones, thereby totally reshaping the defence system of the town.

Vauban built the citadel on a rocky spur that he made higher to protect it from the Chaudanne and Brégille hills. He transformed Battant’s medieval town wall with bastions, curtain walls and demi-lunes dominated by Fort Griffon, a second citadel facing the first one. Vauban optimised the defence of the heart of Besançon by inventing a new model of canon tower: the bastioned tower. He built six of them firmly anchored into the river and facing the hills which dominated the town.

The fortifications of Besançon were finished in 1693 after almost 20 years of work. They cost the royal treasury so much to build that Louis XIV wondered if the citadel was not made from gold.

Inscribed Property
the citadel, the urban enclosure and Fort Griffon in Besançon
Outstanding Universal Value
adaptation to a dominated meander site - Vauban's second system for bastioned towers
Date of construction
between 1668 and 1692
between 820 and 1197 ft
GPS coordinates
47.229132036905, 6.0346492318158
  • La citadelle de Besançon
    The citadel of Besançon
  • La tour bastionnée de Chamars et la citadelle
    The bastioned tower of Chamars
  • Le Fort Griffon
    The Fort Griffon
  • La tour bastionnée de Chamars
    The bastioned tower of Chamars
  • La citadelle de Besançon
    The citadel of Besançon
  • Vue d'une tour bastionnée de l'enceinte urbaine de Besançon
    The bastioned tower of Marais
  • Vue du Quai Vauban et de la ville de Besançon
    The Quai Vauban and the city of Besançon

Journées européennes du patrimoine

Les 16 & 17 septembre 2023, les douze fortifications de Vauban inscrites sur la Liste du patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO vous proposent de nombreux événements. Découvrez-les vite !

Tourist information

Ville de Besançon
Direction de la culture et du patrimoine
2 rue Mégevand
25034 Besançon cedex
Phone number: +33 3 81 87 84 38

Office du tourisme et des congrès de Besançon
Phone number: +33 3 81 80 92 55

Citadelle de Besançon
Phone number: +33 3 81 87 83 33

How to visit / Access

An integral part of the city, the fortified enclosure is freely accessible.

The citadel is accessible during opening hours, with a charge for admission.