L'enceinte et la citadelle de Saint-Martin-de-Ré vues du ciel
Fortifications of Vauban


A stone star between land and sea

In 1681, Vauban planned to build a central reduit at Saint-Martin, which could shelter the whole population of the island if the enemy landed at an other point.

The town wall is unique because of its size: a semi-circle with a radius of 1.5 kilometres and ramparts 14 kilometres long. The geography of the site posed no constraints and the wall was built in record time. The citadel, a perfect square, can only be accessed via one monumental entrance gate, opening onto a small fortified port. Inside, the buildings were planned to accommodate 1200 men and consist of a barracks, chapel, arsenal, the basements of the bastions and an officers’ pavilion.

Saint-Martin-de-Ré is still in a good state of conservation today, sitting on the glacis which has never been built-up. It is surely the finest preserved example both of Vauban’s first system and of an island reduit. Once a powerful military stronghold and busy port, Saint-Martin-de-Ré has become a charming town with narrow and peaceful streets.

Inscribed Property
the enclosure and citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Outstanding Universal Value
citadel and urban enclosure in an island site
Date of construction
between 1681 and 1685
between 0 and 52 ft
GPS coordinates
46.201757, -1.368312
  • L'enceinte urbaine de Saint-Martin-de-Ré
    The urban wall of Saint-Martin-de-Ré
  • La citadelle de Saint-Martin-de-Ré vue du ciel
    The citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré seen from the sky
  • L'enceinte de Saint-Martin-de-Ré
    The urban wall of Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Tourist information

Commune de Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Hôtel de ville
Place de la République
17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Service patrimoine
Phone number: +33 5 46 09 38 93

Office du Tourisme
2 Avenue Victor Bouthillier - B.P. 41
17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Phone number: +33 5 46 09 20 06 / +33 5 46 09 74 52

Musée Ernest Cognacq
13 avenue Victor Bouthillier
17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Phone number: +33 5 46 09 21 22

How to visit / Access

You can visit the Saint-Martin-de-Ré urban wall all year round.
However, the citadel now houses a prison and visits are not authorized.