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.