History and description

A town of Gallo-Roman origin, Seyne-les-Alpes had its first fortifications built around 1220 under the Counts of Provence, who constructed a tower on the rocky ridge which dominated the town, as well as an outer wall, which was also reinforced with an additional urban wall. In 1690, during the war of the League of Augsbourg, the engineer Niquet reinforced this first wall with bastioned towers. Their construction was completed in 1692. Vauban did not visit Seyne but included it in a project in December 1692. He advocated surrounding the external medieval tower by a citadel connected to the ramparts of the town and running along the rocky ridge. Niquet applied and enclosed one of the bastioned towers. In 1700, Vauban visited Seyne and thinks the citadel was poorly constructed and overly narrow, poorly flanked, lacking a bastioned front towards the exterior and constructed on a Schistose and unstable soil. Two barracks occupied the interior of the ramparts. Vauban and Richerand attempted to correct these errors but to little avail. Henceforth, Vauban hesitated between, on the one hand, deciding whether or not to replace the bastioned towers with bastions, or on the other hand, to reconstruct in a more powerful way.
Nothing came of it, and in 1722 the site was described as in ruins and abandoned. This abandonment was due to the annexing of the Ubaye in France by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which meant that Seyne lost its strategic value. In 1750, a part of the main tower collapsed and was only repaired in 1784-1785 with a lower parapet. Another restoration programme was launched from 1817, under Louis XVIII and Louis-Philippe I. In 1860, the citadel was definitively downgraded and abandoned.

Current state

The citadel is currently in ruins. The tower was restored recently and its battlements have been discovered. The other buildings (barracks, guardroom and bastioned tower) remain in ruins. A local association plans their restoration. The outer decorative parts are already being restored. The urban wall was partially demolished and its bastioned towers were lost.


44° 21' 5" N, 6° 21' 25" E

urban wall and citadel
Antoine Niquet, Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, Guy Creuzet de Richerand
Alpes de Haute-Provence
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
  • BARDE (Y.), Sentinelles des Alpes, citadelles et fortifications, Rennes, 2010.
  • BORNECQUE (R.), FAUCHERRE (N.), La route des fortifications dans les Alpes, Paris, 2006.
  • BORNECQUE (R.), Vauban et les Alpes, Saint-Léger-Vauban, 1995.
  • Ouvrage collectif, Vauban et ses successeurs dans les Alpes maritimes, Paris, 2004.
  • Site de l’Association Fort et Patrimoine du Pays de Seyne,
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