Besançon, young international volonteers initiative

Town of Besançon - 4 to 25 July 2009


The Fort de Chaudanne was listed as a Historical Monument on the 30th May 1996 and is one of the elements in the defensive system that protects the Besançon citadel rock bar.

This bastioned work was the subject of restoration for three weeks when some twenty young voluntary workers from 8 different countries (South Korea, Serbia, Armenia, Japan, Ukraine, Spain, USA, and France) carried out improvements to the fort by repairing the walls, clearing vegetation, securing the ditches and building steps. Work resulted in the creation of a discovery trail and a panoramic vista of the old centre of Besançon.

The town of Besançon signed a partnership with the Solidarités Jeunesse Association and allocated a budget of €20 000, to help welcome these young volunteers. All public stakeholders in the town of Besançon were involved to ensure that the international volunteers’ stay was a success - the army lent them camp beds, the Greater Besançon Community organized a shuttle service, and the National Police let them use their showers. Visits to local museums such as the Museum of Time or the Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology also allowed the young volunteers to discover the cultural wealth of the Doubs department.


Positive aspects

This international initiative generated a lot of media interest and also a cultural exchange between the local inhabitants and the foreign volunteers. The presence of the young voluntary workers from three different continents gave an international dimension to the architectural heritage of the town. Finally, it added to the enhancement of all of the Vauban fortifications inscribed on UNESCO world heritage.