Mont-Louis: From inter-communal monument protection towards a territorial project

PNR des Pyrénées catalanes - 2009-2013


A recognisable defensive landscape
The Mont-Louis stronghold comprises a town and a citadel, created from scratch in 1679 within a mountain setting in the heart of what is now the Regional Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees.
The zones of co-visibility between this fortress and the surrounding areas are vast. Its defensive system includes a series of sophisticated redoubts, located at the far reaches of the neighbouring communes. Their relationship to Mont-Louis can be expressed in terms of angles of fire, cones of surveillance and axes of communication.

Number of inhabitants: 224 civilians, 150 military personnal

Surface of the stronghold: 37 ha

An inter-communal tool for responding to outside pressure
No further developments being possible inside the city walls, new constructions gradually began to be built at the edges of the glacis, overflowing into surrounding communes. The need for coordination of this urban sprawl led to the six communes concerned and the Regional Natural Park setting up an Architecture and Heritage Development Zone (AVAP in French), with the aim of creating a shared tool for managing the outskirts of the Vauban walled city. Historical, landscaping and environmental studies carried out from 2009 to 2013 led to regulations being drawn up governing matters in terms of hillsides to be defended and existing or future cones of visibility. Its content is very specific and is limited according to the distance from Mont-Louis; the further away from the centre of the AVAP, the more regulations there are concerning urban planning and global morphology.
It recommends, for example, organising buildings along land contours, as a continuation of ancient clusters, and positioning ridge pieces parallel to the slope.


Positive aspects

Besides the results expected on the landscaping quality, the collective awareness-raising of the issues has led to a feeling of shared responsibility for its governance and the influence of its World heritage status.
The pluri-annual tree-felling plan is also part of this move to strengthen visual links between the stronghold and the surrounding territory.