The Tour des enfants

Town of Besancon, Directorate of culture and heritage - June-September 2008


Innovations of Vauban, the first bastioned towers flanking a protective city wall were constructed in Besançon from 1687. The bastioned tower of Chamars was constructed on the rock, on the river bed, between 1687 and 1691. Following a restoration during the year 2008, it was opened to visitors for the first time. The bastioned tower of Chamars thus was dubbed the “Tour des enfants” (Tower of children). In the lower part of the tower, known as a casemate, younger visitors discover the bastioned fortification via a film created by FRANCE 3 for the programme “C’est pas sorcier” (It’s not rocket science) ; on the next levels, the children familiarise themselves with methods of construction of a stronghold by using a range of specially created games.

The Tour des enfants: A new venue of discovery for the younger visitors of the fortified heritage.

The tower included three levels, each offering activities that can be followed freely based on personal choice:

  • In the casemate on the ground floor, first of all, exploration of the fortifications of Vauban with the film “C’est pas sorcier”.
  • On the 1st floor, a reading area and chess area are offered to visitors.
  • On the second and final floor, the platform, an unusual area, offers a recreational opportunity with games of manipulation and observation for children from 8 years (examples: the footprint of Vauban, the besieged polygon, the towers in pieces, War and Peace in Chamars).
Finance plan

Portion for the town ofBesançon: €12,151 including tax

Portion for the EDF Diversiterre Foundation: €10,000 including tax

Overall budget of the operation: €22,151 including tax


Positive aspects
  • The 1st year of opening the monument (2008), following the restoration, has been a great success, with up to 4,641 visitors for the period July-August and 634 visitors for the weekend on heritage days.
  •  The inhabitants of Besançon (family audience) rediscover their heritage.
Negative aspects
  • The small area which is part of the configuration of the bastioned tower requires significant preparation work for the purpose of implementing projects.
  • Few visitors between 12pm and 3pm, public tend to come from 3pm to 7pm.