Fort de la Prée

History and description

The fort de la Prée was built from 1625 by D’Argencourt and Le Camus, engineers under Louis XIII. It is a square fort with four bastions, including curtain walls in a semi-dome. It represents a focal point in terms of the defence of the town and that of the Saint-Martin-de-Ré citadel. In 1664, the engineer Blondel redesigned it, followed in 1672 by Clerville, then Le Favolière, and finally the engineer Sainte-Colombe in 1676. These engineers added the outside, a gate and a large external barracks. Despite this, however, the opinion of Vauban in 1684 regarding the fort was very negative. He ordered that the keep be demolished, razing its envelope and covered way. The engineer Francis Ferry implemented these demolitions. In 1693, the square fort with semi-circular curtain walls still stood, with a central courtyard surrounded by two barracks. Three other military buildings occupied the hollow of the bastions. The main gate was preceded by a ravelin, which was linked to the small door of the fort. The front, meanwhile, was preceded by a marine rampart equipped with a large barracks alongside.
In 1875, its covered way had sheltered passages added. The Germans added additional blocks housing the defensive walls and to the sea front.

Current state

The fort de la Prée still stands. It is owned by the land administration department and the Rampart association. The latter is undertaking restoration work there. The fort is open to visitors and other activities, such as seminars or weddings, which also take place there regularly. It is quite well preserved. The ramparts are in good condition, three military buildings from the classic period are still standing. In contrast, the external barracks was demolished and the gate of the fort was drained. The relief map at a scaled of 1/600 constructed in 1704 and restored in 1771, is preserved at the musée des Invalides in Paris.

Fort de la Prée

Fort de la Prée
46° 10' 50.9632" N, -1° 17' 19.2545" E

coastal fort
Pierre de Conti d’Argencourt, Le Camus, François Blondel, Louis-Nicolas de Clerville, La Favollière, Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, François Ferry
  • D’AUNAY (A.), Vauban, génie maritime, Paris, 2007.
  • DEQUESNES (R.), FAILLE (R.), FAUCHERRE (N.) et PROST (P.), Les fortifications du littoral, la Charente maritime, Chauray, 1993.
  • LE BLANC (F Y), FAUCHERRE (N.), La route des fortifications en Atlantique. Paris, 2007.
  • WARMOES (I.), Le Musée des Plans-Reliefs, Paris, 1997, p.61.
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