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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Fortress Visit Report No. 7 Fort de La Prée, Ile de Ré

On the Sunday of my visit to Ile de Ré, I wanted to visit the Fort de La Preé. This is along the coast to the east of St Martin de Ré. I checked on t'Internet, opens in May for the summer season. Measuring it on the map, it was 7km from my hotel so I put on new walking boots and set off.

The route was along the coastal path, dodging the cyclists, fairly straightforward, gentlish walk which I really enjoyed. Good views across the water to mainland France, the weather was windy but sunny. Good sightings of turnstones, dunlins, shelducks and a red kite. Past some WWII German works, the subject of my next report.

I arrived at the fort to find it was closed. There was no indication of why or when the fort was to open. That was a bit of a letdown. I walked around the base for some photos and walked back the 7kms to the hotel.

The fort was built in 1625 - 26 with stone recycled from the nearby derelict Abbeye des Chateliers. It is a star fort with four bastions, a surrounding wall and a small harbour. Vauban visited it in 1684 and requested some modifications with, amongst other items, new wells and a powder magazine. It was abandoned shortly after, then revived during the Revolutionary period. It was declassified in 1934. The Germans made the fort part of their island defence, but now it is in private hands. Restoration work is ongoing.

Approaching from the West, first view of the Fort.

South-west bastion.

Bastion, entrance, bastion.

WWII German work 

Harbour redan on the left, outer wall ahead.

Closer view of the redan wall.

Sally port onto the seashore
So, in the end, a nice walk, the fort was much larger than I realised from Internet photos and plans, next time I will plan better. One good thing on the walk back, I was able to observe just how well sighted the German defences were.

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