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Friday, 25 July 2014

Fortress Visit Report : Metz : Medieval Walls and Fort Bellecroix

Image from "Vauban and the French Military Under Louis XIV"
by Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage".

Metz had a long medieval wall, about 7 kilometres with around 60 towers. Many of the towers were built and maintained by the Guilds (you know - butchers, bakers, candlestick makers). Only part of this remains, from the Moselle to the Porte des Allemands, behind Fort Bellecroix.

As I walked around the walls, one tower in particular caught my attention, the Tour des Esprits.
Tour des Esprits

Damaged during the 1944 battle to liberate Metz, later restored

Lovely vaulted ceiling
On close inspection, it seems to me that the roundels to allow cannon fire were installed at a later date.

A musketry wall was added during the 1830's, all around the wall. This would have provided protection against small arms fire but probably have been easy meat for siege artillery.

Musketry wall in front, medieval wall behind.
(Picture pinched from internet - thanks to the poster)

From the Porte des Allemands, I crossed the river and entered Fort Bellecroix.

The notice board for the Circuit of the Ramparts, in need of some repair.

"Bellecroix Fort. The military past of Bellecroix.

It was under Louis XV that Cormontaigne, successor to Vauban, built to a large extent the double crown of Fort Bellecroix, under the direction of the Military Governor Marechal de Belle-Isle, between 1734 and 1740.

The works, comprising of four bastions, three curtain walls, three demi-lunes and a lunette, was protected by 3kms of dry ditch and 4.6kms of underground galleries.

Under Napoleon III and to the end of the 19th century, these fortifications were reinforced."

The double-crownwork is largely intact but under much tree growth. The main ditch between the line of the bastions and curtain walls and the line of the demi-lunes is used for playgrounds and basketball courts.

Bastion on the right, basketball court.


Demi-lune, under the shrubbery.

Porte de Sarrelouis

Pas de souris.

From a bastion shoulder towards the Porte de Sarrelouis.

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