An area where low tides reveal long-legged fisherman’s houses.
While the clear blue sky and the clear blue Atlantic Ocean
– steals attention from so much else.
Walk inspired by “Restlessjo” and her captivating “Monday walk” themes.
Fort Louvois, (locally be called Fort du Chapus) seen from the seaside
– is a fortification built between more than 300 years ago.
Positioned so that a crossfire from there and two other forts
– would impede unfriendly access to the city of Rochefort on the mainland.
Built on the Chapus islet, and is about 400 metres offshore at high tide
– at low tide the fort is accessible via a causeway.
At summer a boat at high tide takes visitors to the fort.
The bridge behind have nothing to do with the fort,
only the connection between Île d’Oléron and the mainland.
Fort Louvois only be part of war one time – towards the end of WW2
when bombardment greatly damaged the fort, necessitating later restoration.
Since 1972 the fort has been the site of a museum of oyster farming
– there are oyster beds next to the causeway that joins the fort to the shore.
The fort also houses a permanent exhibition that describes the history of the fort.
The fort sits opposite the citadel of Chateau d’Oleron on the island of Oleron. The fort was positioned so that a crossfire from the chateau and the fort would control the Pertuis de Maumusson (Passage of Maumusson) and impede access to the Rochefort roads from the south. Fort Louvois only saw action towards the end of World War II when bombardment greatly damaged the fort, necessitating later restoration.
Since 1972 the fort has been the site of a museum of oyster farming, and there are oyster beds next to the causeway that joins the fort to the shore. The fort also houses a permanent exhibition that describes the history of the fort and that contains models of fortifications on the Charente coast. During the summer a shuttle boat that operates during high tide takes visitors to the fort at low tide the fort is accessible via a causeway.
Design : Fort Louvois consists of a horseshoe-shaped battery, with a tower redoubt or keep in the gorge or opening of the horseshoe. The tower is semi-circular on the seaward side, i.e., on the side within the horseshoe the landward side is beak-shaped. A moat, which fills at high tide, separates the tower from the rest of the fort, with one drawbridge providing access to the fort, and a second to the tower. The area that the battery occupies is about 52 and 55 metres (171 and 180 ft). The firing platform is 12 metres (39 ft) above the surface of the water, and the battery’s lateral coverage is 180 degrees. The keep has five levels and is 24 metres (79 ft) high. The tower had the powder magazine on the ground floor, and quarters for the commander and the other officers on the other floors. Today, there is a lighthouse on the tower. A barracks building on the fort’s terre plein contained the arms room, food stores, and a water tank. A causeway that is underwater at high-tide joins the fort to the shore.
History : After the completion of the arsenal at Rochefort in 1666, Louis XIV wanted to create a chain of fortifications on the coast of Aunis and Saintonge. A number of fortifications were built to defend the Rochefort, with Fort Louvois being the last commissioned under Louis XIV. (The first half of the 19th Century saw the addition of Fort Boyard.) On 16 December 1690, the Marquis of Louvois, the Minister of War, initiated the project. He wrote to Michel Begon, the Naval Intendant at Rochefort, informing him that the king wished that a fort be erected on Chapus. Francois Ferry, an engineer, took charge of the process, designing an oval fort measuring 52 metres (171 ft) by 78 metres (256 ft) and consisting of two levels, with embrasures on both levels. The design was analogous to that of Fort Risban at Calais, or Grand Risban at Dunkirk.
Work on building the fort’s foundations began on 19 June 1691. Because the islet was made up of shellfish and mud, the work was extremely difficult with the result that by 20 October only the stone foundations were in place despite the fact that the project had already expended more than half the funds budgeted for construction. After Louvois’s death on 16 July 1691, the military architect Vauban took over the project. He modified the original design to create a simpler and cheaper fort. He gave what would become Fort Louvois its present-day horseshoe shape with two pier heads and one tower, and reduced the two levels of batteries to one level. The new design resembled that of two other forts that Vauban had constructed, Fort Lupin, which he had constructed between 1683 and 1686 on the southern bank of the Charente river, and the Tour Vauban and battery, which he had constructed on the Sillon at Camaret-sur-Mer, as part of the fortifications of the Goulet de Brest. Construction of Fort Louvois took three years and was completed under the engineer Henri-Albert Bouillet.
In 1755 Fort Louvois saw modifications that were intended to keep pace with advances in weaponry. One result was the reduction in the number of embrasures for artillery to ten from the original 16. The battery lost its roof, and the fort also received latrines on the walls. These were the last modifications to the fort. In 1824 the fort was armed with four 24-pounder guns and three 32-pounder mortars. Then in 1870 it received six 22-pounder howitzers. The fort was repaired in 1875 to undo damage from the action of the sea. At that time it received a telegraph station and six 16-pounder guns. After the First World War, the French military abandoned the fort. On 14 June 1929 it was declared a historical monument. Nevertheless, on 10 September 1944 it underwent shelling during the liberation of Marennes. The German army took possession of the fort but withdrew within a day due to the Allied advance. Free French forces then occupied the fort, only to come under fire from the Chateau d’Oleron, which was still in the hands of the German Army. The bombardment destroyed the guardhouse, the barracks, and much of the keep. After the liberation of France, scaffolding had to be erected on the tower’s north-west face to prevent the tower’s collapse.
Bourcefranc-le-Chapus purchased the fort from the French government in 1960. In the 1960s it was completely restored under the direction of the Regional Administration for Cultural Affairs. Fort Louvois was opened to the public in 1972. In 2010, the storm Xynthia damaged Fort Louvois. The storm flooded the fort and swept away the drawbridge. Still, the fort received 26,000 visitors in 2010.
Access : Coordinates : 45.857222, -1.174167 / From the Port du Chapus there is access at low tide, on foot along a path which can be submerged in up to 400 metres at high tide
At high tide there is a free boat from the Port du Chapus (July & August only, 5 to 10 minutes crossing time) Admission prices : – Children from 4 to 12 years : 2.5 € , – Full price : 6 € , – From 13 to 18 years : 5 € Hours : Sun – Sat 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM /Self-guided visit or guided tour – free boat shuttle at high tide (closed on 14th July for fireworks display) / Location : Fort Louvois, 17560 Bourcefranc, Poitou-Charentes, France
Gaze out upon the Seudre marshlands
Covering 10,000 hectares around Marennes, Saint-Just-Luzac, Saint-Sornin and Le Gua, the Seudre marshlands are one of France’s biggest wetlands. They’re home to a huge wealth of flora and fauna. Part of the Natura 2000 network, these marshlands have been shaped by humans and are a landmark for many migratory birds, as well as being an ideal setting for nature lovers and bucolic hikes.
Night time tours are available for the curious, letting you discover the life of the marshlands after nightfall. You’ll admire the phosphorescent light on the surface of the oyster beds to the soundtrack of water lapping in the nearby channel. The association that runs the tours also offers poetry sessions. The tour concludes with a tasting of some flavours of the local terroir and a torch-lit stroll back to the sound of bagpipes.
Lovers of authenticity will also appreciate the Moulin des Loges mill. Built in the 12th century, it bears witness to the regional customs of yesteryear. Abandoned, plundered and then restored in the 2000s, the Moulin des Loges is today one of Europe’s last tide mills. It works thanks to the phenomenon of the tides and is activated by the sea’s movements to produce flour.
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Fort Louvois, named after the minister of war of Louis XIV, was built between 1691and 1694 to defend the Citadel of Oléron and the Arsenal of Rochefort. Today, it is one of the main tourist sites of Charente-Maritime.
Visitors can discoved the six rooms of the garrison house and the powder warehouse. After having visited the donjon and the exhibition on the history of the fort, you can climb the tower, offering information tables and a panoramic view on the sound of Oléron.
I have volunteered to do at talk for our local U3A branch Military History group on artillery fortifications in 1700. I have been trawling the web for pictures and I came upon a Facebook page for Fort Louvois.
My thanks to the Fort Louvois Facebook page for these great photos, there are many more on the site.
Fort Louvois is also known as Fort Chapus. It was stated by Francois Ferry in 1691 and completed under Vauban's hand in 1694. It was part of the defences of the La Rochelle / Rochfort area. Renovated in 1875. It saw action in April 1945 when FFI troops liberated the area and the fort came under artillery fire from Germans in Chateau d'Oleron.
Thames Estuary, England
Red Sands Forts of the Maunsell Army Sea Forts. Russss/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
Purpose: Anti-aircraft defense
Current Use: After a post-military career in pirate radio and employment as search lights, they were abandoned.
Eustache Dauger: The Man in the Iron Mask
The theory that the Man in the Iron Mask is Eustache Dauger is the most accepted. However, whether this was his real name or an alias is unclear. It is well-known that a man named Eustache Dauger de Cavoye, the son of a captain in Cardinal Richelieu’s guards, was born in 1637. Later he joined the royal army, but eventually he was forced to resign in disgrace after killing a young boy in a drunken brawl, and was subsequently incarcerated.
After complaining to his sister about his treatment in prison in 1678, and shortly thereafter complaining to the king, the king issued an edict that de Cavoye should no longer be allowed to communicate with anyone unless a priest was present.
The problem with the theory that de Cavoye is the same Eustache Dauger as the man said to be punished with the iron mask, is that he de Cavoye was being held in Saint-Lazare prison, while the Man in the Iron Mask was in Pignerol. Furthermore, there is significant evidence that de Cavoye died in the 1680s, well before the more famous Eustache Dauger.
Model reconstruction of the Man in the Iron Mask, Castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte. (Prosopee/ CC BY SA 3.0)
Bahrain [ edit | edit source ]
Antwerp (Province of -) [ edit | edit source ]
Antwerp (1914, external defenses, clockwise from N, right bank of Scheldt River, toponymy as per maps)
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Antwerp (1914, internal defenses, clockwise from N, right bank of Scheldt River, toponymy as per contemporary maps)
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Liège (Province of -) [ edit | edit source ]
Liège (1914, clockwise from N, right bank of Meuse River)
Namur (Province of -) [ edit | edit source ]
Namur (1914, clockwise from E, right bank of Meuse River)
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