Fort Carré, Antibes

Antibes has a stormy history, being situated in a much fought-over region. The first fortifications were probably constructed by the romans, but the town was given new defences in medieval times. In 1553, a tower called la tour Saint-Florent was built on a penninsular to the north of the town. There had previously been a chapel on the site, and this was incorperated into the tower.

Henry III gave the tower four bastions in 1565, and it became Fort Carré (the squared fort). In the 1680's Vauban strengthened Fort Carré, adding traverses to protect against ricochet fire and exchanging the stone parapets, which were liable to scatter deadly splinters when hit by shot, for brick ones.

Relief map of Antibes, showing Fort Carré in the foreground and the town on the far side of the bay.
The entrance to the fort, formed by a triangular work jutting from the walls.

Vauban also enlarged the embrasures and added outer walls to the fortification. After Vauban's work, the fort was designed to take 18 cannon. The entrance to the fort is through a triangular work that protrudes from the walls, which is loopholed and pierced by a heavy wooden door.

From here, there is a narrow bridge that leads into the fort itself via the flank of one of the arrow headed bastions. Inside, there are barrack buildings for officers and men as well as the ancient chapel, which has been preserved through the successive stages of military development of the site.

View of Fort Carré from the west. The mud flat in the foreground is a sports pitch...
Relief map - The fortifications of the town of Antibes.

In addition to improving the defences of Fort Carré, Vauban fortified Antibes itself, adding a land front of 4 arrow headed bastions around the town, as well seaward fortifications, including a bastion on the breakwater closing the harbour.

Visiting Fort Carré

Fort Carré is in very good condition, though the outer walls are overgrown in places. The fort itself can be visited in good weather with a guided tour for around 3€. It can be quite hard to see how to get to it, as there is a large sports field on the western side of the penninsular.

The bastions of Fort Carré.

Facing the fort, go to the left of this sports field and follow the path around to the fort's entrance. As for the fortifications of Antibes, they were mainly built over as the town expanded, but the seaward defences are intact. The large bastion on the breakwater protecting the harbour has also survived.

Above the entrance there is a barrack building built into the wall.

Today the port is full of luxury yachts, but it is still known as Port Vauban. The Antibes station is just to the north of the old town, and road access is good. This area is where some of the world's richest have their summer residences, so accommodation can be expensive!

Condition Access to fortifications Size of fortress Accessability of town Museum/Info Overall score
8 8 3 8 5 6.4
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