Toulon was (and still is) the naval base for France's Mediterranean fleet. First used as a naval port during the Italian Wars of the 16th century, the town was fortified in 1589 under Henri IV. In 1639, Richelieu decided to make Toulon a strategic naval base and shipbuilding industries grew up there. In 1664, Colbert enlarged the arsenal, and Louis XIV ordered Vauban to make improvements to the fortifications in 1678. The fortifications of Toulon were constantly added to throughout the early 18th century. The town experienced two famous sieges, one in 1707 when Imperial and Savoyard troops failed to capture it and one in 1793, when the British occupied it and defended it against revolutionary French forces.

Toulon from the north. The harbour defences.
The harbour defences. Toulon from the west.
Toulon and two of its outlying forts (the nearest one is the Fort D'Artigues). Toulon
Toulon from the east. Landward side of Toulon.
Detail of the westward front of the town.

Toulon did not only possess strong ramparts to repell the enemy - there were a number of outlying forts on the surrounding hillsides. To the north-east was the Fort d'Artigues, a small stone redoubt built on a small hill. East of the town was Fort Lamalgue, a strong work with four bastions, and the harbour entrance was guarded by Fort Balaguier. Another fort, the Fort des Pomets lay to the north-west of the town.

Fort des Pomets. Fort Lamalgue.
Fort d'Artigues. Three of Toulon's forts - Fort d'Artigues, Fort Lamalgue, Fort Balaguier.
Fort Balaguier. Toulon with Fort Lamalgue in the foreground.
Fort Lamalgue. Fort des Pomets.
Fort des Pomets.
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