Fort Carré

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Fort Carré

Fort Carré is one of Antibes’ historic landmarks, offering many experiences in one visit. The walk from Port Vauban through the surrounding four acres of protected nature on the way to the fort is an adventure in itself.

The view from Fort Carré over the harbor and Antibes city
The view from Fort Carré over the harbor and Antibes city – ©

Fort Carré is situated in an unique nature area

The area has remained inaccessible and undamaged from the time of construction until the 1990s. Thus, the field now has a real ecosystem with many animal and plant species representative of the Mediterranean environment.

On the walk you can experience olive trees, carob, green oak, nettle, strawberry, jasmine, mallow sylvestris, convovulus and meadow bell (Campanula), kestrels, spirea, spruce, oriental turtle doves (Stretopelia orientalis) hedgehogs, badgers, weasels, beech martins, rabbits, red squirrels, bats, and even red foxes.

A unique protected natural area surrounds Fort Carré
A unique protected natural area surrounds Fort Carré – ©

In addition, the fort offers a great location with unique views in all directions and a militarily very interesting architecture.

On the way out of the facility, you will pass two more exciting historical monuments – the tomb of general Jean-Étienne Championnet and the monumental statue of Poilu, which overlooks the sports facility to the north.

the monument of Poilu in front of the Fort Carré in Antibes
Poilu “guardian” of Fort Carré – ©

The history of Fort Carré

Built during the Renaissance in the second half of the 15th century by order of King Henri II of France, the fort was to serve as a sentry and fortification for the county of Nice. At that time, the area belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, while Provence was part of the Kingdom of France.

Fort Carré is built around the former tower – La Tour Saint-Florent – and the chapel Saint Laurent, which today adorns the courtyard of the fort’s inner courtyard.

Chapel Saint Laurent at Fort Carré in Antibes
The Chapel at Fort Carré – ©

The fort consists of four star-shaped bastions around a footbridge at 43 m height and offers a 360 degree panoramic view. Each bastion is named after their geographical orientation: bastion Nice, bastion Corsica, bastion Antibes, and bastion France.

Fort Carré with it's four bastions seen from the air in Antibes
Fort Carré seen from the air with its four bastions – ©cj-brosset, Antibes tourist office

Fort Carré is divided into four levels:

– level 0 is the entrance portal of a former guard house outside the main building
– level 1 gives access to the interior of the Saint-Laurent tower and the bastions
– level 2 corresponds to the mezzanine that housed barracks for soldiers
– level 3 plateau for artillery terraces including the “governor’s house”, reserved for officers
– level 4 upper area with patrolling corridors and 360 degree panoramic views.

Aside from its role as a sentry and deterrent, Fort Carré has been attacked twice. First in 1591 during the religious wars and last in 1746/1747 during the war with Austria.

Fort Carré in the 19th and 20th centuries

When the county of Nice was annexed to France in 1860, the fort lost its military significance and was therefore demilitarized.

In 1920, a sports facility was built on the north side of the fort and the site was then home to several sports and military schools.

Fort Carré was then ceded by the Army to the Ministry of Sports in 1967 along with all sports facilities and military barracks.

In the period 1979-1985, volunteers from the association “Club du Vieux Manoir” carried out a restoration of the fort.

Since 1997, Fort Carré has belonged to the City of Antibes. It was opened to the public for the first time in 1998.

By Tommy Sverre – 2022

Fort Carré will be open to the public every day except Monday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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