Visit the fortress of Château d'Oléron near our campsite
Close to our campsite on the island of Oléron, the citadel of Château-d'Oléron was designed to protect the south of the island and the Atlantic coast. This military structure succeeded an old fortified castle that was fought over by various armed groups during the French Wars of Religion. The famous protestant soldier Agrippa d'Aubigné invaded it, before being thrown into prison after the Catholic troops of several thousand men regained control of the island and its castle.
A citadel that has spanned the history of France
The citadel was built by order of Cardinal de Richelieu as early as 1630, and the work continued until 1704. Later, it was modernised by Vauban, a tireless builder of the strategic defences of the Kingdom of France, who made it a major site for the defence of the Charente coast.
For a long time, the citadel was the training ground for the garrisons leaving for the "New France", Canada, which was a French colony from 1534 to 1763.
During the Reign of Terror which followed the French Revolution it became a prison, as well as in 1870. During WW2, german troops occupied it from 1940, making it a strategic place to watch over the coast. But unfortunately, the citadel was bombed in April 1945.
It is one of the main historical monuments of the island of Oléron that contains several characteristic elements of military architecture.
A unique military building set on the Oléron coastline
The citadel will be restored a first time from 1959 to 1971 and a second time in 1988.
Among the buildings within the fortified enclosure is the Royal Gate, built around 1640, which retains a low relief of the arms generally attributed to Richelieu. The main courtyard houses a large one-storey longitudinal building, the Arsenal. Designed to organise the life of the citadel, it contained, in addition to weapons and ammunition, a food shop, a flour shop and a chapel. To the right of the portal was the Dwelling of the governor of the island of Oléron.
On either side of this main building are the Bastion of the Breche and the Royal Bastion, which today houses thematic exhibitions, one of which is dedicated to the soldiers of the "New France". To the south of the citadel is the former Powder Workshop.