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If you’re planning to spend a few days in Charente-Maritime, then you simply can’t resist a detour to Fort Boyard… unless you favour having regrets! Brought to prominence by the famous TV show bearing its name, this fort proudly stands in the Atlantic and holds many secrets waiting to be revealed. In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks to visit Fort Boyard and ensure you don’t miss out on this adventurous excursion!
Fort Boyard: quite a story!
First off, let’s take a moment to delve into some history.
The idea of constructing Fort Boyard first sprouted in 1666. This construction project aimed to defend and protect the Arsenal of Rochefort from English attacks. According to French troops, this structure was the perfect solution to secure the area and anticipate the arrival of enemy fleets. However, by the time Fort Boyard was completed in 1857, artillery techniques had significantly advanced, rendering the fort outdated. As a result, it was abandoned and later converted into a military prison until 1913.
1950 marked a turning point as the fort was designated a historic monument, allowing it to be used for film shoots and, of course, TV shows.
Thanks to the “Fort Boyard” show, we’ve gained insights into what lies inside: 66 cells once meant for war prisoners, numerous rooms, and various secret chambers nestled between walls. Fans of the show even have a dedicated website filled with anecdotes about the fort itself: Fan-Fort Boyard (in French).
How to visit Fort Boyard?
In the past, visitors and tourists were permitted to enter the fort for a thrilling exploration. However, due to numerous renovations and preservation efforts, Fort Boyard is now a protected heritage site.
If you wish to visit, you can enjoy (and it’s still fantastic) a sea tour to explore various maritime areas while closely admiring the structure. Many cruises set sail from the southern port of Fouras. This allows you to marvel at additional regional treasures like Fort Vauban, île Madame, île d’Oléron, and île d’Aix.
🗺️ Fancy Provence instead? If you’re more into the chirping cicadas and Mediterranean sun, we’ve got some destination ideas for you too.
If this kind of trip appeals to you, we recommend checking out the website Boyard Cruise for more details. Of course, many providers offer this service, but we have a soft spot for this one!
Furthermore, Fouras isn’t the only departure point. This picturesque journey can be commenced from various cities. Charente-Maritime is a region brimming with scenic views, offering some of the most spectacular marine panoramas. You can embark on this adventure from cities like La Rochelle, Boyardville, Rochefort, or Bourcefranc. Typically, these tours last around 1h30, providing a splendid view. Just be wary of the sometimes unpredictable weather – after all, it’s the ocean.
Discover more of Charente-Maritime
If you’re an enthusiast for excursions, rest assured that Fort Boyard isn’t the sole marvel of Charente. Far from it.
The region boasts a myriad of islands, both legendary and mesmerising. Charente-Maritime is structured around an archipelago consisting of four islands: île de Ré, île Madame, île d’Aix, and île d’Oléron. These places are renowned for their fine sand and their extravagant, refined nature, so indulge in these additional treats!
You can also relish some oyster tasting sessions, paired with local white wine, before basking on the beach… So, are you in?