Make the most of your stay at the Sables Vignier residence to visit the famous Fort Boyard, located between the islands of Oleron and Aix.
The Fort Boyard is most famous for the television show of the same name that was broadcast in France in the early 90s. Beyond this spectacular aspect, the fort has a fascinating history, which began under the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.
A two hundred year old fort
The fort was originally built in 1801 under Bonaparte to protect the mouth of the Charente and the Rochefort arsenal against possible incursions by the English navy, during a short truce in the war that opposed France and England until 1815.
Abandoned in 1809, it was not until 1841 and new tensions with the English that work was resumed at Fort Boyard. The first cannons were not installed until 1859, while in the meantime progress in artillery made the defensive character of the fort totally obsolete.
"Useless fort", prison, then place of entertainment
Ironically renamed the "Fort de l'Inutile", Boyard was deserted and fell prey to looters, before being rehabilitated as a state prison in 1870. Abandoned by the army in 1913, the fort remained abandoned for another three long decades, before being classified as a historical monument in the 1950s.
Regularly used as a film location in the 1960s, it was not until 30 years later that it became the setting for a television programme and a tourist attraction in its own right.
Don't miss this monument, full of history, accessible from the island of Ré and the island of Oléron.