Les fortifications d’Entrevaux

  • Fortifications d'Entrevaux
Verdon Tourisme > Les fortifications d’Entrevaux

Entrevaux’s surrounding wall is punctuated by three gates, a portette, and two strong bastioned towers suitable for artillery. The main gate is preceded by a bridge over the Var river and an outpost or redoubt.

Although it has been established that a perimeter wall existed in the 14th century, of which no visible trace remains, we have no precise information on the construction of a defensive wall for the village. A drawing made around 1580-1590 by a spy-topographer in the pay of the Savoyard States shows a wall with curtain walls and flanking towers on the south/southeast front, unprotected by the natural escarpment, extending towards the castle, located at the top of the village. At that time, the village had two gate towers without drawbridges. The introduction of a new cathedral intra muros around 1624 required the boundaries of the enclosure to be extended to the east, and led to the construction of a third tower-gate. The main development and decisive impetus came from the reinforcement and construction work carried out during the League of Augsburg war (1688-1697) between the Duke of Savoy and France. This was followed by reinforcement work based on the plans of Antoine Niquet, military engineer and director of the fortifications of Provence, including the partial repair of the southern front of the enclosure. During an inspection tour of the Alps in the autumn of 1692, Vauban drew up a project for the Entrevaux fortifications, which came to nothing, apart from a few projects, notably the reinforcement of the eastern front, the most exposed and insufficiently defended by the work carried out in line with Niquet’s recommendations. Vauban’s actual stay in autumn 1700 proved more fruitful. Vauban’s second report, dated November 5, 1700 in Entrevaux, proposed reinforcing the town’s defenses with a surrounding wall with a sentry walk on the southwest and west fronts, and adding a vast work with barracks to protect the town from the front, in front of the Porte de France on the other side of the Var. The lieutenant-general of fortifications also recommended building a bastion to serve as an artillery battery outside the walls on the northern slope. Together with an access ramp to the château, this was to form a veritable citadel. Not everything could be built, and what was built did not follow Vauban’s plans exactly. The ramp to the château was not completed until 1746. In reality, the eighteenth century saw no significant changes to the defensive system. Expenditure was limited to repairs until the early 19th century. The Restoration marked the final stage of military development, under the direction of Captain Brusco, the last royal engineer in residence at Entrevaux. Some of Vauban’s recommendations were implemented, such as the completion of the town wall on the west/south-west front, the installation of crossbars along the ramp to the château from 1829, and the conversion of the former hôtel des barons de Glandevèz into barracks. Thereafter, there were no major changes. On August 10, 1853, Entrevaux was even downgraded to 2nd series. In 1913, the Bois-Gérard barracks were enlarged, but the departure of military personnel in 1922, followed by the official declassification of Entrevaux by decree on November 30, 1928, marked the end of an era. On July 2, 1930, the Entrevaux municipality purchased all the former military land, works and buildings from the administration des domaines for the sum of 41,616 francs. From then on, the architectural ensemble was protected: the decree of February 28, 1944 confirmed its classification as a Historic Monument. However, it was not until forty years later that restoration work was undertaken, under the direction of Francesco Flavigny, chief architect of the Monuments Historiques, on the château and certain elements of the enclosure, such as the restoration of the Royal Gate. This work continues today.

source: Inventaire général du Patrimoine culturel Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

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