Fort Boyard was the idea of Louis XIV, who ruled from 1643 to 1715. It was intended to protect the west coast of France from the English fleet. In the end it was Napoleon who built it, 150 years later. The construction started in 1801 but proved to be very difficult due to the changing tides. Construction eventually stopped in 1809. When it was finally completed in 1857, the English were no longer a threat to France and the fort was no longer needed. After a while it fell into disrepair. In 1988 the fort was restored for use in the famous TV game show ‘Fort Boyard’. The only way to see the inside is by participating in the game show. It is possible to sail around the fort with a boat, but you have to pay a fee to do so.
On the way to the fort, reference is made to Ile-d’Aix for having the best view of the place. However, we chose to continue on to Ile-d’Oléron. We entered the nearest bit of land into our navigation system and hoped we’d reach a destination. We did, and found a parking spot close to the beach. The fort was immediately visible! We decided to walk as close as we could to the fort. And we were able to see the outside with the zoom on our camera. No need for the boat trip after all!
Check www.atlasobscura.com to find out more about this cool place!