Panoramic views at Napoleon’s prison in Antibes

The history of Fort Carré

Antibes was founded by the Greeks and settled by the Romans and was known as the town of Antipolis.

In the 14th century, Savoy’s possession of the town was contended by France until it fell to them in 1481, after which Fort Carré was built and the port, today one of the busiest on the Mediterranean coast, was fortified by Vauban.

The Fort is star-shaped, with entry via a small bridge and heavy wooden door.  Inside, are barracks for officers and a chapel, cantine and kitchen quarters.  The remparts are 43 metres high, and allow 360 degree views across to Nice, Antibes and the Cap d’Antibes.

The Fort is surrounded by 4 hectares of forest with typical Mediterranean shrubs and trees. There is also a pleasant walkway that follows the perimeter of the Fort from Antibes port back to the main road (duration approximately 15-20 minutes).

Did you know? During the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte was imprisoned here for 10 days.  I doubt he was entitled to enjoy the sea views, he was more likely to have been made to sit starving while the smells of the Fort kitchen wafted next to his prison cell as was so common for French fortresses in those days.

It is interesting to note that Fort Carré was never conquered.

Fort Carré, Antibes

Fort Carré, Antibes

When can you visit?

Visits to the Fort are in guided groups only that depart every 30 minutes. The guided tour is included in the entry fee, and is in French however there are printed leaflets with tourist information in English, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Russian.

In July and August: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 6pm

Other months: Open Tuesday to Friday: 12:30pm – 4:00pm and Saturday and most Sundays: 10am to 4:00pm
Last tour begins at 3:30pm.

Closed on public holidays: 1st January, 1st May, 1st November and 25th December.

Double check all opening times on www.antibes-juanlespins.com

How do you get there?

The Fort is located on the edge of Antibes port (Port Vauban), and is just 10 minutes easy stroll from Antibes train station.  If you are driving, free public carparks are located on avenue du 11 novembre across from the athletics fields.  Note: There is a gravel driveway beside the amphitheatre that leads to the Fort entrance and then you must walk 300 metres through the surrounding parkland across rocky ground.

The pathway for entrance to Fort Carré is beside the amphitheatre on the Nice side of the Fort

The pathway for entrance to Fort Carré is beside the amphitheatre on the Nice side of the Fort

What is the entrance fee?

– €3 per adult

– €1,50 for students/persons  65+ years and upwards/teachers (must all provide I.D)

– Free entry for children under 18 years, persons of disability and their accompanying companion, war veterans, journalists, students of art and archaeology.  Unaccompanied children are not allowed to enter the Fort.

There is free entry for everyone on the annual weekends of Journées du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days).

Fort Carré, Antibes

Fort Carré, Antibes

Miscellaneous information

  • The Fort is not particularly accessible for persons with restricted mobility as there are steep stairs of uneven surface inside the Fort, and the grounds around the Fort are very rocky.
  • Baby strollers would also pose some difficulty due to the terrain.
  • There is a free public toilet near the entrance to the Fort.
  • No food facilities are here.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather – take a sunhat and water for hot weather as the remparts at the top of the Fort are very exposed.

I hope you find this blog post helpful if you are planning to visit Antibes or Fort Carré. Bon voyage!

 

 

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