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Le Fort Nieulay

Not rated ,  Historic site and monument ,  Fortified structure in Calais

  • In the Calais defence system, Fort Nieulay watched over the west of Calais. Originally, a small stream - the Hames River - flowed here once, after crossing a breach in a bank of sea pebbles, the Neuna cove. A bridge, with a paying passage (the tonlieu) was then built here. In 1525, an English fortress protected a system of locks that could flood the country in the event of aggression.

    Later, in the 17th century, Vauban drew up the plans for the present fort. Equipped with thick brick walls...
    In the Calais defence system, Fort Nieulay watched over the west of Calais. Originally, a small stream - the Hames River - flowed here once, after crossing a breach in a bank of sea pebbles, the Neuna cove. A bridge, with a paying passage (the tonlieu) was then built here. In 1525, an English fortress protected a system of locks that could flood the country in the event of aggression.

    Later, in the 17th century, Vauban drew up the plans for the present fort. Equipped with thick brick walls and built on stilts, with 3 locks, capable of housing up to 28 officers and 480 soldiers, the fort then became the protective centrepiece of Calais. It is one of the only lock forts imagined by Vauban to survive in France. Around it, various paths offer a peaceful stroll...but also a real life-size lesson on Vauban's defensive system, especially on the slope overlooking the neighbouring commercial area.
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