Citadelle de Belfort – The reputedly impregnable fortifications in Belfort

Built in 1687 according to plans by French military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. It played an important role especially in 1870-71 during the siege of Belfort, one of the last great battles of the Franco-Prussian War.

The citadel was built on a rocky promontory east of the old town with a view of the city. In addition to the fortress and the moats, on the western flank of the barracks it contains the Lion of Belfort, created by Auguste Bartholdi in 1880 and considered the city’s landmark.

Citadelle de Belfort and the lion by Auguste Bartholdi / Image:

The citadel has gone through several stages of development over the course of its time. The fortified heritage of Belfort is well preserved since around 75% of the fortifications are still standing. The three bastioned towers are preserved. Only the western part was destroyed, to open onto the Porte de France and the old royal road leading to Paris.

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