Fort Saint Nicholas | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Fort Saint Nicholas

Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Fort Saint Nicholas

Fort Saint Nicholas is an imposing 17th Century fortress overlooking the Old Port in Marseille, France.

Fort Saint Nicholas history

Fort Saint Nicholas in Marseille is a fortification built by King Louis XIV between 1660 and 1664, supposedly to defend the city’s port, but also to quell the uprising of the people of the city against their governor. In fact, its guns, like those of its contemporary, Fort Saint Jean, pointed at the city, not away from it.

The current location was therefore chosen, behind the Abbaye Saint-Victor. On March 2, 1660, the construction site was launched during the King’s visit. Given the size of the project and the nature of the building, the construction was completed in record time, in only 4 years.

In the 18th Century, Fort Saint Nicholas was used as a military prison and garrisoned. In 1790, during the French Revolution, the people of Marseille sacked Fort Saint Nicholas, however the Assemblée Nationale put an end to this destruction a mere month later.

Fort Saint Nicholas was then restored in the early nineteenth century – the newer parts are discernable because they are grey in colour as opposed to the pink of the original brickwork.

Fort Saint Nicholas today

Today, the fortress is still in two parts, the portion bordering the sea has been named Fort Ganteaume and houses the military circle and the officers’ mess. The part on the land side, the high fort, is called Fort d’Entrecasteaux. Only part of the complex is open to the public and can be visited.

The opportunity to climb up the ramparts of this Monument de Marseille and admire the superb view they offer of the port and the city of Marseille. The complex has been classified as a Historic Monument since 1969.

Getting to Fort Saint Nicholas

The address of the fort is 1 Boulevard Charles Livon, 13007 Marseille, France. It is located right next to Abbaye Saint-Victor overlooking the Old Port. ]

There is a bus stop (Fort St Nicholas) right outside of the fort. You can reach this stop on bus routes 82, 82S, 83 and 583.

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