About Salses Fort
Salses Fort (also called Forteresse de Salses) is a Catalan fortress in the département of Pyrénées-Orientales, France. Built by the Catalans at the end of the 15th century, the fortress guarded the former frontier between Spain and France. The fortress receives an impressive 100,000 visitors a year.
Salses Fort history
Built by the great Spanish architect Francisco Ramiro Lopez in the late 15th century on a site with a source of spring water, most useful in the event of a siege, the fortress guarded the original border between the French and Spanish kingdoms. Salses Fortress was besieged, captured and recaptured in 1503, 1639, and 1640, before being definitively taken by the French in 1642.
The Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 redefined the borders, and Salses lost its strategic role and importance. Nevertheless, Vauban began partially restoring it in 1691.
The fort was captured by the French in 1642 and during the Spanish Civil War, the fort was used as a refuge.
Salses Fort today
Open for guided and unaccompanied tours, Fort de Salses is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture, and is operated by the Centre des monuments nationaux. The fortress’ layout and architecture, innovative for the time, present a rare example of the transition between medieval castle and the fortresses of the modern period.
Getting to Salses Fort
Unmissable along the A9 motorway, you can access the fortress via the rest-stop area just off the motorway. Otherwise, the train station nearby (within easy walking distance) has regular links to Nimes and Portbou.