Citadel of Château-d’Oléron

A 17th century defensive citadel

Built under Louis XIII from 1630, the citadel was probably completed around 1640 before the death of Cardinal de Richelieu, whose armouries were on its walls. When the arsenal royal de Rochefort became the main military port of the country, under the impulse of Louis XIV's minister Colbert, the need to protect the site from English threats became obvious. The fortifications of Château d'Oléron multiplied and became stronger around the original citadel. Largely built on marshes, these fortifications required pharaonic work. The ensemble evolved until the middle of the 18th century. Today, the citadel is a very accomplished example of the genius of Vauban.

Under the Revolution, it received for a century those condemned to hard labor. In 1870, German prisoners of war during the Franco-Prussian conflict were imprisoned there. It then housed a garrison until 1911. After the First World War, it housed the disciplinary sections of the national military service. Occupied by German troops during the Second World War, it was liberated in 1945 but was badly damaged by Allied bombings. The period from 1959 to 1970 was devoted to its restoration. Left abandoned after the first oil shock, it was gradually restored from the end of the 1980s. Today it is an essential site on the island and is one of the most visited sites in Charente-Maritime.
citadelle chateau oleron

Visit the citadel

Not to be missed during a visit to the island of Oleron, the citadel is in free access all year round except for the August days of the Jazz on fire festival which takes place within its walls. The ramparts of the site offer a exceptional and panoramic view on the Natural Reserve of Moëze-Oléron. The site shelters show and exhibition halls. Many events take place there in season.

To discover the history of the citadel, its stakes and its secret corners, it is possible to make a traditional guided tour, but also to enjoy a more original exploration of the place through night or storytelling tours or through a small train excursion around the fortifications. The site is very vast and includes many buildings with free access. You will be able to discover :

  • The arsenal
  • The horned work
  • The Royal Door
  • The Powder Magazine
  • The Bastion of the Breccia
  • The Royal Bastion
  • St. Nicholas Bastion

Practical information

The citadel of Château-d'Oléron is located less than 4 km from the camping Île d'Oléron Fief Melin. You just have to reach the center of the fortified city by the Avenue d'Antioche to get there. Classical guided tours last about an hour and a half. They are proposed at the price of 4 € full price and 2 € child price. For a exceptional visit at night, the rates are 6.50 € adult rate and 2.50 € child rate.

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