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Fort St Andre

Philippe le Bel, King of France, ordered the construction of the Saint André Fort as a symbol of royal power in opposition to the popes of Avignon and to the lands of the Holy Roman Empire. It includes a fortified wall and two twin towers that flank the monumental gate. The wall was built to protect the Benedictine abbey and the small town of Saint André.

The Saint-André Fort is a massive enclosed space crowning the Andaon Mount. In 1291, Philippe the Beautiful (King of France from 1285 to 1314), decided to realize his grandfather’s idea of fortifying the mount. It was indeed located on the Rhône riverside which had become the border between France and the Empire since the Languedoc region was part of France. The fort became the guard of the river Rhône that flowed just below the rock it was built on, thus surveying the traffic and protecting the country.

When the popes moved in in 1316, the fort became an even greater place in spite of its location at the outermost bounds of the state of Avignon. But this situation changed at the end of the 15th century when the Provence region became French. Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin region were from then on an enclave within the Empire. They remained the popes’ property until 1791.

Around 1770, the river Rhône moved its bed 900 meters away from the rock. The fort therefore lost all its strategic interest. However, the soldiers only left it in 1792 with the French Revolution.

The access to the site is a wide door flanked by two impressive twin towers that stand out from the curtain wall. From the terraces of the towers, there is a good view of Avignon and the Palace of the Popes, and the whole panorama from the Ventoux Mount to the Alpilles. The towers are the connecting point of the rampart walk from west to east on top of the enclosure walls.

Hours    
October 1-March 31: 10 am-noon and 2-5 pm
April 1-September 30: 10 am-12:30 pm and 2 -6 pm

Closed   January 1, May 1, November 1 and 11, December 25.
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