Discover the Fort Saint Nicolas and dive into Marseille history. Built in the 17th Century to protect the city, the fort offers a breath-taking panorama of the Vieux-Port. It is located boulevard Charles Livon, not far from the Palais du Pharo and its beautiful garden. The only possible tours are organized by the tourist office.
The Fort Saint-Nicolas was built on Louis XIV idea in order to protect Marseille’s harbour. But it was also a way for him to take control over the city, which had stayed hostile to him for a long time (a fact that helps to understand Marseille nowadays!). Construction works ended in 1664.
During the 18th Century, a garrison was living in the citadel. But with the Révolution, it is partially destroyed by revolutionaries, only renovated in 1834. In 1860, Napoléon III orders construction works to divide the citadel into two forts so a road connecting the Pharo to the Vieux-Port can go through. Look, it is the boulevard Charles Livon!
Since 1887, each fort has its own name: Fort Saint-Nicolas superior part becomes the Fort Entrecasteaux, from a French seafarer name, and the inferior part is called Fort Ganteaume, to honour an old naval prefect from Toulon city.
Until the end of World War 2, the Fort Saint-Nicolas is used as a prison. Famous prisoners are the writer Jean Giono, who talks in his novel “Noé » about “the cell where he stayed prisoner for 20 days without light”, and Habib Bourguiba, who then became president of the Tunisian République.
2 boulevard Charles Livon, 13007 Marseille
HOW TO GET TO THE FORT SAINT-NICOLAS ?
- Station Livon Vieux-Port
- Station Pasteur
- Station Corse Saint-Maurice
- Fort Saint-Nicolas Stop (line 82, 82S et 83)