Ready for a crazy afternoon at the Citadel of Besançon? This cultural and sightseeing hotspot won't disappoint you! Prepare to feast your eyes from the top of the ramparts. A multimedia display, a mobile app and the Vauban centre are there to help you grasp the history of this site and discover the military ingenuity of the great architect, Vauban. There are all sorts of animals for the children to see too and, if that still isn't enough, you can head for the Franche-Comté Museum!
A UNESCO-listed fortress
This is the building in Besançon that can be seen from a long way away, and it's no wonder! Placed on a rocky spur, these ramparts were built in the 17th century to protect the town and the surrounding hills. This military masterpiece was the work of Vauban, the illustrious engineer and architect of the Sun King, no less!
You have to be there to fully appreciate what an architectural feat it was. At the top, there are many ways to understand why this heritage site is so unique:
- the rampart walk, for the stunning views over Besançon. From up here you can appreciate the town's outstanding strategic location.
- the free mobile app, "Macitadelle", an interactive pocket guide, perfect for getting your bearings across this immense site that covers many hectares!
- the multimedia display, a 15-minute immersion for a journey like no other into the site's fascinating history.
- the Vauban centre where you'll find tablets and touch-activated models
- the walkabout led by an actor for a lively approach to history
In the 17th century, up to 1,000 builders worked on this monument which took 8 years to complete. The cost was so stupendous that Louis XIV wondered if the fortress walls had been built of gold…
The citadel's other treasure is its wildlife! Indeed, it is home to 6 animal parks! The children won't know where to start, between:
- The zoo to see birds, primates and much more
- The aquarium which has received an impressive facelift and features a touch-pool full of koi
- The noctarium for a peek at some small nocturnal mammals
- The insectarium which boasts over 80 different insect species ranging from harmless ants to the scary tarantula.
- Not forgetting the naturalium which has a key role to play in introducing young children to the notion of biodiversity.
The former exhibits a wealth of everyday objects from the olden days in Franche-Comté. Don't miss the superb puppet collection.
The latter is currently closed for renovation work. The reworked museum will open again in 2022 with a totally new layout.
Organise your stay in Besançon
If you're planning to spend an afternoon at the Citadel, why not take the opportunity to stay in Besançon? Prolong your escape and treat yourself to a whole weekend exploring the town!