Discover a military enclosure whose reconversion has been a great success. It was a serious challenge... But Marcel Petite, who acquired the fort some 50 years ago, immediately saw the building's enormous potential. After the tour, why not visit a local distillery where you can taste absinthe? Or, if it's the great outdoors you're in search of, head for Saint-Point Lake or the Resort of Métabief!
The many lives of Fort Saint-Antoine
In the heart of the Jura Mountains, between Métabief and Saint-Point Lake, Fort Saint-Antoine has had an eventful past.
This stone giant was originally built to protect the French-Swiss border, following the defeat of the French army in 1870. It took less than 3 years to build (1879-1882) following the principle of the Séré de Rivières system, which replaced the typical "bastions" designed by Vauban).
Unfortunately, like most other French forts of its kind, it was delisted and abandoned during the interwar years.
The fortress would inevitably have fallen into ruin had it not been for Marcel Petite who had other plans for it... For the last 50 years, the fort has been home to enormous maturing cellars where the exceptional conditions are perfect for ripening Comté cheese!
An extraordinary building
To build Fort Saint-Antoine in barely 3 years was an extraordinary feat that required extraordinary means. No less than 600 masons, 600 stonecutters and 3,200 soldiers were mobilised to construct the fortress which was to monitor the border between France and Switzerland.
The Marcel Petite maturing cellar
To make an outstanding Comté requires outstanding conditions in terms of temperature, humidity, luminosity, etc.
With its thick walls, tunnels and 1,100-metre elevation, Fort Saint-Antoine provides all the right conditions for its star product. Which is why over a million wheels of comté have ripened here since the site was converted into a maturing cellar by Marcel Petite.
Nearby activities and tours
Below Fort Saint-Antoine, you'll find Saint-Point Lake. Well-known to local residents, this lake has everything you could possibly need for a pleasant, refreshing break.Saint-Point Lake
Besides Comté cheese, other local specialities include a whole range of wines and spirits that are well worth discovering. Among them, absinthe is an icon! Its reputation and unique taste make this beverage a must-try during your visit! (But in moderation of course.)
Saint-Point Lake is on one side of the fort and, on the other, you'll find the ski resort of Métabief. Whatever the time of year, there's always something to do here. In winter you can go skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, or even take a ride on a dog sled!Station de Métabief