Marseille, France

Fort St. Nicholas, Marseille, France

Fort St Nicholas stands on high ground overlooking the entrance to Marseille Old Port – directly across from Fort St. Jean. A wooden fence was once built between the two sides of the Port (before either Fort was created) but this proved completely useless when King Alfonso V of Aragon attacked Marseille in 1423 and three days of looting left the town in ruin.

It wasn’t until 1660 that Louis XIV of France had enough of the chaos in Marseille and ordered the construction of two Forts on either side of the Port Entrance. It took just three years to complete Fort St. Nicholas, which is a very large and extensive structure, easily dwarfing Fort St. Jean.

In 1790 the people of Marseille decided to remove the fortress as a hated symbol of despotism, but they only succeeded in destroying part of the eastern end before the National Assembly asked them to cease. Some rebuilding was done in 1883 although this work is inferior and is now in poor state.

Parts of the Fort are open to visit, but some is still in military hands.

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