The Citadelle, Besancon

4.4
#1 of 168 in Things to do in Doubs
Well preserved since its construction in 1668, The Citadelle is the most visited monument in the region, in part because architect Vauban's masterpiece now houses three large museums and the Vauban center. Fortifications on 11 hectares (27 acres) are more than 100 m (328 ft) above the old city at the River Doubs' loop. Encircled by ramparts, the site has many walkways you can access with watchtowers, turrets, and walls that rise up to 20 m (65 ft) and are 6 m (20 ft) thick. You can stroll the rampart walks for spectacular views of the old town, the river, and surrounding hills.

Audio tours in English are available for the Museum of Resistance and Deportation and the Vauban Center. A discovery tour in English describes the citadel, and an actor-led tour in French allows you to discover the citadel with a local dressed up in period costume. If you prefer a self-guided tour, a free booklet with a map and a discovery booklet for 7-11-year-old children are available at the welcome center. You can dine at the on-site restaurant or your choice of two snack bars.

The Museum of Resistance and Deportation fills twenty rooms on two floors with photographs, texts, original documents, and military equipment related to World War II. During the occupation, a firing squad shot a hundred French resistance fighters at this location--making this is a poignant place for the museum and the outdoor memorial. Many documents are frail and not available to the public, but you can access 160 works of Léon Delarbre and Jean Daligault using the interactive terminal in room 15.

The Museum of Natural History has more animal species than any other zoo in France. Six areas include the zoo, small farm, aquarium, insectarium, noctarium, and the evolution trail. The noctarium reverses day and night so that you can watch nocturnal animals, and the zoo holds two endangered species of big cats, the Asian lion and the Siberian Tiger, 20 species of primates, and 30 species of exotic birds. Not only will you be entertained by these collections, you will also discover the museum's three objectives: research, education, and conservation of endangered animal species.

The Musée Comtois focuses on the cultural and heritage identity through its 16 showrooms on three levels, describing the art and popular traditions of Franche-Comté inhabitants' daily life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Four main themes for you to explore include regional food, entertainment, thought, and work. The museum also has a large photographic collection of regional ethnography and a scale model of the entire citadel.

Vauban Center (Espace Vauban) explores the life and work of military architect Vauban, as well as important places and people including Louis XIV and Molière. Four exhibits describe Vauban, the wars for control of the Franche-Comté, and the musketeers at the citadel. A 10-minanimated film takes you on a journey through the 30-year construction of the 17th century citadel. To visit The Citadelle on your holiday in Besancon, and find out what else Besancon has to offer, use our Besancon trip planner.
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The Citadelle Reviews
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  • nice place, lots of things to see, tour, zoo, museums, a good restaurant, a movie and walk to all see... count the day and good legs!
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  • Or the genius of a man... And its purpose beyond a fortress dedicated to the war. Its optimization in PEACETIME, in a city that is a credit to FRANCE. Decidedly, the FRANCHE-COMTÉ has not finished surprising us...
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  • The ride in the Citadel is one of the main attractions of Besançon. Between comtois Museum and Zoological Park, walk on the ramparts with beautiful views. To do with friends or family
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Google
  • Great place to use a day there. Visited the place with a 3 and a 4 year old. We used 4,5 hour there and didnt even get to see it all. There tons of things to do for people of all ages. Animals, history and a great view. My kids couldnt handle more than 4 hours there, but with a nap, we could have used all day there. If you come when they open there are paid parking close by or you can park and walk or take the bus from sealevel in the city.
  • 10.50euro for adults and 7 euro for 4year old kid. A little bit pricy
  • Really an amazing place..may be u can hangout in evenings with beers at the top there is place to sit and have a nice view of the city...!!
  • Was really nice! Big, open and interesting. Lots of animals and creatures and things to do. The Aquarium and insectarium are great! I actually left my phone on a bench and only realised 40 mins later. A member of staff had found it and taken it to the reception where I could pick it up so was very happy about that!
  • Very interesting but be helpful to have more elements in other languages

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