Fort L'Ecluse, Leaz

4.3
#7 of 17 in Historic Sites in Ain
The Fort l'Écluse is close to the village of Collonges, Ain in Eastern France. It commands the Rhone valley and is a natural entrance into France from Switzerland between the Vuache hills and the Jura Mountains.The fort was founded by a Duke of Savoy, and completed by Vauban in the reign of Louis XIV. It was destroyed by the Austrians in 1815, but was rebuilt by the French, and at the same time considerably strengthened and heightened. The high-road intersects a portion of this fortification.Description and constructionThe lower fort, near the level of the Rhône, was rebuilt between 1816 and 1828. The route national 84 passed through the fort until 1939 when it was relocated to a tunnel through the rock behind the fort, defended by a casemate in the tunnel built as part of the Maginot Line fortification program. The casemate was intended to receive 47mm anti-tank guns, but was never equipped. It is linked to the lower fort by a tunnel. The Fort l'Écluse was the largest component of the otherwise weakly fortified Defensive Sector of the Rhône.The upper fort is 200m above the lower fort. Its location allows the upper fort to control the valley, including the railroad viaduct, and to protect the lower fort. It was built between 1834 and 1848. Today, the lower fort and the subterranean steps and casemates cut into the rock above it, up to and including terraces just below the upper fort, are open during the summer months for visiting, however the upper fort is not currently safe for visitors. Furthermore, a moderately difficult via ferrata exists which takes climbers from the lower fort to the upper fort by traversing the rocky hillside. In addition, there are many hiking trails in the area which allow hikers access to the upper fort.
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Fort L'Ecluse Reviews
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  • Alexandre Dumas quotes it in "Of d'Artagnan in the Alps" is then a cross border between France and Savoy. Today, this Fortin at two levels, carved in the limestone of the mountain is operated in different ways. The simplest, visit it from inside the 830 steps which singent him. The most difficult practice via ferrata on the outside. You will also discover a colony of bats is uncommon in Europe or a free jazz festival. A nice Bistro and a beautiful view on the Rhone, Geneva and the region. Go buy apples at Chevrier face-to-face. Or visit the Valserine at Bellegarde. Or still the barrage of Genissiat when we empty. Offer short very extraordinary visits.
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  • Although it was not at all well explained, it is a magnificent work that must not fail to see. I was impressed as they could build similar fortification in the 17TH century. I was sorry that he was not better explained and that is only limited to give a brochure which at that time one cannot reach read accordingly. It is worth a ride to see it. But they should try to make more illustrative the visit. The view from the first terrace is priceless. We not agreed to the strong upper since it is much risk. They are more than 1165 steps of a staircase in rock and inhabited by many bats. (there are more than 22 species of bats that reproduce, passing, and Hibernate.
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  • A real fortress with its history and its heritage from the first wars until World War II must see
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  • Absolutely fantastic place. Plan minimum 2 hours as climbing the upper fort is not an eye blink. Views unforgettable. A must to see while being around.
  • Great museum. Bring your old, forgotten French knowledge!
  • Great museum, fantastic view to Savoie. Very interesting and educational, guide keep it nice and clean. DO recommend to take the smaller road and visit
  • Amazing place, great view.
  • The Via Ferrata is just a short and easy drive from Geneva. When you go through the tunnel turn left immediately. There is a parking. From there you have a five minute walk to the base of the Via Ferrata. The via ferrata is a pleasant and easy via for those with experience. There are two or three moments when novices may be afraid. At these points be patient and courteous with them. Offer them a drink and snack to recover some energy before moving on. Go with an experienced individual. People have been trapped on this via ferrata so do not underestimate it.

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