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Fort L'Ecluse, Leaz

4.3
#6 of 13 in Sightseeing in Ain
Historic Site Landmark
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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58 reviews
Google
4.3
  • We enjoyed our visit here. It was a very hot day and there was lots of climbing to do, but thankfully it was nice and cool inside the fort. It's a former fort and checkpoint near on the French/Swiss b...  more »
  • We visited here as we were stuck for something to do one day. After a quick look through a guide book, we came across this and decided to give it a shot. I am already a history buff and love castles.....  more »
  • This is a really interesting fort with reasonably priced entrance fees, with plenty to see, and some great scenic views. I would not recommend visiting if you struggle with climbing stairs as there ar...  more »
Google
  • 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, 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.
  • Cool