The citadel of Château-d’Oléron is a military structure built from 1630 to 1704 to protect the southern part of the island of Oléron. It is one of the main historical monuments of the town of Château-d’Oléron, in the department of Charente-Maritime, in southwestern France.
The citadel succeeds an old fortified castle that fell into disuse at the start of the seventeenth century. Built on the order of Cardinal Richelieu from 1630, it was later modernized by Marshal Vauban and became one of the key elements of the defence system of the Atlantic coast. It remained for a long time one of the places of training and embarkation for the soldiers leaving for New France.
Transformed into a prison during the Terror, then again in 1870, it was classified as a historical monument in 1929. Occupied by the Germans in 1940, it was damaged following a bombardment on 17 April 1945.
The fortifications of Château d’Oléron are in surprisingly good condition despite the pointless destruction of some parts of the citadel in April 1945 by the French Airforces (the chapel, the barracks, the bastioned front and demi lune facing the fishing harbour).
The citadel was indeed intact before this unfortunate air raid and is in continued process to be restored thanks to the actions of passionate persons and association. The access to the town fortifications and the citadel are free.
Since 2014, the route of the citadel has been dotted with historical figures sculpted by Alain Nouraud.
GPS coordinates: 45° 53′ 09″ N, 1° 11′ 41″ E