In 1549, King Henri II was well intent on taking on the pirates once and for all. He sent the duke François de Rohan to Belle-île to erect a fortresse fit for the kingdom of France. Later on, Nicolas Fouquet improved the defense systems. In 1683, Vauban, a skilled engineer, transformed it to the star-shapped plan that you see today. For many years, the citadel served as a prison.
During WWII, the Germans took it over. At the end of these hostilities, the citadel was stripped of its military vocation before being abandoned.
The citadel has been privately owned since 1960. Today, the magnificently restored site keeps in store a multitude of surprises : bastions, bunkers, a museum that tells the history of Belle-île-en-Mer and regularly hosts temporay exhibitions. The Vauban citadel is also a hotel with a restaurant.
Open every day in April, May, June, September and october : 9.30am-6.00pm.
July and Agust: 9.00am-7.00pm. November to March : 9.30am-5.00pm.