Fort l’Écluse is a fortress near Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. It guards the Rhône valley between the Vuache hills and the Jura Mountains and is a natural entrance into France from Geneva. The fort was founded by the Duchy of Savoy in the 13th century and, after it was ceded to France along with the Pays de Gex during the reign of Louis XIV, completed by Vauban. It was destroyed by the Austrians in 1815, but was rebuilt by the French and considerably strengthened and heightened. The fort is open to visitors during summer.
Above, the fort seen from Rocher de Léaz. It has 2 parts: A lower fort, whose buildings can be visited, and an upper fort, which can be accessed from the lower fort through stairs in an underground gallery. A road from Longeray can also be used to get to the outside of the upper fort.
Above, Porte de France (France Gate) at the lower fort. This is the main entrance for visitors. The courtyard can be entered freely but a ticket is needed to enter the buildings and the underground gallery to the upper fort.
Above, start of the visit.
Above, photo exhibition.
Above, exhibition about bats. The fort is a good habitat for them.
Above, a lot of butterflies.
Above, terrace with a good view.
Above, Rhône and Viaduc de Longeray.
Above, looking towards Geneva.
Above, Rocher de Léaz and Viaduc de Longeray.
Above, Salève in the background.
Above, lizard tail.
Above, in the underground gallery to the upper fort. There are many steps to the top (almost 1,000).
Above, Rhône and Pays de Gex.
Above, first outdoor terrace, almost at the top.
Above, artificial beehives.
Above, at the upper fort. A few rooms with no view are open.
Above, on the way down.
Above, the gallery took many years to build. The year of construction is engraved on a wall in each floor.
Above, back at the lower fort, visiting the barracks built in the cliff.
Above, exhibition of sculptures by Yvon Raisin.
Above, back at the courtyard of the lower fort.
Above, train tracks to Geneva.
Above, Porte de Genève (Geneva Gate).
Above, upper fort seen from the road to Léaz.
Above, outside the upper fort, coming from Longeray.
Above, view of the Fort and Grand Crêt d’Eau from Rocher de Léaz.