Set high up on its anticline, Besançon Citadel occupies a total of 11 hectares. It could easily have contained a town of 10,000 inhabitants.
The fortress is one of Vauban’s masterpieces, and it is said that its construction was so costly that Louis XIV enquired as to whether the walls had been made out of gold. The Citadel has a dual heritage. The first is that of its initial vocation as a defensive fortress, brilliantly designed and built, which had very few opportunities to show its steel in military situations.
The Citadel then turned to displaying the heritage and history that had been bequeathed to it, and which it is now so proud to present to visitors. The Citadel, which is the leading tourist attraction in Franche-Comté in terms of visitor numbers, and was voted “Tourist Site of the Year” by the Ministry of Tourism in 2003, has become the pride and joy of the people of Besançon.