Best time to visit France

Fort Boyard in France

The famous French fort built by Napoleon is now used for filming shows

Best time: May-October (year round)

Fort Boyard
Fort Boyard
Fort Boyard

It was Louis XIV who first proposed the idea to build a fort in the middle of Bay of Biscay to strengthen the French defence. However, this bold idea was realized by Napoleon 150 years later. Located between Île-d’Aix and Île d’Oléron, Fort Boyard was intended to block the Strait of Antioch on the west coast of France. The construction started in 1801 and was completed in 1857.

Fort Boyard is 20 m high, 60 m long and 30 m wide. In 1988, the abandoned fortress was restored for filming the adventure game show “Fort Boyard.” The show was extremely popular in the 90s. You must be a contestant on the show to visit the island, as Fort Boyard is closed to the general public.

However, you can book a cruise to see Fort Boyard from the sea. You can go by motorboat, sailboat, catamaran, stand up paddle, or kayak. Another option is a helicopter tour that gives you a better view of the Fort courtyard. Most tours start from Fouras-les-Bains, Port-des-Barques or Rochefort. You may stop on the Aix Island for some time or just cruise around Fort Boyard. During sunset, it looks especially beautiful. Cruises run all year round but summer offers better weather and calmer sea.

Practical info

When is the best time of year to visit Fort Boyard in France?

To experience the best weather conditions, it is recommended to visit Fort Boyard between May and October. The fortress cruises are available year-round, but the sea and weather conditions are better suited for tourists during the summer months. It is not recommended to visit the fortress during winter, as the winds and sea currents can get quite strong. Show more

Where is Fort Boyard located and how do I get there?

Fort Boyard is situated amidst the Bay of Biscay, between the islands of Île-d’Aix and Île d’Oléron, located in the west coast of France. To get there, start at Fouras-les-Bains, Port-des-Barques, or Rochefort and take the cruise around the fortress. One can also opt for the helicopter tour to catch a bird's eye view of the fort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Fort Boyard is off-limits to the public and one cannot visit there directly. Show more

What is the history of Fort Boyard and what was its original use?

Fort Boyard was built between 1801 and 1857 by Napoleon to reinforce the French defense. It was constructed to obstruct the Strait of Antioch situated in the west coast of France. The building features classic military fortification architecture utilized during the same period. The fortress served as a military fortification until 1913 before being abandoned for a considerable period. The fort was only restored in 1988 and made into the set for the popular show 'Fort Boyard.' Show more

Can the general public visit Fort Boyard or is it only accessible to contestants of the show?

Fort Boyard is exclusively accessible to the show's participants and closed to the general public. One can only take a cruise around the fort to relish the sight of the fortress from the sea. For an enhanced perspective of the Fort courtyard, visitors can fly over the area with helicopter tours available for booking. Show more

What types of cruises are available to see Fort Boyard and where do they depart from?

To get a glimpse of Fort Boyard, several cruising options are available, ranging from motorboat, sailboat, catamaran, stand-up paddle or kayak. If starting from fouras-les-bains, Port-des-Barques, or Rochefort, visitors can select from various tours that accommodate stoppage at the Aix island or cruising around the Fort Boyard with sunset tours providing an exceptionally alluring display of the fortress. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin