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.