Fort l’Ecluse



Impressive and imposing: a strategic control tower, fine example of audacious military architecture typical of centuries past. Over 1,000 steps link the two parts of the fortress, which towers high above the Rhone Valley like a sleeping sentinel.

A stronghold of history and adventure

Fort l’Écluse was built in the 13th century on the sheer cliff face of the Grand Crêt d’Eau, one of the highest summits of the Montagnes du Jura at 1,621m/5,318ft. A strategic passageway between the Kingdom of France and Savoy, the Rhone Gorge was the focus of many conflicts over the centuries. Fort l’Écluse was consequently designed to challenge even the most tenacious of invaders. With watchtowers, bunkers and munition chambers, the fort is an unscrupulous labyrinth, now preserved in a protected area of over 1,800 hectares.

Relieved from duty in 1956, the fort’s legacy lives on today through tourism and adventure. Every summer, the fortress comes alive with a busy cultural agenda of concerts, plays and exhibitions – and of course with the Défi du Fort Challenge, a race against the clock to the very top, with an ascent of 760m and up the 1,000 steps linking the lower and the upper forts!


Practical information

Opening hours

From 03/06 to 11/06/2023
Opening hours on Saturday and Sunday between 10.30 am and 6.30 pm.

From 17/06 to 17/09/2023
Opening hours daily between 10.30 am and 6.30 pm.


From 03/06 to 11/06/2023
Full price: 6 €
Reduced price: 4.50 €
Group adults: 5.50 €
Group children: 4 €.

From 17/06 to 17/09/2023
Full price: 6 €
Reduced price: 4.50 €
Group adults: 5.50 €
Group children: 4 €.

Group rate available for > 20 people.


  • Picnic area
  • Lift
  • Car park

Payment methods

  • Bank/credit card


  • Children's entertainment

Languages spoken


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“Excellent Fort”

“We visited here as we were stuck for something to do one day. […] The fort is a way out of town on the main road easily accessible by car with free car park but no local transit to my knowledge. Approx. 30mins from Geneva.
There are 2 forts here, a lower one and upper one. Both offer great views and history. The upper one however requires a lot and I mean a lot of climbing stairs. Worth it however. The lower fort courtyard and entrances are free to look around but to enter it go higher it was around €5.
The fort itself was in excellent condition, the steps were good quality if you do decide to walk up. There are a few art galleries and info signs dotted about with information in French, English and German I think.
We spent around 2-3 hours there altogether so can be a nice day out, there are also several viewpoints around the valley as well to get views of the fort but one of them is a bit sketchy at the side of the main road with vehicles flying round the corners…. I would fully recommend a visit. ☺” – Reviewed 4th September 2016 by Bilizaed

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