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!