Fort Boyard will open to the public in 2028 after major works

Fort Boyard, which hosts the television show, will benefit from essential work. This will begin in the summer of 2025, with a planned opening to the public in 2028. The cost of 44 million euros will be largely financed by the department of Charente-Maritime, which owns the site. “We also have the support of the State. We obviously hope to have the support of Europe and the Region”indicates the management of the department. Thanks to the international notoriety of the show “Fort Boyard” a fundraising campaign was launched in addition to departmental funding. “There will be sponsorship, which will be organized, which will participate in the financing of this large-scale work.” announces Sylvie Marcilly, president of the Charente-Maritime Departmental Council. The work, the budget for which has been validated by the Departmental Council, will be entrusted to the ETPO real estate group.

The work project aims to save the fort, which is threatened with disappearance in the medium term. The objective is to rebuild the missing protective structures to protect the building from the assaults of the ocean. A new swell protection spur will be built on the north-west face and the missing landing stage will be faithfully reconstructed. These two structures, now missing, existed when the fort was inaugurated in 1866. The new landing stage will ensure access and safety by means of stairs that will facilitate passenger access. A “small port” will also be built on the southeast face to accommodate visitors. “This work is historic since it involves reconstructing the protection system as it was originally imagined when the construction was carried out.”specifies Sylvie Marcilly.

The community has started a preliminary public consultation “Let’s Save Fort Boyard” open to the public from May to September. Under the same title “Let’s Save Fort Boyard” an exhibition was held in the Atrium of the Maison de la Charente-Maritime (La Rochelle) in May 2024. The exhibition retraced in an ante-chronological manner how the building, listed as a historic monument, had deteriorated over time. A public meeting will be held in September 2024.

Climatic hazards have taken their toll on the fort located in the middle of the ocean between the island of Oléron and the island of Aix. The 4,000 m2 building has suffered significant damage: weakening and cracking of the masonry, attack on the consolidation works by the swell and weakening of the existing accesses. The protective spur and the berthing port, elements protecting the building from the swell, have been destroyed over time. Numerous cracks have also appeared. The deterioration of the fort is due to two reasons: high exposure to the swell and a probable underestimation of the pressures on the structure during the initial design.

Filming of the legendary “Fort Boyard” shows will continue during the work. The occupation of the fort is currently being renegotiated, with a rent expected to be around 100,000 euros per year (70,000 today) according to France Blue La Rochelle.

Once the construction is completed, the public will be able to visit the monument. Today only visible from a boat or a helicopter, the fort had never been open to the public. The site does not want to target mass tourism: “Our ambition is to make it accessible to the public, under certain conditions. It will be small gauges, it remains an exceptional visit to this stone vessel”explains Sylvie Marcilly. Accessibility will be ensured by cruise shuttles. Entrance will be charged, the exact price of the entrance ticket has not yet been determined.

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