A STARTEGIC ROLE. Commissioned in the late 13th century by Philip the Fair but only built in 1360 under John the Good, the fort stood at the frontier with the Holy Roman Empire and near the papal residence in Avignon. A SYMBOL OF ROYAL POWER. The fort had a permanent garrison, a court of justice and a prison, with graffiti by prisoners from the 18th and 19th centuries. Its strategic significance, however, declined in 1480 when Provence became part of France. Soldiers continued to occupy the site until 1792.
Rue Montée du Fort
30400 Villeneuve lez Avignon
The imposing Fort Saint André (Saint André Fortress), remarkable for its state of preservation, sits atop the Mount Andaon, a rocky outcrop rising up 50 metres above the floodplain of the Rhône. The site was already occupied by the Benedictine Abbey and former village of Saint-André when construction of the fort began in the 12th century. Around 1292, the king Philippe le Bel set about assuring the defence against Avignon of this bastion of the French realm and the main trade routes that he controlled. But it was during the 13th century, with the establishment of the Holy See in Avignon and then the founding by the pope of the Chartreuse de Val-de-Bénédiction in 1356 at the foot of the fort, that the site became a veritable military fortress, 750 metres long with a curtain wall, crenellations, machicolations, towers and two portcullises, a garrison, a prison, gatehouse and chapel.
From Avignon on the other side of the Rhône and from even farther away, you can clearly see the fort standing proudly. But it is only once you are there that you can fully appreciate the strategic position of this fort dominating the Rhône Valley. From the top of its parapet walk, you can observe the Popes' Palace across the way, the bridge of Avignon, which spanned the entire river at the time, the Philippe Le Bel Tower also standing guard, the Chartreuse monastery in the village below, the Saint-André Abbey encompassed within the fort's defensive walls and the entire surrounding countryside.
You can walk amongst the vestiges of the old medieval village and the chapel, visit the fort's buildings and rooms that have remained intact and learn about the aspects of military life from the Middle Ages up to the French Revolution.
Open every day
January 2 to May 31 and October 1 to December 31: 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
June 1 to September 30: 10 am to 6 pm
Last admission 45 min before closing
Closed on January 1st, May 1st, November 1st and 11th, December 25th.
Thematic of the place
Musuems and monuments, Vaucluse Provence Pass, Avignon City Pass