Just before we crossed the Alps we passed this amazing place. I thought I recognised it from a film – the one with Oliver Reed and the elephant going over the Alps in wartime – Hannibal of the Alps I think ( does anyone know this?!). It's Le Fort de Tournoux
Anyway we turned round in order to explore. Something we do quite a lot! And it turns out that this was well worth it!
It seems that what we see today is the remnants of the German occupation of this area of France where they took over and added to an old castle/fortress built into the rock of the mountain. This complex of buildings behind the van date from the wartime and part of them house a contemporary art exhibition. This was closed, but we rather liked the impromptu art exhibition provided by graffiti artists!!
I spotted this painting on a wall inside one of the buildings. I think it dates from the war and could be a military division badge or something.
After exploring the buildings at the base of the mountain we decided that we had to climb to the fort at the top! Talk about mad dogs and Englishmen… this took us from about 11.30 am til about 2.30 pm - the hottest part of a very hot day!! Poor Willow was staggering as we walked back towards the ‘van! She doesn’t have Hamish’s stamina.
You can just make out the stairway tunnel - a series of openings/windows slanting down through the rock in this picture - under the topmost building on the right hand side.
We reached a wooden bridge ( which most likely was a drawbridge in the original building) but the gate was padlocked. The archway still contained some of the mechanism for raising a portcullis!
These are some shots of the van (the wee white dot in the centre) from the fort which prove we did it!
And the wee turret !
This was a gate that leads to the stairway through the mountain – locked too unfortunately!