Le Fort de Condé...

© Sedecs/Terroirs-of-France/ M. Durman

...impressive but obsolete

The Fort de Condé is today the remains of an impressive work of military architecture. After the defeat of 1870, France lost its territories of Alsace and Lorraine, and its frontiers with Germany hence became defenceless.


Général Séré des Rivières designed a plan of fortifications with an objective to create a defensive barrier in order to prevent all enemy offensives, to mobilize the troupes in case of attacks and if need be to serve as bases to conquer the lost territories.

In 1874 he had the funds and the go ahead to construct and realize his concept. The idea was to strengthen the defence of Paris by belts of forts in the north and the east.

© Sedecs/Terroirs-of-France/ M. Durman

The Fort de Condé is just one of the 166 forts constructed by the corps of engineers under Séré des Rivières during the period between 1874 and 1885.

Situated in l'Aisne, which is a region halfway between Paris and the Belgian border, the Fort de Condé is located between the 2 towns of Laon and Soissons.


This partially buried fort is nowadays listed as "inventaire supplémentaire des monuments historiques" (additional inventory of historical monuments). The works started in 1877 and by the time the fort was constructed in 1882, its use had become obsolete with the arrival of a new type of explosive, the melinite.

© Sedecs/Terroirs-of-France/ M. Durman

With its 17 galleries, its large ditches, its many protected passageways- the Caponiers, and their Embrasures (small openings in a wall or parapet, which allows guns to be fired from cover), its Casemate (vaulted chamber set into the walls usually with an embrasure), and the ammunition storages, the Fort de Condé  just served as a garrison for the 67th infantry regiment. In 1914 it was taken over by the Germans who used it as a military hospital until April 1917.

After being abandoned for many years, today the fort is a tourist attraction.

As part of many walking and biking circuits, the site offers its visitors guided tours lasting 1.30 hrs, a taste of history and war, an impressive architecture, a panoramic view on the valleys of Aisne and Vesle, a picnic area and an arboretum.


© Sedecs/Terroirs-of-France/ M. Durman

Opening hours:

15th-30th April and 1st-14th November Daily, 9.30 am to 12 am and 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
Guided tours at 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm.

May-June Daily, 9.30 am to 12 am and 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm (5.30 pm on Sunday). Guided tours at 10 am, 2 pm, 3 pm (Saturday and Sunday), 4 pm, 5 pm (Sunday)

July-August Daily, 9.30 am to 12 am and 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm (7.30 pm on Sunday). Guided tours at 10 am, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm.
Extra tours on Sunday at 2.30 pm, 3.30 pm, 4.30 pm and 5.30 pm. Special opening on Saturday 9.30 pm to midnight (guided tour at 10pm) 

September-October Daily, 9.30 am to 12 am and 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm Guided tours at 10 am, 2 pm, 3 pm (Saturday and Sunday), 4 pm


© Sedecs/Terroirs-of-France/ M. Durman

Closed on 1st May and over Christmas and the New Year. 


Adults : 4,00 €
Children (10 to 18 years) : 2.00 €
Children under 10 : No charge

We would like to thank Mr Leleu, and Mrs Gülsen Ozkan for their hospitality and the information provided. We would also like to thank the CDT of Aisne.