The building of “Fort Boyard” submerged by the storm Gérard

The building of “Fort Boyard” submerged by the storm Gérard

The strong depression that hit the north and west of France at the start of the week did not spare the fortification nestled in the middle of the Pertuis d’Antioche between the islands of Aix and Oléron.

Since the end of its construction in the middle of the 19th century, them Fort Boyard weathered many storms. Abandoned in 1913 and the victim of numerous malicious acts, the building deteriorated sharply until it was bought by Jacques Antoine in 1988 and its renovation undertaken by the General Council of Charente-Maritime. In the meantime, this monument which has become cult thanks to the game ” Fort Boyard “ broadcast since 1990 on the second channel (Antenne 2 then France 2) has lost its harbor on one side and its breakwater on the other. Since the disappearance of this protective device, the northern tip of the fort is at the mercy of the whims of the sea, receiving the full force of the waves and the strong currents going from the open Atlantic Ocean towards the coast.

Last Monday, as storm Gérard swept across western France with gusts of wind up to 150 km/hthe photographer Xavier Léoty immortalized the impact of the swell on Fort Boyard by settling east of the island of Oléron. “The spray gives this impression of height, compared to the lookout, but the waves are quite big, they cover the wall. You can also see the water flowing immediately after along the parapet »did he testify to our colleagues from South West . On a brief video, we can clearly see the water penetrating inside the building after the impact of a big wave. If the images taken are of great beauty, these climatic phenomena are not without consequences on the fort whose granite and limestone facades deteriorate over time.

Start of work in 2025

For two years, the Charente-Maritime Departmental Council is actively seeking funding to begin an important work of renovation and protection of Fort Boyard. “The idea is to recreate the breakwater spur in order to break the dynamics of the swell“, explained its president Sylvie Marcilly to South West. The construction site in question will not begin before 2025 and will extend until 2027 or 2028 – climatic constraints and filming only making work possible between June and September – with an estimated budget of 30 million euros. On one side, a swell protection wall almost ten meters high will be rebuilt and, on the other, a kind of small mooring port. “These new structures will be designed for a hundred-year durability”assures our colleagues Mathieu Barbier, deputy director of the service of the sea of ​​the Departmental Council.

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