Fort Risban Avenue Raymond Poincaré
Risban is one of the forts dating from the end
of the 16th century, its role was to defend
access to Calais harbour.
Long time strategic part of the defence of Calais, fort Risban since the last world war is now no more than a ruin.
Fort Risban was besieged by the English in November 1346 when they chose to take possession of Calais after their victory at Crécy. Once in control of the area the English restored the fort and made important changes, such as creation of the Tower of Lancaster built in 1405, under Henry VIII. The fort is surrounded by dunes and the sea, the inside is divided in two by a door accommodating pillboxes.
The fort became French again in January 1558 thanks to the Duc de Guise.
Less than forty years later the fort became at the heart of a new war and became Spanish for two years, until the treaty of Vervins in May 1598. The fort attracted the attention of Vauban at the time of his journeys to Calais in 1675 and 1689. He described it more as "a home for owls, and place to hold the Sabbath" than a fortification. Due to a lack of financial means, he made very modest changes. Fort Risban is therefore far from being a Vauban fort.
The tower of Lancaster served as a gunpowder depot for ships anxious to enter the harbour. In 1799 the fort suffered grave damage due to an explosion in the gunpowder depot, the tunnels, a chapel and a flap of the surrounding wall were destroyed.
The fort served as a shelter for the population of Calais in World War II and recovered its aspect of yesteryear.
It has now a peaceful role as a nautical base for everyone.