Fort L'Écluse
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Fort L'Écluse

Fort L'Écluse
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Historic SitesPoints of Interest & Landmarks
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About
Built on the mountain side, the lower section was reinforced during the 17th and the 18th centuries by a surrounding wall. A round tower was added (Porte de France), as well as a fortified place that leads to another access (Porte de Genève). The terrace on the top of Porte de France tower offers an exceptional view overlooking the Rhône Valley. To protect the top section of the fort from an attack coming from the mountain, buildings were constructed in the middle or the 19th century. New living quarters were therefore available. 1165 steps cut in the rock form an underground staircase which connects the two forts. Several artillery bunkers complete the fort’s defences. Fort l’Ecluse is an official conservation site and nowadays the remains of several centuries of military constructions can be seen with its towers, look out turrets, loopholes, watchtowers, casemates and ammunition stores. Your visit to Fort l’Ecluse will be a perfect opportunity to discover the way of life if 150 m
Duration: 2-3 hours
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles112 reviews
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A_Kiwi_Girl
Te Anau, New Zealand15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Solo
An excellent day trip option from Geneva. I left at 11:30am and was back by 5pm and took my time about it. I caught the TER from Gare de Geneve to Bellegarde and then the bus to LEAZ Longeray, from there it is a 10 minute walk along the road side to the entry. Lovely friendly staff, I enjoyed the art displays and information about the fort’s history. With normal entry you don’t get right to the top, but still an excellent view and a cool sense of achievement from walking up at the stairs! There is a picnic area and also some food available to purchase. There are other walks in the area that look beautiful too if you had a full day to explore.
Written 9 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mono K
12 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023
This is somewhat disappointing. The place is great, and commands a gorgeous view over the Rhône. It is also very instructive to visit, if only to realise how such redoubts were built and designed. Now, if you don’t recoil before the 800+ stairs to climb up to the upper part, be my guest.

The upper part stricto sensu is now dedicated to a 'parcours aventure', which is a French name to designate abseiling, zip lining and so forth. Needs of course special equipment. You have been warned! :)

The lower part, which is where you’re welcomed, is quite interesting but very badly exploited. Architecturally speaking, it is extremely interesting, with a mix of external buildings and dug-out halls. However, for some reason, while you would expect the rooms to describe, or recreate, parts of the military life that took place here until around 1960, you get something totally different: uninteresting modern art installations lost in darkness, and a scientific exhibition about thunder — I mean, fine, but what's the connection with a military redoubt?

In other words, it’s quite a middling experience. It could be worse, but it definitely could be better (unless you've come from sport).
Written 2 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HiPro101
Cardiff, UK272 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
Well worth stopping here for a visit and saw more castle and climbed more stairs (800) than anticipated....but so so worth the stunning scenery and views of the Rhône and the Jura region, soaked in whilst absorbing the history of the structure around you. It is also amazing, the work that it must have taken to build

The staff here are really helpful and seemed proud of what they do.

For wheelchairs there is access to the areas in the bottom fort.

Greatly enjoyed the visit.
Written 16 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paradise555836
Weimar, Germany34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Family
Very interesting castle and a witness if French Swiss military history. The place was already now by Julius Cesar and later was a fortification. But the most amazing thing (and quite strenuous, too!) is the walk in the rock up the 800 steps to reach the upper castle. We never saw anything alike. The views are great on the Rhône river until the MontBlanc.
Written 10 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andy C
12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Family
If you just wish to visit the fort itself then of course you can. And it's lovely, my 2 boys and I ended the day sat in the courtyard and watching the Jazz Festival. It was divine. But that wasn't what drew us to the place.

The main attraction for us is up the side of the mountain, just left of the entrance, a breathtaking Via Ferrata route (free) which is really quite challenging in places. My youngest (aged 10 at the time) struggled a little bit in a couple of places but my eldest (12) appears to have part monkey genes and helped him over the difficult sections, hanging on with one hand while I filmed it all from the back :-) It was fantastic to see the pair of them working so well together and not squabbling and arguing as is so often the case. It almost bought a tear to my eye. I should stress that you need climbing helmets, harnesses, gloves and all important via ferrata shock absorbing lanyards (NOT regular cows tails) to undertake this activity and probably some experience too as it is definitely more than a beginners route.

The views out over the Rhone valley, all the way up, are just breathtaking. The jade green water of the river below doesn't even look real.

At the top you get to another magnificent fort structure and this has been fitted with yet more Via Ferrata activities including zip lines. This bit you do have to book and pay for and I believe equipment is provided so is probably better suited to those who want to try it out for the first time rather than going it alone.You can of course get to the top fort section via a steep path, you don't have to take the Via Ferrata route up the side of the cliff.

All in all, a gem of a location, we are going back there as the first stop on our 2018 French Road trip in a few weeks time!
Written 6 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pascal F
Le Rouret, France276 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Couples
Fortifications above the Rhone river. Very well preserved, this historical fort has 2 main places linked with a tunnel of 830 steps! Worth the trip and the views. During summer many activities for families and a jazz festival every week-end. Free entrance. If you are up for a thrill, there is a zipline (accrobranches) activity possible on top, enjoy the views hanging up in the air (very secure, don't worry)
Written 28 May 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jemma M
7 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2018 • Family
Well worth a visit. Spectacular views. We went on a really bad day. If it would have been a good day and open for a tour it would have been a lot better
Written 18 March 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FreddyNeitsche
Geneva, Switzerland146 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Couples
I have lived in the region for many years and never took the opportunity to visit the Fort and I am glad that I now have.

It is definitely worth taking the time to go. We picnicked whilst we were there, there are a couple of tables near the parking.

The Fort itself is very interesting, there is a lot of history and it is very well kept.

We didn't climb to the top but undoubtedly we will go back and climb the gallery...

Don't miss it ..
Written 7 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mostlyharmless
Singapore, Singapore1,243 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
We were looking for somewhere to visit that wasn't too far from Ferney-Voltaire and Geneva, and I chanced upon this listing in Tripadvisor. About 30 mins drive from Ferney-Voltaire, once you enter the D1206, the scenery alters dramatically with hills towering over you on both sides. Fort Ecluse is signposted from the D1206 but mystifying disappears once you exit the 1st road tunnel on D1206, only later does it become clear that the entrance is immediately a sharp left once you exit the tunnel. It's far easier to approach Fort Ecluse from Longeray. Entrance to the lower fort is 5 Euro, which gives you a map and brochure (all in French, sadly), and unlimited access to the lower fort. The various rooms of the lower fort were housing miscellaneous exhibitions, and vaguely interesting, but the real attraction (to us) of the fort were the 1,165 steps leading to the upper fort through an unrelenting series of subterranean passages. Be prepared: the climb is unyielding and intense for your normal "townie", although there are flights to rest (and the occasional chair, even, to catch your breath). It was a scorchingly hot day (32C) but the tunnels were cool, so this was some relief. The views from the two battlements are breathtaking: looking north-east and south-west gives you a sense of accomplishment that lasts you well beyond your aching thighs. The very last flight of steps ends at a locked grill, as the upper fort is not open to visitors, but there is the consolation of a stamp to prove that you endured the travails of the stairs. Highly recommended.
Written 26 June 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elizabeth L
Cambridge, UK144 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2016 • Couples
We enjoyed our visit here. It was a very hot day and there was lots of climbing to do, but thankfully it was nice and cool inside the fort.

It's a former fort and checkpoint near on the French/Swiss border. There is a lower fort connected by over 1,000 steps to the upper fort. The lower fort is open to explore. The upper fort is, sadly, not safe to be open to the public.

There is a 5 euro charge per adult to enter and you receive an information leaflet (all in French) and then there are info panels with some sections in English. Some interesting art and an exhibition about the local area too. Near the lower fort there is a small theatre with a film about the place which may or may not include an English option - I'm afraid we didn't see it.

It was fascinating to spend time in the fort and to explore and think about people who had been there in the past. And the views over the valley are amazing - there is a river and several forests and a railway line, and many views over Switzerland beyond.

And a special stamp at the locked gate at the top to prove you reached the top!

It advises to allow 30 minutes to ascend (I think, might have been 45) and 15 to descend. We are fairly fit thirty somethings and we found this a bit ambitious! Plus you want to stop and enjoy the views.
Written 7 September 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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FORT L'ÉCLUSE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Fort L'Écluse

Fort L'Écluse is open:
  • Sat - Sun 10:30 - 18:30



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