Fort BreganconFort Bregancon
©Fort Bregancon|Cabanel.J

The Fort of Brégançon

On the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Fort de Brégançon became the official holiday resort of the President of the French Republic in the 20th century.

An exceptional site, occupied since Antiquity

Cap de Brégançon has been occupied since ancient times. The Ligurians took advantage of the dominant position offered by the steep coast to establish an oppidum. The site later became home to a trading post founded by Greek merchants under the name of Pergantion.

In the early Middle Ages, the Merovingians built their first fortress to watch over the coast. The castle changed hands several times before becoming a royal fortress at the same time as the County of Provence. In 1483, Jean de Baudricourt had a new citadel built on the current islet. Besieged in 1524, it held out for only a few days before being taken by Emperor Charles V.

Fort de Brégançon underwent major restoration work in the 17th century, on the initiative of Cardinal de Richelieu. It became state property during the Revolution and was restored by Napoleon Bonaparte, who turned it into a fortress to defend the coastline of southern France. In the 1920s, it was leased to a wealthy industrialist, who undertook major modernisation work, including running water, electricity and the construction of a sea wall.

General de Gaulle visited the fort in August 1964, to commemorate the Provence landings. The fort was refurbished and permanently transformed into a holiday resort for the President of the Republic and his family. The architect Pierre Jean Guth was entrusted with the refurbishment and modernisation.


A holiday destination for the presidents of the Fifth Republic

General de Gaulle spent one and only night at the Fort de Brégançon, and he didn’t have the best of memories of it: the fault of a bed that was too small and too many mosquitoes!

Georges Pompidou was particularly fond of the place, and stayed there more regularly. He changed some of the furnishings with the help of well-known designers such as Pierre Paulin, and invited the media to share the intimacy of his daily life with his family.

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is also a regular visitor to Fort de Brégançon, where he spends pleasant holidays with his family.

François Mitterrand used the fort on several occasions as a venue for meetings and performances. Its more intimate and less formal setting is conducive to quality exchanges. In particular, the President invited the heads of state of Ireland and Germany.

Jacques Chirac, who lived in the Var as a child, is reconnecting with his roots by spending his holidays at the Fort de Brégançon. He invited Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to stay there.

The Fort de Brégançon also means relaxation for Nicolas Sarkozy. He received foreign dignitaries there, including Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State under the Bush administration.

François Hollande turned his back on the site, opening it to the public and entrusting its management to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.

Emmanuel Macron revived the tradition established by Georges Pompidou, and regularly visited Fort de Brégançon with his family. The official residence also plays a major diplomatic role, hosting visits from foreign heads of state: British Prime Minister Theresa May, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have all been invited.

A visit to Fort de Brégançon

The official residence of the Presidents of the Fifth Republic, the Fort de Brégançon is also open to the public. Guided group tours (maximum 20 people) are available all year round on request. Contact the Bormes-les-Mimosas Tourist Office to find out about the conditions and organise a visit for your group.

The site opens its doors to visitors during the Heritage Days. The Fort de Brégançon is so fascinating and attracts such large crowds that you can expect a big turnout.

You can also admire the Fort de Brégançon from out at sea, during a walk. Several service providers offer excursions from nearby seaside resorts.