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Must see

Immersive multimedia show
Saint-Etienne Chapel


Plunging you into the past, this multimedia show takes you back through time and space to experience landmark moments in the history of Besançon and its Citadel. As the story progresses the different episodes of a fascinating history are unfolded one by one, from the time of Julius Caesar, continuing through the Middle Ages, then under the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and finally the 17th century in the turbulent reign of Louis XIV. It recounts the glory years of Vauban and the building of the Citadel before making way for contemporary history with is darkest days.

The Saint Etienne Chapel, built right inside the fortress, has been entirely refurbished to house this immersive system which entirely surrounds the viewer with sound and image. The walls, choir and vault are turned into immense screens onto which images which counter one another or work together are projected as the show progresses, becoming life-size scenes in which assailants and defenders, viewpoints of the interior and the exterior, the powerful and the people, marshals and soldiers are revealed as they confront one another.

The show lasts around fifteen minutes and provides keys to understanding the fortress, helping visitors explore its history.

Rampart walks

Chemins-de-rondeMeasuring almost 600 metres long, 5 to 6 metres wide and 15 to 20 metres high, the Citadel's two rampart walks have unique views over the town of Besançon and its outstanding natural setting. In addition to the green hills and the meander of the Doubs, don't forget to survey the remarkably well-restored architectural heritage of the building and its various components. On either side of the main walls, the King's and Queen's Towers dominate the site and are the starting point for your exploration of the rampart walks.




Espace Vauban (Vauban Centre)

Four exhibition rooms explore the life and times of Vauban and other important figures and places including Louis XIV, Versailles and Molière. Exhibits retrace the two French conquests of Franche-Comté, the construction of the Citadel and how young aristocratic soldiers in service to the King (the Cadets du Roi) lived here. This journey through time continues with an animated film on the construction and history of the Citadel, "Au coeur d’une Citadelle" (In the Heart of a Citadel). This 10-minute film uses computer-generated images and is broadcast repeatedly throughout the day, complementing the text, illustrations and objects exhibited.