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Le Fort du Mont Alban, near Nice

Hillside fort from the 16th century with an exceptional panorama

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This 16th century hilltop fort was built in 1557 and is almost perfectly preserved, it looks out over the coastline of the French Riviera all the way to the Italian border. Mont Alban is located in the east of Nice in the Mont Boron National Park area, with Nice on one side and Villefranche-sur-Mer on the other - you can hike up to the fort from either town. The castle was built on the orders of the Duke of Savoy in response to the siege of Nice; when you get up there you’ll understand why he chose this spot - the view in all directions couldn’t be any better.

The scale of the scenery up here is just breathtaking; looking out from the front of the castle you can see the peninsula of Cap Ferrat jutting out to your far left with the bay of Villefranche-Sur-Mer curving round below the cliffs, just a few strides to the other side of the castle and the city of Nice unfolds beneath you. The fabulous views of the coastline stretch from Cap d’Antibes in the west all the way to Bordighera (Italy) in the east and on a clear day you can just about make out Corsica in the distance.

The condition of the fort is really very impressive - we’re not talking about a ruin here, it is a fully intact building where you can literally walk up the steps to the massive wooden front-door (although you are advised not to stand on the drawbridge). Look up to the turrets and you’ll see the sun glinting off the beautiful coloured tiles that overlap like fish scales, then stroll all around the fort to see the towers and crenellations.

Getting Here

Directions

Access to Fort Alban is via the number 14 bus from Nice (Massena/Guitry bus stop, behind Galeries Lafayettes).

When to come

Unfortunately at the moment, visitors can’t enter Fort du Mont Alban without prior arrangement. The Centre de Patrimonie organise tours every day except Wednesdays for 5€ per person, for which you must book in advance. However, plans are apparently afoot to turn it into a contemporary art gallery, so maybe one day soon we’ll be able to stroll up there and check out the view from the battlements?

Reviews

Visitor comments

  • "This medieval military fort was an enjoyable stop for us. The views are spectacular all around so be sure to bring a camera. The views are soothing and quiet and you will feel like you want to linger for a while. You will see many miles away and other countries as well. There is a lot of hiking so a picnic would be a good plan. The fort is free to enter and you will enjoy your time here." - Trip Advisor
  • "This is the best spot we found that overlooks the beautiful town of Villefranche sur Mer. The views of the harbour are also very nice and the fact that this is a old fort is pretty cool. A must do while in the town." - Trip Advisor
  • "The Fort can not be visited but the area is exceptional. First, the view is remarkable, you can see Monaco and Italy on one side and Nice, Esterel, Alps on the other one.You can jog, play petanque and what not.. And if lucky, you may see Elton Jones who has a house on your way to the Fort" - Trip Advisor

Contact

  • Address
  • Chemin du Fort du Mont Alban - 06032

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