An emblematic military building that has become a television set, Fort Boyard is threatened by climatic hazards and must be the subject of work estimated at 44 million euros by 2028, the Charente department announced on Friday April 19. Maritime, which is launching a public consultation.

Planted in the Atlantic Ocean, between the island of Oléron and the island of Aix, this 19th century monument is “destined to ruin” due to a lack of protection against the onslaught of the waves, the community argues in a press release. , owner of the site since 1989. “Studies (…) conclude that Fort Boyard will inevitably ruin if works intended to ensure its protection from currents and swell are not built,” we can read .

The work, planned from 2025 to the end of 2027-beginning of 2028, consists of rebuilding certain protective structures existing in the past, with concrete resuming the appearance of the original granite: a spur at the front of the building, a haven of docking, a berm (protective embankment)… At the end of the project, the fort should become “accessible” to the public, specifies Sylvie Marcilly, president of the department, in a video broadcast by the community.

Subsidy requests and call for patrons in the fall

The forecast budget amounts to 36 million euros excluding taxes and the departmental council voted for an authorization of up to 44 million euros for this work, entrusted to a group coordinated by ETPO (Spie Batignolles). Subsidy requests “are in progress” from the State, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and the European Union. A call for patrons will be launched in fall 2024.

The community presented its preliminary consultation on Friday, entitled “Save Fort Boyard”, with registers open to the public from May to September. An educational exhibition was also set up.

Built between 1803 and 1857, a former military structure that became a prison, Fort Boyard fell into disrepair before being listed as a historic monument. Bought in 1988 by Jacques Antoine, producer of television games, it was sold the following year to the department for a symbolic franc, with the latter responsible for ensuring its maintenance.

The show “Fort Boyard”, launched in 1990 in France, was broadcast in around forty countries and over 1,500 episodes, making the building a tourist attraction. All year round, sea trips take thousands of people to admire the oval silhouette of the 68 by 31 meter monument, which can only be approached by boat or helicopter.