titre accueil site
> Arras
About this site

In Vauban’s "Pré Carré"

In 1659, the town of Arrras came under the authority of the King of France for good and was incorporated into Vauban’s "pré carré", a double line of fortified towns built to protect the north-eastern border of the kingdom. The citadel was one of Vauban’s first constructions and took two years to build, from 1668 to 1670. It was set at the confluence of two streams so that the surrounding areas could be flooded in case of attack. This pentagon-shaped citadel, built around a rectangular courtyard, forms the finest example of a citadel on the plain according to Vauban’s first system. The buildings, constructed to an orthogonal plan, bear witness to the meeting between the classical architecture of the “Grand Siecle” and local traditional brick and stone decoration. However, the citadel soon became known as “the useless beauty” as it was not located in a good strategic position but set too far back from the border.

Today, the area around the citadel forms a green belt at the gates of the historic town and is changing into a proper city park. The Arras City Council now owns the citadel and plans to make it a true district of the town.

title contact

Town of Arras
Hôtel de ville
Place Guy Mollet
BP 913
62 022 Arras Cedex
Tél :+33 (0)3 21 50 50 50