Fort Saint-Andre - Sarah Woodbury

Fort Saint-Andre

For Saint-Andre is located in the south of France on the opposite side of the Rhone River from Avignon. The fort is a medieval fortress built by Phillipe le Bel, the King of France.

In the Middle Ages, Avignon was a border city and not part of the Kingdom of France. Although Philippe had ceded control of Avignon to his cousin, Charles of Naples in 1292, he wanted to maintain control of the Rhone River, so he was granted permission by monks who’d built a monastery on a bluff opposite Avignon to build a fortress around their monastery. Once the Pope officially moved the papal state to Avignon, the fortress acted as a visible reminder of the power of Philippe, should the papacy make decisions unfavorable to the French crown. Philippe also built a tower at the end of the bridge to guard and control access to the north side of the Rhone.

The fort is very much intact to this day, as is the monastery, with towers, curtain walls, and buildings within it dating to the fourteenth century. Of special interest are the masons’ marks, used by the men who built the fortress to mark the stones they worked and finished so they could be paid for their work.

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