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Fortified towns

Le Quesnoy: Fortress city

A town created in the twelfth century around the residence of the Count of Hainaut, Le Quesnoy was developed between 1533 and 1547 by Charles V. Taken by the French in 1654, the military architect Sébastien de Vauban turned it into a stronghold of eight bastions placed in the middle of large bodies of water. An advanced post, and the Fauroeulx fort completed the work in 1749.


The enclosure was upgraded the nineteenth century and the entire site has survived intact in its natural setting.


Tourist Office
1 rue du Maréchal Joffre
Tél: 03 27 20 54 70 -


The greenery, nature and stone fortifications of Maubeuge are perfect place to take a walk, and are testament to the genius of Vauban. There's also an attractive zoo, which occupies a bastion and part of the old moat.

Dating from the late seventeenth century, these fortifications are highly significant in the history of the town. Sentinel of the Pré Carré, the walled cities of Hainaut, it was commissioned by Louis XIV from the military the engineer Vauban. Today, three quarters of the wall remain. The last quarter on the right bank of the Sambre was dismantled after the Second World War, the materials being used to extend the city centre


From the zoo, past the ponds and lakes, via the Porte de Mons, the Falize stronghold and the site known as the "Vivier," a walk through the fortifications of Maubeuge is a moment of discovery assured, at once bucolic and historic, a riot of greenery where, in places, nature has completely retaken possession of its territory...

Tourist Office
Porte de Mons - Place Vauban
Tel: +33 (0)3 27 62 11 93 - Fax: +33 (0)3 27 64 10 -


Avesnes first appears in local records in 1080, as an enclosed village, located between towers built on the cliff edge, overlooking the Helpe, by its earliest known lords, Wédric Le Barbu et Thierry.

Avesnes became one of the main strongholds of Charles the Fifth. From the 1540s, the bastion fortifications, built under the direction of Jacoppo Seghizzi and the underground rooms of the Bastion de la Reyn form the lowest, and oldest part. The fortifications were continuously expanded, culminating in the Bastion Saint Jean completed in 1659.

The town returned to France in 1659, followed by a peaceful period during which Pont des Dames, the Town Hall and many grand houses were built in the shelter of Vauban's fortifications. .

The Restoration saw the creation of the Bastion Saint Louis, which includes storage areas for use as ordinance bunkers. Starting in 1873, a large part of the stonework was dismantled, however most of the walls remain intact.


Tourist Office
41, place du Général Leclerc
59440 Avesnes sur Helpe
Tel: +33 (0)3 27 56 57 20 -
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