Emmanuel the First of Savoie decides in 1597 to erect a Fort into French
territories, on the hill of Barraux. Edification is under the responsibility
of the engineer Ercole Negro from Piedmont.
To upset the
French Constable Lesdiguières who is a Huguenot, the Duke names the
stronghold Fort Saint Barthélémy! (On August 24th, 1972, day of St
Barthélémy, French King Charles the Nineth ordered all protestants in
Paris to be slaughtered. 3000 died).
trees from the nearby forest of Servette that made a natural border line
between France and Savoie are chopped down to be used during the
construction. Stones come from a quarry above Barraux but also from the
castles of Bellecombe and La Buissière
that were abandoned 25 years ago.
The King of
France was quite angered that Lesdiguières left his enemy build a fortress
on his own land. But his answer was quite clever:
"Sire, the location chosen to build the fort is excellent. But
taking into account the status of the finance of the kingdom, it would be
better that your cousin the Duke of Savoie be charged for the expenses. When
it will almost be completed and prior to be garrisoned, I'll take it."
Which is exactly
what he did during the night of March 15, 1598!
drawing by Ercole Negro
(Click to full size)