VAUBAN-STYLE RAMPARTS …
a century beforVauban !
The name Navarrenx, or Sponda Navarensi in Latin, means “the edge of the Navarre”.
Obviously, this town was coveted by neighbours both near and far. Henri II d’Albret even compared it to “a flea fought over by two apes”, in reference to the kings of France and Spain, both of whom had their eye on it.
Navarrenx has been fortified since the 14th century, but it was only in 1538, under Henri II d’Albret, grandfather of Henri IV of France, that construction began on the imposing ramparts. 1.7 km long, 10m high, reckoned to be impenetrable and even revolutionary, these walls were the work of one Fabricio Siciliano, an Italian architect. But the layout might just remind you of something else … the fortified cities by France’s famous military architect, Vauban.
Well, here’s the scoop: Navarrenx was a precursor, a Vauban-style fortress-city 100 years ahead of its time.