Fort de Fermont - Fermont - France

Address: Fort de Fermont (near Longuyon) (See map)
Telephone: +33 (0)3-82393534

Shop: small shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2003
Overall rating:

Description: Looking back, the construction of the Maginot Line was a complete waste of money, resources and manpower. The Germans simply 'walked around it' in 1940 and smashed through the northern border of France via Belgium, screwing up the entire defence system of the French army in the process. Nevertheless, the massive structures of the Maginot Line still are an impressive sight, and visiting one will make you understand why the French thought they were completely safe in 1940.

The Fort de Fermont is a good choice if you want to visit one of the 50-odd forts that made up the Maginot Line. The fort is stretched out over an area of 27 ha, comprising 2 kilometres of corridors and galleries. A tour will take you from the underground living-quarters, power plant and ammunition magazines all the way up to the defence systems and retractable turrets at the surface (complete with a nice demonstration of the rising, turning and retracting of one of the turrets). A nice feature of the visit is the ride on an authentic train, which was used to transport the soldiers over the great distances from one part of the huge underground complex to another.

In addition to the tour inside and around the fort, you have the possibility to look around in a separate hall in front of the entrance of the fort, containing some vehicles and various guns used in fortified structures.

You might like to check out Fort Schoenenbourg (another Maginot fort we visited) as well.

Jeep used by the French army.

Part of the collection of artillery-pieces used in fortifications.

Main entrance of the fort, protected by two gun-turrets and three machinegun emplacements.

Authentic train-carriage in use as a refreshments-stall.

One of the many galleries accessable by train.

The layout of the fort is explained with some maps at the start of the tour.

Communications room.

Soldiers at work at the ammunition depot.

A look at the interior part of one of the massive guns.

The tour took us also to outside parts of the fort, allowing a closer peek at the different defence systems.