35 Culture Fort l'Ecluse, Leaz

Guardian of the Pays de Gex, Fort l’Ecluse is one of only three remaining examples of French mountain fortifications from the first half of the 19th Century. An underground staircase of 1165 steps links the lower and the upper halves of the fort. Special activities, exhibitions and large screen video presentations help make your visit a memorable one. A unique and unforgettable site!
A via ferrata (rock climbing path) starts at the parking lot at the fort. It is free and available to all with adequate equipment. Level : quite difficult.

In the heart of the Gex transversal valley, the site of Fort l'Ecluse is a natural, strategic passage between the Jura and the Alps since Roman times.
Constructed at the place of a 13th century fortified dwelling, Fort l'Ecluse has always played the role of a border. When it became French in 1601, the Royal engineers enlarged and reinforced the buildings. At the beginning of the 19th century, the fort dug directly in the rockbed was restructured in 2 phases to accommodate a strengthened fortification.


By road : motorway A40 Mâcon-Geneva : exit n°10 Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. motorway A39 : exit n°7 Poligny, then RN5 direction Gex and Bellegarde. motorway N1 (Switzerland) : exit Meyrin/St Genis Pouilly and then direction Bellegarde.

Prices, packages

Individual rates :
- Adults: 6 €
- Children 6 to 16 years: 4.50 €
- Student fee and job seeker (with identification): 4.50 € 
- Family price (2 adults and 2 children minimum): 17 €
- Twin visit Fort l'Ecluse + château de Voltaire: 10 €
- Annual card adults: 10 €
- Annual card reduced rates: 7 €
Free :
- Children under 6 years

Rates for groups of at least 20 people:
- Adults: 5.50 €
- Children: 4.00 €

Dates of availabilities

Every summer day from 10:00 to 18:30
Because of the important work in the fort, no visit can be organized until spring 2019.

Proposed visits and duration


Free visit : 1h30 to 2h30

Movie in computer graphics (duration: 15min, in French and English)
Six witnesses of time will make you relive the main historical and architectural stages of Fort l'Ecluse thanks to computer-generated images.

Spoken languages

French, English

Description of services and / or proposed infrastructure

Sales of beverages, books on and around the fort. 

Around the fort : 
Sentiers de randonnée 
Via ferrata freely accessible with special equipment
Parcours aventure au fort supérieur

Some informations:
- The interior spaces of Fort l'Ecluse are inaccessible to persons in unaccompanied wheelchairs. LOutdoor spaces are difficult to practice for people in wheelchairs.
- The tour circuit has many stairs of different shapes and sizes.
- Access to the tour is prohibited for pets, except guide dogs and service dogs. 
- The toilets are only accessible to people with a ticket.


To discover