Fort de Bregancon: The rich history of the fort where May and Macron will meet

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Theresa May is to cut short her holiday to meet French president Emmanuel Macron for Brexit talks at his summer retreat, Fort de Bregancon.

Perched 35 metres above sea level on a small island off the French Mediterranean coast, the fortress has been the official retreat of the president of France since 1968.

But the history of Fort de Bregancon stretches back centuries – with the site even attracting the attention of Napoleon Bonaparte.

According to the president’s official website, Napoleon became interested in the fort shortly after taking nearby Toulon during the French Revolution in 1793.

Making it his mission to repair and improve it, he endowed it with an imposing artillery.

It remained a military fortress throughout the First World War, and was occupied by a small garrison, before being decommissioned in 1919.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte stayed at the fort (National Maritime Museum/PA)

It passed to the state’s possession in 1963, and was visited by Charles de Gaulle the following year when he presided over the 20th anniversary of the Allied landings in Provence.

According to reports, de Gaulle was not a fan of the fort and left after a single night.

Since then, the spectacular hideaway has been visited by every French president as a private escape from the demands of the day job.

It is not immune to the prying eyes of the paparazzi however, with former presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande all snapped at the fort.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that current president Macron had ordered a swimming pool to be built in the grounds.

The fort is said to be accessible by just one road, and comes with its own beach.

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