The Arras’ Citadel was built under the plans of Vauban between 1668 and 1672 and on the order of king Louis XIV (1661-1715). The aim of the citadel was to protect the city from the attacks (Spanish troops coming from the Netherlands) but was rapidly nicknamed “the beautiful useless” because of its position hardly strategic. It was built near the stream ‘le Crinchon’, which was used to flood its ditches and to water the horses of the army.
The citadel also houses the oldest chapel of the city: the chapel Saint Louis that dates from the XVII century. The chapel was classified as Historical Monument in 1920.
The citadel was classified as part of the “World Inheritance of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2008.
The firing squad wall is an important place of the Arras citadel. 218 opponents to the war from different nationalities were shot between August 1941 and July 1944. On the wall, the visitors can read the names of the victims, which are inscribed on 218 plaques.