At the Renaissance area, Ardres is the northernmost citadel of the kingdom of France. Further north, Calais is in the hands of the English, and to the south-west Saint-Omer belongs to the Spaniards. Rivalries between the different kingdoms quickly lead François the First to the necessity to defences of the city.
Ardres insured its defense thanks to several garrisons of soldiers who had to be accommodated, entertained and fed. The storage and preservation of wheat became a major concern, hence the construction of these grain silos in the sixteenth century.
An exceptional site
Built by militaries, “Poires” are galleries and silos that can hold up to 1000 tons of wheat! In case of siege, these reserves would thus supply 500 people for 1 year.
The architecture of this place is particularly specialised for the time with 3 levels, galleries and air vents… They take their name (“pears”) from their particular shape. This site, truly unique, is ranked as historical monument.
With the Royal Bastion, “poires” constitute one of the most astonishing and interesting sites in the surroundings.
Located below the esplanade of Maréchal Leclerc, the underground granaries can be visited only with a guide. Several guided tours are organized during the year by the Cultural and Historical Association of Ardres (ACHA), especially during the summer and during the weekend of the Local Heritage Days.
For groups of more than 10 people, it is possible to formulate a specific request outside these dates by directly emailing the association.
For more information: http://asso.nordnet.fr/acha/