Sébastien Le Prestre, Marquis de Vauban, 1633–1707

Alsace, France; 1698–1712

Vauban was Louis XIV’s principal military engineer, and he was responsible for fortifications around the perimeter of France, consolidating the sense of the nation as a stronghold. His base was the chateau at Bazoches in Burgundy, from which he had a distant view of the Basilica of the Madeleine at Vézelay (pages 130–31), and from this central location he sent out instructions to the borders in every direction. He was buried in the little church at Bazoches, but Napoleon found him such an inspiration that he had his corpse exhumed. Vauban’s heart is now in ...

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