Breil-sur-Roya’s remains of the fortification system

The remains of the castle and the tower of La Cruella are located on the rocky ridge overlooking the village.
The remains of the ramparts follow the Roya and end at Genoa Gate, east of the village.

Period 1380 – 1600

Accessibility No

Visitable Yes

The establishment of the village of Breil in a meander of the Roya is part of the feudal regional society of the tenth-eleventh centuries. The village stands on a site surrounded by the river and two cliffs.

The Cruella watchtower overlooks the entire site with a wide view of the surroundings.

The castle situated on a slope of the ridge overlooked the village below the tower. In the oldest part of the village, the remains of a first medieval enclosure are visible.

A later rampart, flanked by towers, skirted the Roya river. In places, this rampart wall served as a foundation for the facades of houses. Part of the rampart still exists between the village and the Genoa gate (southeast).

Three fortified gates controlled access to the site. The Turin Gate, near the Upper Bridge, the Nice Gate south-west of the village near the Lower Bridge and the Genoa Gate, east of the village.

The Genoa Gate (Historical Monument) is the only one of the three gates of the village that remained in a configuration that dates from the 15th or 16th century on a probably older base. The nearby Saint-Antoine l’Ermite chapel (Historical Monument) is also the only one of the three remaining chapels of the village.

Conditions of visit

The various remains of the fortification system are accessible from the village of Breil. The whole site is visible from afar, from the right bank of the Roya river.
Access by the communal trails, limited by the nature of the locally steep course. Access to Genoa Gate quite easy.
Open to visitors


Additional information


  • Botton Charles, Histoire de Breil et des Breillois, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1996.
  • Ungar Catherine, Etude archéologique : Porte de Gènes Breil-sur-Roya (Alpes-Maritimes), Direction des Antiquités Régionales PACA, Juin 1989.
  • Ungar Catherine et Allemand Denis, Trois exemples de fortifications dans la vallée de la Roya : Breil, Piène-Haute, Malamorte (Saorge), Actes des Ve journées d’histoire régionale, Mouans-Sartoux, 1987.
  • Magazine, Le Haut-Pays, Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, n°s 8 (1986), 24 (1992), 53 (2002).