Henri Layet, the visionary mayor
who rescued the ramparts
Henri Layet (1824-1899), the visionary mayor who rescued the ramparts of Saint-Paul de Vence
When the County of Nice became part of France in 1860, the stronghold of Saint-Paul de Vence in turn became strategically redundant and was officially decommissioned in 1870.
Keen to avoid an inevitable future demolition of the ramparts, Henri Layet stepped up his pleas to the relevant authorities requesting that the sale be cancelled and began negotiating a transfer of the fortifications to the Commune.
Henri Layet's persistence certainly paid off and on the 27th March 1873 a Ministerial decree allowed the Commune of Saint-Paul to purchase the bastioned fortifications for the princely sum of 400 Francs.
As mayor, Henri Layet was a visionary and also a trailblazer in terms of preserving cultural heritage, at a time when many town councils were eager to get rid of ramparts, which were then considered to be a hindrance to urban development.