At a hundred paces from the gates of Calais, d’Artagnan’s horse gave out, and could not by any means be made to get up again, the blood flowing from his eyes and his nose. There still remained Planchet’s horse; but he stopped short and could not be made to move a step.
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers, 1844
Above the main gate of Calais, D’Artagnan could have read the following inscription: “When shall the Frenchmen Calais win, When iron and lead like cork shall swim”. Funny proclamation since the British had given Calais back to the French before D’Artagnan’s alleged visit.
In May 1632, Louis XIII and the cardinal of Richelieu spent some time in Calais, after having received information about a secret plot aiming to sell the city back to England. They made plans to transform the entire city into a fortress and added a great military port to it. But, Richelieu only achieved a fraction of his original plan mainly because France’s finances were weakened by the attempts to recover the Duchy of Lorraine.
In 1658, Louis XIV hires Vauban who renovates the walls of Calais, including the Citadelle, Fort Nieuley, and Fort Risban in the north/east, all of them are still in existence today.