Fort Vaux is one of the ring of nineteen forts built on high ground to protect the city of Verdun. Construction took place in the early 1880s.
In World War I the fort fell to the Germans in the Battle of Verdun in June 1916. The fort itself was not breached and the garrison of around 150 held out in their subterranean quarters. They eventually surrendered only when they ran out of food, water and ammunition.
Fort Vaux was recaptured by the French in November 1916, after which further underground extensions were built to increase its resilience. Today the underground galleries are well preserved and can be visited, original features include an unusual underground pigeon loft, used for the carriage of messages. A small museum also operates on site.