The presidents of the Fifth Republic and the fort
General de Gaulle only spent a single night (and a very unpleasant one at that, due to mosquitos and the bed being too small) at the Fort de Bregançon, on the occasion of the commemoration of Operation Dragoon in August 1964. While he didn't much appreciate the fort, he accorded it the status of presidential residence in 1968, mainly to receive foreign heads of State in the south (which was not possible in any prefecture previously) and especially Mediterranean guests in the tense political context of decolonization. Pierre-Jean Guth, an architect in the French Navy and winner of the Prix de Rome, transformed the fort into a pleasant residence, while respecting what remained of the ancient fortress.
Georges Pompidou, who was fond of the site, opened its doors to the media and brought them into the private presidential areas. He made Bregançon the residence of the presidents of the Fifth Republic, just as the Château de Vizille was for the presidents of the Fourth Republic. He brought in artists and designers such as Pierre Paulin to refurbish the furnishings.
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing liked the Fort de Bregançon and followed on in his predecessors footsteps, staying there on several occasions. He revived the fort with the image of a young president, and stayed there with his family.
François Mitterrand, however, did not particularly like the fort. Nevertheless, starting in 1986, he stayed there for work meetings: he received the SNCF strikers in early 1987 and two foreign heads of State the Irish Prime Minister Garret Fitzgerald and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Jacques Chirac particularly appreciated the fort because of its location in the Var département where he lived as a child. In addition, by spending time at the fort, he followed in the footsteps of his mentor: Georges Pompidou. Furthermore, his wife Bernadette also appreciated the region and became the Chairwoman of the Corso Fleuri festival in Bormes-les-Mimosas. On 16 August 2004, the President received Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Nicolas Sarkozy spent time at the fort, and received Condoleezza Rice, a specialist in soviet Russia, during the handling of the Russo-Georgian conflict in August 2008.
François Hollande felt no particular attachment to the Fort de Bregançon, which is why he ended its status as presidential residence and opened the site to the public, assigning its management to the Centre of National Monuments.
Emmanuel Macron, while leaving the fort open to the French people, decided to reinstate it regularly as a residence, especially during summer trips, when he relaxes with his family while also organizing work meetings, such as the visit of British Prime Minister Theresa May in August 2018; Russian President Vladimir Putin in August 2019 on the eve of the G7 in Biarritz, and Chancellor Angela Merkel in summer 2020.