Jean Cocteau (1889 - 1963) was a poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmaker. He often visited Menton in the 1950s, and in painted the salle des mariages (wedding room) in the Town Hall in 1958. He was quite taken with this small 17th century bastion and had it restored. He created a small museum there; it was inaugurated as a museum in his honour three years after he died.
The bastion was built in 1619 by Honoré II, Prince of Monaco, to defend the bay of Menton.
Belgian-born American collector Severin Wunderman decided to donate part of his art collection, which includes many by Cocteau, to Menton. The local council undertook to build a suitable museum, which is under construction now, at the foot of the old town, by the water, and near the bastion.. It includes also a collection on Sarah bernhardt and the theatre as well as modern paintings by artists such as Modigliani and Miro.