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Ile d'Aix

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Island of Aix,the two lighthouses

Island of Aix

to discover

Fouras

Fort-Boyard

Rochefort

To see, north to south

The "Marais Poitevin"

La Rochelle

Island of Ré

Island of Aix

Fouras

Rochefort

Madame Island

Island of Oléron

Marennes

Brouage

Ronce-les-Bains

La Tremblade

Mornac-sur-Seudre

La Palmyre

Saint-Palais-sur-Mer

Vaux-sur-Mer

Royan

Saint-Georges-de-
Didonne

Meschers

Talmont

Mortagne-sur-Gironde

Blaye

To do

Cycling

Boat trips

Sailing

Golf

Riding

Jogging

The market

Thalassotherapy

Drives through the vineyards

Drives through the marshes

Drives through the forest

Walks

To know

The Romanesque Art

Rochefort

The Citadel of Brouage

The Citadel of Blaye

The lighthouses

The forest of La Coubre

The marshes

The "Marais Poitevin"

The carrelets

The ostreiculture

Vine and wines

To taste

Wines

Cognac

Pineau

Oysters

Mussels

Sea food

"Terroir" products

The restaurants

 
 

 

The island of Aix, guaranteed disorientation...

If you stay in the region, plan to spend a day on the island of Aix, the last true island of Charente-Maritime

The island of Oléron and the island of Ré are connected to the mainland by bridges and the Madam island is accessible by car at low tide.

Island of Aix, aerial view

Island of Aix

(photo Michel Le Collen)

Take the ferry which crosses from Fouras to the village situated in the South of the island to the island of Aix.

You can leave your car at Fouras or in the secure car park at the Pointe de la Fumée.

Island of Aix, map of the archipelago

There are also regular boat services during the season and these also go to Aix from the island of Oléron, Boyardville, the island of Ré and La Rochelle.

The island of Aix is now so popular and attracting so many tourists each year, that the associations which protect the island are becoming concerned about the situation.

With less than 200 permanent inhabitants, the population reaches several thousands during the summer due to second homes, holiday rentals and tourists who cross to spend a day there.

In the heart of the Charentais Archipelago

On the island of Aix, you are in the centre of a circular panoramic view.

Clockwise, you will see first of all the Madam island, then the island of Oléron, followed by Fort Boyard, Pertuis d' Antioche, the island of Ré, the bridge of the island of Ré, La Pallice, La Rochelle, the coast, the peninsula of the Pointe de la Fumée, Fort Enet, Fouras, Fort Vauban and the estuary of the Charente.

Island of Aix, the "Pierre Loto" ferry

We like... the crossing

he crossing between Fouras, from the jetty of the Pointe de la Fumée to the island of Aix takes half an hour.

The crossings by the ferry "Pierre Loti" run regularly all year long.

The ferry carries some commercial vehicles, but it quickly becomes evident that one is entering a world practically without cars.

The travellers with their suitcases on wheels, the residents of the island with their small, two-wheel trailers

going shopping on the mainland, the bicycles, the groups of day tourists, make boarding the ferry a lively and picturesque experience.

Island of Aix, Austerlitz square

Ile d'Aix,  Austerlitz square.

... ways of transportation, on foot, cycling, by carriage

The absence of traffic is a little disorientating when first landing on the Island and this feeling is strengthened when passing through the heavy door to the drawbridge and arriving in the square of Austerlitz, formerly a military exercise square, old Place d'Armes, a grassy, shaded space which gently inclines towards the centre of the village.

Island of Aix, carriage ride

It is possible to rent bicycles at the port or in the village.

Carriage rides are available from the square of Austerlitz.

... the variety of landscapes

For an island of its size, approximately 3 km long with 7 km of coast, one is immediately impressed by the variety of scenery.

On this island you will find every type of landscape of the Charente-Maritime coast ; sandy beaches, cliffs, pine forests, tamarisks, marshes.

An organic farm balances its activities with a variety of enterprises, market gardening, the breeding of Porcheron horses, donkeys of Poitou, mules, and carriage rides.

Island of Aix, landscapes

Two oyster producers ensure the local production of oysters.
It is said that at the beginning of the 20th Century, there were 40 hectares of vineyards. Today, a tiny domain has been relaunched with chardonnay grapes.

On foot, it will take two to three hours to make a tour of the island by following the coastal road but you can always take a shortcut if you run out of time or begin to feel too tired.

By carriage, a short tour of the island, with a commentary, lasts an hour.

It is a very agreeable way to get a general idea of the countryside, especially if it is your first visit to Aix.

Island of Aix, narrow street and white houses

Ile d'Aix, a narrow street with white houses.

... walking in the streets of the village

Please, take time to walk through the paved streets where hollyhocks grow along by the houses and on the pavements, where wild grass grows between the paving stones.

Island of Aix, "La maison de l'Empereur"

Visit the church, the museum of the Emperor’s house, the African museum and the factory which produces objects and jewels made of mother-of-pearl,...

... the history

The military fortifications, the walls, the heavy doors of the drawbridge, the moats filled with water, powder stores, the house of Napoleon 1st give evidence of the military and historic past of the island of Aix.

Napoleon first stayed here in 1808, at which time he decided to build a house, the Emperor’s house, which today is a museum.

Napoleon returned here in 1815 after Waterloo. It was here that he spent his last three days on French soil before embarking on July 15th, 1815 for St. Helena with one of his loyal servants, General Gourgaud.

Island of Aix, Napoleon street

Today, the two main streets which start from Austerlitz square, are named la rue Napoléon et la rue Gourgaud.

You are confronted with this historic military past when first landing on the island.

A few metres away from the jetty, you pass through heavy doors to cross the drawbridge to reach Austerlitz square, a grassy space with a gentle incline towards the village, the town, fortified by Vauban and surrounded by moats, filled with sea water, which empty and refill during the high tides.

The Fort de la Rade

We suggest you begin the visit with the Fort de la Rade, entry to which is on the left after crossing the drawbridge. Then take the path along the top of the walls and make a tour of the fortification.

Island of Aix, the Fort de la Rade

From this path there is a beautiful panoramic view of the coast, the island of Oléron, the two lighthouses of the island of Aix, and the famous Fort Boyard, about 3 km away.

It is interesting to note that Fort Boyard is registered in the municipality of the island of Aix.

Island of Aix, the Fort de la Rade, aerial view

Island of Aix, aeriel view, the Fort de La Rade and the village.
(photo Michel Le Collen)

 

 

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