- Brouage, France, Atlantic Coast

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Brouage, an increasingly popular place to visit

Established in 1555, the harbour of Brouage was the first European place for trading in salt.

Brouage, 35 km away from Royan, 6 km north of Marennes, Brouage is an increasingly popular place to visit, which is totally justified by its history, the site and its evolution and the richness of the surrounding marsh.

The tour of the walls

The walk along the path on top of the walls which circle the town, gives a clear view of the layout of the city and an extended view of the marsh, the sea and the island of Oléron.

It is interesting to measure the gap between the big 17th century sea harbour and the present site of the citadel which is lost in the marsh between land and sea.

Walk in the town

After this first impression, it is pleasurable to walk around in the streets of the town and to visit restored buildings like the food hall, ‘la halle aux vivres’ with its beautiful vaults of bricks on stone pillars.

The most important harbour of Louis XIV

Established in 1555, the harbour of Brouage was the first European place for trading in salt. In the first half of the 17th century, it was transformed by Richelieu into a catholic bastion in order to fight against the rival town of La Rochelle. The walls, built between 1630 and 1640, surround the city in a square enclosure of 400 metres on each side.

The walls are representative of the art of the fortifications before Vauban.
Brouage became the most important harbour of Louis XIV . In the last part of the 17th century, it began to silt up and the decline of the town started. Rochefort took away its military role.

Brouage is also famous for the visit in 1659, of Marie Mancini, the niece of Cardinal Mazarin, loved by Louis XIV and taken away by the Cardinal for a state reason, this being to marry the young king to the infanta of Spain, Marie -Thérèse.

Brouage, the city of the French - Quebec friendship

You might have already travelled in Canada. In Quebec, in the Haute-Ville, on the famous terrace Dufferin, overlooking the Saint Laurent, and at the foot of the Frontenac castle, you would have seen Samuel de Champlain's huge statue, in homage to the "Father of New France" and you would have read, on the pedestal of the statue, "Samuel de Champlain, born in Brouage in Saintonge in 1567".

Please, do not look for this statue in Brouage, go and discover it in Quebec.

He left Honfleur in 1603 on the ship "La Bonne Renommée" for a first exploratory expedition and five years later, he established a trading post for furs in Quebec.

Quebec was captured by the English in 1629.

Champlain returned in exile to Brouage and prayed in the church to be able to see Quebec again.

His wish was fulfillled, Quebec was recaptured in 1632. He went back to Quebec where he died on December 25, 1635.

The relationship between Quebec and Brouage did not stop in the 17th century. Today, the Canadian presence is still in Brouage.

The main street is called Quebec street.

The Church of Brouage

The church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, built earlier than the fortifications of the town, was restored with donations from the city of Quebec.

New stained-glass windows were given by Quebec and New-Brunswick. Inside, a very detailed exhibition is dedicated to the history of New France.