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St-Jean-d’Angély 21 rue de l’Hotel de Ville 05 46 33 91 01

Bords 43 bis, rue St-Vivien 05 46 83 90 07

SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY

ST JEAN D’ANGELY CENTRE

South-East St Jean d’Angély

OLD HOUSE Fitted kitchen, lounge, office, shower room. First floor: 5 bedrooms, bathroom. Two garages, one 26 sq. m. and one 36 sq. m., workshops. Plot size: 780 sq. m. Energy rating: D. Ref: STJ 2686 Price: € 254,000 AFI

SOUTH WEST OF ST JEAN D’ANGELY OLD HOUSE IN NEED OF RESTORATION Kitchen, 1 room of 34 sq. m. shower room. First floor: 2 rooms of 37 sq. m. / 25 sq. m. Plot area: YARD. Ref: STJ 2709 Price: € 54,000 AFI

Typical «Charentaise» home. Furnished kitchen, living room, lounge, 1 bedroom, bathroom. Upper floor: 2 bedrooms, extra room. Bread oven, wine warehouse, 140m2 shed, 122m2 & 85m2 outbuildings. 6033m2 parcel of land. Energy efficiency class: G. Ref: STJ 2765 Price: € 285,000 AFI

SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY

ST JEAN D’ANGELY

EAST OF ST JEAN D’ANGELY

ST-JEAN D’ANGÉLY € 480,000 AFI STJ 2336 Energy rating: D

West of St Jean d’Angély € 573,000 AFI

STJ 2251 Energy rating: D HOUSE Entrance, kitchen - lounge, back kitchen, 4 bedrooms, bathroom, shower room, carport, garage, workshop. Swimming pool. Plot size: 5637 sq. m. Energy rating: E. Ref: STJ 2698 Price: € 224,000 AFI

BUNGALOW Fully fitted and equipped kitchen, utility room, lounge, office, 3 bedrooms, shower room, garage, garden shed. Plot size: 659 sq. m. Energy rating: D. Ref: STJ 2401 Price: € 219,000 AFI

CHARENTAISE: 1 room of 60 sq. m. First floor: 2 rooms, 35 sq. m. & 20 sq. m., attic. Former wine store, covered terrace measuring 61 sq. m. & workshop 50 sq. m. Plot size: 600 sq. m. Ref: STJ 2145 Price: € 96,000 AFI

SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY

SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY

AULNAY

East of Rochefort € 292,000 AFI

BDS 622 Energy rating: C OLD FARMHOUSE – Main house: hall, 6 rooms. First floor: 4 bedrooms, 1 room. Suitable attic. Apt: lounge, kitchen, 2 bedrooms. Barn, outbuildings of 527 sq. m., pond. Enclosed land with walls of 7 289 sq. m. Energy rating: E. Ref: STJ 2623 Price: € 318,000 AFI

SOUTH EAST OF ST JEAN D’ANGELY – OLD HOUSE – Fitted kitchen – living room – lounge 73 sq. m. dining area 16 sq. m. office, 2 bedrooms, shower room, laundry room. First floor: landing, 5 bedrooms, bathroom, attics of 20 sq. m. & 35 sq. m. Garage, terrace, swimming pool. Plot area: 905 sq. m. Energy ranking: E Ref: STJ 2702 Price: € 300,000 AFI

TOWN HOUSE Hall, fitted kitchen, 31 sq. m., lounge, office, 1 bedroom, 1 room. First floor: 5 bedrooms. Suitable atitcs: 32 sq. m. / 48 sq. m. / 39 sq. m. Cellar / Boiler room. Terrace, heated pool, patio. Plot size: 356 sq. m. Energy rating: E. Ref: STJ 2590 Price: € 368,000 AFI

SAINT SAVINIEN ST-JEAN D’ANGÉLY € 133,000 AFI

STJ 2694 Energy rating: E

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SAINT SAVINIEN € 227,000 AFI

€ 305,000 AFI

BDS 678 Energy rating: C

BDS 720 Energy rating: E

w w w. a 3 m i m m o . c o m 02/05/11 16:21


N° 2 - April 2011

Gastronomy

Gastronomy in Charente-Maritime ................................................... 5 Restaurants on the ” le de RŽ ................................................................ 7 Charming and unusual restaurants on the ” le de RŽ ................ 25 Restaurants in La Rochelle ................................................................ 27 Restaurants around La Rochelle ...................................................... 34 Where to eat an icecream ................................................................. 38 Products of the terroir ......................................................................... 43

CONTENTS Where to play golf ............................................................. 53 Life on the île de Ré The great outdoors ............................................................................... 54 Ancient buildings ................................................................................. 59 Cultural and artistic life ...................................................................... 63

The publisher is not responsible for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in «Holidays in Charente-Maritime». No part of this publication may be reproduced or used for advertising purposes or any other purposes. Advertising photos were provided by the advertisers, who are responsible in the case of any copyright disputes.

Life in Charente-Maritime

La Rochelle ............................................................................................. Rochefort ................................................................................................. ë le dÕ OlŽ ron ............................................................................................ Royan and surroundings .................................................................... Saintes and surroundings .................................................................. Saintonge ................................................................................................ Saint Jean dÕ AngŽ ly .............................................................................. Jonzac ....................................................................................................... Beautiful gardens in Charente-Maritime ......................................

Further away in Charente Cognac

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65 75 80 83 85 86 88 90 92

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A map of Charente-Maritime ............................... 96 Useful addresses ................................................................... 97 Useful information ............................................................... 98 Editor in chief : Nathalie Vauchez Editorial : Catherine Bréjat Translation : Liam Gavin Cover pictures and page design by Alpha Studio Advertising : Rhéa Marketing - 19 av de Philippsburg BP 43 - 17410 Saint-Martin de Ré - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 00 09 19 mail : rhea@rheamarketing.fr

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Printer : Imprimerie Rochelaise - Print run : 40 000 copies Legal deposit upon publication Holidays in Charente-Maritime is published by Rhéa Marketing Holidays in Charente-Maritime is printed with vegetal ink on ecological, chlorine-free paper from sustainably managed forests. All waste is recycled. Our printer’s ecoprinter logo and PEFC certification is our guaranty.

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© Incognito.fr

❱ HElp uS prOTECT Our rEgiON Charente-Maritime is fortunate in having 420 km of coastline and a variety of natural environments of great ecological value ; but they need to be taken care of in order to maintain their natural equilibrium.

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them back in the same place, otherwise the flora will die. We should stress the fact that frequent checks are made and any breach of the fishing rules will be penalised. Familiarise yourself with the situation ; the rules are displayed on the beaches. Coastal preservation also involves protecting the dunes and the best way of doing so is to resist the temptation to climb and walk on them, no matter how beautiful they are, especially as it is strictly forbidden to do so. The flora is also fragile; admire it but refrain from picking huge bunches of wild flowers, even if they smell divine ! There are many country areas you may also visit. As for the beaches, please do not throw your rubbish there. If you cannot find a rubbish bin nearby, ask the tourist office for a list of places with containers where you can dispose of rubbish appropriately.  © AlphaStudio

The whole region is preoccupied with protecting these places and the species that live in them. Below are some simple guidelines for keeping our islands and coast clean and undisturbed. The foreshore is frequently devastated, most often through ignorance. The foreshore is the part of the beach that uncovers at low tide and in which families love to go rockpooling for clams, cockles, queen scallops, razor shells and other shellfish. The problem is that these species are in danger and rockpooling in family groups would provide a golden opportunity to raise childrenÕ s awareness of the problem. Various regional organisations publish their recommendations for ensuring the longterm sustainability of the foreshoreÕ s biodiversity. Among these, please note - it is important not to collect anything under the minimum authorised size; any of the tourist offices can give you a rule free of charge for measuring the size of shellfish and crustaceans so that you can put back any that are too small; donÕ t take more than 5 kg of shellfish; don’t turn stones and rocks over but, if you happen to do so by mistake, put

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N°2 APRIL 2011

© Incognito.fr

ga gaSTrONOMy

Gastronomy ❱ iN CHarENTE-MariTiME...

Gastronomy in the Charente-Maritime area is intimately associated with the natural environment.

Look after your health. Drink moderately

... an art nurtured by its environment

The Ò dŽpartementÓ has 420 kilometres of coastline and four islands (Aix, Madame, OlŽron and RŽ) and is also home to the biggest oysterproducing area in Europe at Marennes-OlŽr on. Inland, the undulating countryside is crisscrossed by fish-bearing rivers and streams and is home to animal farming in the north and vine growing in the east. The regionÕ s gastronomic specialities include all sorts of fish, available according to the depth at which they are caught, and there is a vast choice of shellfish and seafood, from oysters and mussels (those from Aiguillon and Charron are especially prized) to sea urchins, cockles, clams, queen scallops and razor-shells. If you enjoy rockpooling, you can find shrimp, velvet swimming crab, common crab and green crab. Animal rearing produces good-quality meat - Parthenais beef and Diamantin lamb are especially renowned. And, where there is animal farming, there will also be butter and cheese. The Poitou Charentes region produces half of

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France’s goat’s milk cheeses, including the celebrated Chabichou, and the Charente-Maritime region is no less well-known for its Ò PigouilleÓ in the Marans area and on ële dÕ OlŽr on and the small goats of Loix on ële de RŽ. This is also a fruit and vegetable-producing area known, amongst other things, for its Ò mojettesÓ (small white and red beans), cabbages and onions and its early potatoes, the famous Ò Pommes de Terre de lÕ ële de RŽ Ó , more of which later. Chefs in the area essentially use and draw inspiration from the areaÕ s produce to compose their menus, which they serve seasoned with ële de RŽ salt and accompanied by local wines and cognac. In the following pages, you will find our selection of restaurants, a number of which serve gourmet cuisine. But we have also featured the cooking of a number of inspired young chefs who use local produce to create new dishes, as well as good places to enjoy a more simple lunch or order a quick plate of oysters. 

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rrESTauraNTS ON THE ilE dE ré

N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ lES gOllaNdièrES A friendly and elegant location, a fireplace in winter and a refreshingly cool pool to look onto in summer. Add to that a chef with a reputation - Frank Tememe - and you have all the right ingredients for a truly enjoyable meal. This restaurant, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary last year, serves a variety of menus. From the “Les Gollandi•re sÓ menu, you can try the great classic dishes that have made the chefÕ s reputation Ð Mediterranean prawnsÕ tails in tempura, home-prepared duck foie gras with Pineau on a bed of figs and Banyuls, scallop carpaccio with basil or a pan-seared beef fillet with a Bourgueil wine sauce - €30 for a main course and cheese or dessert, €36 for a starter and main and €40 for a starter, main, cheese or dessert. Other specialities can be found on the “Lobster” menu at €70 (to be ordered twenty-four hours in advance) with its home-prepared duck foie gras and a glass of Sauternes, grilled lobster with tarragon and fresh goatÕ s cheese from Loix, or you may prefer a seafood platter (€39), which also

needs to be ordered beforehand to avoid you having to wait. Manager Guillaume Mathieu will help you choose from the very good wine list. Please note that the restaurant is run independently of the hotel and that non-residents are welcome. 

Elegance and fine

Look after your health. Drink moderately

dining

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Best Western Les Gollandi• res Avenue des Gollandi• res 17580 Le-Bois-Plage-en-RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 23 99 www.lesgollandieres.com

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Photos © Incognito.fr

❱ la BalEiNE BlEuE Fine dining

Look after your health. Drink moderately

Ideally situated with a panoramic view of the harbour in Saint-Martin-de-RŽ , La Baleine Bleue is one of the best restaurants on ële de RŽ . The atmosphere Philippe Bodart has chosen for the place is one of informal stylishness. He has also taken on Christophe RouillŽ , a talented young chef whose impressive training record includes one of Guy SavoyÕ s bistrots in Paris, Ch‰ teau dÕ Artigny in the Touraine region and Boyer les Cray• res in Reims. He has been at the establishment for a number of years already and, true to house tradition, he principally uses wild fish bought only at La Rochelle’s fish auction and vegetables in season from the local market. His dishes

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are cooked to perfection and seasoned only to the point of enhancing flavour without altering the taste of his ingredients. At lunchtime, there is a menu at €28 for a starter and main course or main course and dessert. For dinner, it will cost €38 for an appetiser, main course and dessert and, if you add a starter, it will come to €43. The house keeps a good selection of wines to accompany this delicious fare. The setting is elegant with three terraces from which you can watch the boats in fine weather. Open from 11pm to 2am Ð a champagne bar much frequented by night-owls, serving fifteen or so types of champagne as well as cognac. 

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La Baleine Bleue ” lot de Saint-Martin 17410 Saint-Martin-de-RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 03 30

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N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ lE CHaT BOTTé

Look after your health. Drink moderately

For the last twenty-five years, Daniel MassŽ, the owner-chef at Le Chat BottŽ, has been stimulating the taste buds of anyone who is sufficiently devoted to good food and wine to make the journey to Saint-ClŽment des Baleines to taste his fare. His classic style of cooking has its roots in ële de RŽ, its environment and its local produce, which he defends tooth and nail, making no concessions when it comes to quality. The fish he cooks is wild, which he makes very clear on his menu because he fetches it himself from the port in La Rochelle. His oysters are supplied by Frédéric Voisin and are served as they are or hot with a zabaglione made with RŽ Pineau. All his ingredients can be easily identified and traced. In a calm, wooded setting, the restaurant has a terrace and large garden. There are four menus to choose from, ranging from €23 to €75 and named according to the origin of the dishes Ð Ò Les BaleinauxÓ features lobster caught at the foot of the Baleines lighthouse ; Ò Les CoureauleursÓ has langoustines and croaker caught from Ò coureauleursÓ , small boats used for fishing where they are most plentiful – that is, between the islands of RŽ and OlŽron.

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© Incognito.fr

A homage to local produce

The Ò Pleine MerÓ menu includes premium types of fish caught at sea, such as sea bream and cod, and Ò Le PlatinÓ (meaning Ò waterÕ s edgeÓ ) has mullet, which lives in such waters. If none of these menus appeals to you, there will doubtless be something to your taste Ò ˆ la carteÓ . The desserts are every bit as good as the rest of the menu and we can especially recommend the Grand Marnier soufflé and crunchy chocolate treat (Ò croustillant au chocolatÓ ) ! The wine list also fulfils every expectation of an establishment such as this ! 

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Restaurant Le Chat BottŽ 20 rue de la Mairie 17590 Saint-ClŽ ment des Baleines Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 42 09 Rated 2 forks in the Michelin Guide & 1 star in the Bottin Gourmand

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A DV E R T I S E M E N T

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❱ lE riCHEliEu The setting is elegant, a Relais & Châteaux establishment. And there is an exceptional view of the sea from the restaurant and terrace. The décor is refined. All the conditions are conducive to spending a moment of sheer pleasure in the Richelieu gastronomic restaurant. The chef, Frédéric Mauchien, makes simple dishes based on quality products. Good products, cooked to perfection to the nearest second, this is the young chef’s first article of faith. He goes on to recommend eating regional food, knowing the suppliers and discovering everything the terroir has to offer. This is how, starting out from a Marans hen from breeders he knows, he combines eggs with AOC Ile de RŽ potatoes with their distinctive flavour, and prepares a poultry breast fermier stuffed with langoustines !

Imagination and creation also grow out of our encounters and this is what enables him to completely renew his carte several times a year. Two menus, one at €55 and the other at €65, complete the offer, along with the suggestions of the day at lunchtime. The suggestions of the day are based on the morningÕ s purchases at the market and the daily creation of the recipe that combines them, a blending of flavours where all of Frédéric’s art comes into play, a moment of rare pleasure. This apparently simple cuisine Ð though it would be more appropriate to speak of simplicity in sophistication Ð is further enhanced by the grands crus in the Richelieu’s magnificent cellar. StŽp hane Thomas, the wine waiter, will advise you on a choice of wines. The restaurant is in the hands of a young and energetic crew that tends discreetly and effectively to your every need throughout the meal. 

a moment

of sheer

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pleasure

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Relais & Ch‰ teaux Avenue de la Plage 17630 La Flotte Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 60 70 www.hotel-le-richelieu.fr

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❱ lES EMBruNS

Look after your health. Drink moderately

The decor lives up to the name... ... (embruns: sea spray) with its suggestion of swashbuckling adventures: here we find ourselves by the seaside with seashells on the tables and driftwood on the wall. But the adventure that awaits us is essentially gustatory and depends on the great talent of the chef, in this case a woman. HŽ l• ne cooks divinely, using her olfactory memory to explore and rediscover the flavours and aromas of her childhood. She offers us a sensual cuisine with a refined presentation that awakens and stimulates the senses. For Hélène, cooking is an all-consuming passion without which she could not live, although she did not start her own business until relatively late. She welcomes us to her home as guests and takes a real interest in how much we enjoy our meal. She cooks in a classic style, based essentially on noble fish, that she brings to life with products like the Ile de RŽ fleur de sel and olive oil. The restaurant offers a basic menu, but HŽ l• ne gives free rein to her imagination based on what she finds on the fish and vegetable market in the morning. Lunch or dinner at HŽ l• neÕ s is an experience that will leave you with an unforgettable memory of French cuisine. 

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6 passage Chay Morin on the little island of Saint-Martin, just behind the Office de Tourisme 17410 Saint-Martin-de-RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 63 23

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L’OCÉAN HÔTEL★★ R E STA U R A N T • S PA

isle of Ré EXCEPTIONAL This charming hotel with the very special ambience of a village house on the Ile de Ré is open all year long. Resource yourself in this haven of peace and tranquillity created by Martine and Noël, a skilful combination of art de vivre and good taste.

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he hotel comprises 30 individually decorated and comfortable rooms equipped with television, telephone and a wifi Internet connection. Relaxation is the keyword as you laze away the day in the lee of the wind, and out of sight of prying eyes, by the poolside, under the old pine tree or in the garden. In low season, an open fireplace and small lounge areas with typical Ré wooden décor invite us to savour the slow passing of time. And all year long the evocatively named Secret de Hammam beauty centre offers us an incomparable experience in terms of voluptuous relaxation. In the restaurant, Anne and Frédéric receive us in the charming dining area with a terrace extending onto the patio. The food is delicious, seasonal and fresh from the sea, consisting mainly of seafood and shellfish. A choice of different formulas: two fixed-price menus, one at €25 and one at €34, a Lunch course at €18.50, the slate or simply the plat du jour. Not to mention a selection of wines in harmony with the menus. ■

172 rue Saint-Martin - 17580 Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 23 07 e-mail : info@re-hotel-ocean.com - site : www.re-hotel-ocean.com

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❱ la TaBlE d’OliVia Standing at the entrance to Saint-Martin de RŽÕ s harbour, the H™t el de Toiras (Relais et Châteaux) was awarded a fifth star in March 2010. It thus became the first 5-star establishment on ële de RŽ and in the Poitou-Charentes region. Obtaining a fifth star was the result of lengthy and meticulous restoration of this 17C building, which benefits from a stunning location. The establishment is entirely in keeping with its past Ð nothing ostentatious but plenty of quality and charm. The same goes for its restaurant, Ò La Table dÕOli viaÓ , which we recommend for its lovely, peaceful garden, as well as for its cuisine of course. The focal point of chef Thierry Bouhier’s menu is fish and seafood, although the exact ingredients he uses will depend on what he has found at the morning fish auction and in the fruit & vegetable market. Besides

a few classics, such as chocolate soufflé and duck foie gras, honey cake and candied melon sauce, the dishes change daily, as does the way they are prepared. And it shouldnÕ t be forgotten that Thierry prepares everything himself ! Besides a regular choice of two fish dishes and a meat course, the restaurant has a menu starting at €55 for an appetiser, starter, main course and dessert. The wine list is comprehensive with plenty of French wines, all of good quality. ThereÕ s a strong chance that, if you once try this establishment, youÕ ll be back to stay for a while in its exquisite hoTel: 

Look after your health. Drink moderately

a delightful restaurant for a lovely hotel

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H™ tel de Toiras - Relais et Ch‰ teaux 1, Quai Job Foran - 17410 Saint-Martin-de RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 35 40 32 www.hotel-de-toiras.com Restaurant closed on Tuesday and Wednesday in summer Restaurant closed on Sunday and Monday from October to May

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isle of Aix

Napoléon

The stuff of legends

HÔTEL

R E S TA U R A N T

1920 saw the creation of the Hotel Napoléon on the little island of Aix, an island steeped in history. To reach the hotel, take a boat from the La Fumée pier at Fouras.

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he Ile d’Aix is greatly appreciated in season. But we discover another world when the last tourists sail back to the mainland, and silence and tranquillity return to the island. It is precisely because Martine and Noël believed in its great potential that they decided to save from oblivion the old governor’s residence that housed the Hotel Napoléon within the framework of its classic architecture. The result is amazing. All the rooms are refined and elegant, yet unassuming, with unbeatable views of the seascape, Fort Boyard and Le Pertuis between Ré and Aix. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen television, a wifi Internet connection, a king-size bed and a duvet that you never want to leave again. The hotel restaurant is called Chez Joséphine, as befits the Hotel Napoléon. At lunchtime the chef, Jean-Noël, serves up light meals consisting of salads, a fisherman’s platter, mussels and a plat du jour. The evening menu is more elaborate, inviting us to linger at the table as we savour this very special atmosphere where time seems to have stopped. The renaissance of an historic location on an island that is unjustly ignored. Don’t miss it!

Hôtel Napoléon - Restaurant Chez Joséphine rue Gourgaud - 17123 Île d1Aix - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 84 00 77 - contact@hotel-ile-aix.com

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N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ lE SErgHi

Look after your health. Drink moderately

Food for thought Alexandre Brunner, the young owner of Ò Le SerghiÓ , has completely done up and redecorated his restaurant so that it is somewhere to visit as well as a good place to eat. There is always something to see, whether itÕ s paintings, sculptures or photos. Just as importantly, he has taken on a real chef - Fabien Billières, who comes from Toulouse. Fabien learnt his skills at the Ò Auberge du Vieux PuitsÓ (3 stars un guide Michelin) in Fontjoncouse in the Corbières area. His priority is to source premium-grade products for which he personally goes to the market and fishing harbour every morning. He also buys some of Jean-Marc AndrŽ Õ s daily catch when he returns to harbour. He cooks according to what is in season, which is why, apart from the great classics, his menu changes every month. Like his cooking, his dishes are devoid of gratuitous embellishment. His aim is to cook quality products to perfection without allowing the garnish or accompaniment to mask the flavour. Quality obviously comes at a price, but his excellent knowledge of the trade means he is able to offer excellent food at reasonable prices and Fabien may well suggest a line-caught alternative (Ò loubineÓ ) to wild sea bass, for example. The lunchtime menu changes daily and will cost €11 for a main course or €16 for a main course and dessert. In the evening, the

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bill will come to an average €30 to €35. The wine list includes bottles from all the great French wine-producing regions, but Fabien also tries to find small producers with good wines at very reasonable prices. One we particularly liked was an AOC Corbi• res SerresMazard. Another advantage is that the terrace is in the sun at lunchtime and, in the evening, you can enjoy an especially beautiful island sunset. 

15 quai Georges ClŽ menceau 17410 Saint-Martin de RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 03 92

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❱ lE CHaSSE MaréE When Pamela and Daniel Fauquenot took the helm in the Chasse MarŽ e two years ago they gave it a new lease of life based on international flavours and a New York accent. Having gained experience for several years the couple decided to settle in Portes en RŽ , in the north of the island, to the great delight of all their customers. Denis works with local products, particularly noble fish, which he serves up in spicy recipes: grey sea bream in a Tahitian marinade, date and almond tagine, gravlax with a honey sauce. There are two fixed-price menus in addition to the suggestions of the day. Pamela is in charge of the wine, with a selection from all over the world. An excellent Château Margaux figures among the wines served by the glass. You will not be disappointed by the quality of the cuisine and the refined surroundings. 

an inventive

Look after your health. Drink moderately

food

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Place de la LibertŽ 17880 Les Portes-en-RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 52 03

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New s whole fish for two person

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N°2 April 2011

❱ Chai Nous Comme Chai vous

Look after your health. Drink moderately

Creativity in the kitchen Just a short walk from the charming harbour at La Flotte, Laurent Favier concocts his tasty dishes in an intimate setting. The menu is based on his morning trip to the market and the La Rochelle fish market, reflecting the changing seasons and the creative inspiration of the chef. He brings his talent to bear on these extremely fresh foods, producing subtle marriages of flavours that surprise and delight the palate, such exquisite pleasures as the pavŽ de Turbot ˆ la feuille de lime et noix de coco, or Dordogne strawberries with lemon balm. Laurent remains true to the local terroir, including the AOC Ile de RŽ potatoes that we find in specific recipes like his gâteau de pommes de terre au ch•vre with goatÕ s cheese. To satisfy his customers and give them a more comprehensive appreciation of his

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talent, he now offers a Û 43 gastronomic menu every mid-day and evening. The menu comprises 5 courses : a starter, fish, a meat dish, cheese and dessert. The lunch time Û19 menu offers, for example, a bowl of fish rillettes to share, a fish or meat dish, a dessert and a cafŽ gourmand. There is never any repetition, and the slate in the street announces the surprises of the day. A very fine wine list (175 references) accompanies this refined cuisine. This gourmet bistrot seats only 25 at a time so you are strongly advised to book in advance. 

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Chai Nous Comme Chai Vous 1 rue de la Garde 17630 La Flotte Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 09 49 85

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Port de St martin de ré

LeÊS kipper All you can eat at breakfast for €9.50 A choice of Coffee-Chocolate-Tea Fruit juice Croissant, pains au chocolat Baguette, butter, honey, jam An assortment of breakfast cereals Hot buffet Omelette, bacon, egg, sausage

Restaurant de la Mer Port de Saint Martin de Ré Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 20 38 e-mail: leskipper@wanadoo.fr

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349642

In season: 8:30am – 11:00am

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❱Un Air de Famille

Charming and usual restaurants

A small, very pleasant and sunny terrace looking out onto the classic architecture of the Place la RŽpubl ique. The interior is in keeping with family tradition on the island, with portraits of ancestors hanging on the walls. Family-style food with simply-cooked dishes accompanied by savoury tarts, delicious spreads on toast and a variety of mixed salads. A dish of the day is indicated on the chalk board at the entrance and the desserts are difficult to resist, all at a modest price. 2 Place de la RŽpublique - 17410 Saint-Martin - Tel: : +33 (0)5 46 01 65 36

La Cabane du Fier In the quaint setting of an oysterfarming hut with a large terrace overlooking the Fier dÕ Ars, Christophe Frigi• re prepares his meals from fresh vegetables, fish and seafood over a wood-fired grill. The menu of this friendly and informal restaurant changes frequently. Worth going to, if only for the view or for the sunset in fine weather.

Lieu-dit Le Martray - 17590 Ars en RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 41 20

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Café du Commerce

Look after your health. Drink moderately

The CafŽ du Commerce in Ars is more than just a cafŽ restaurant ; it is also an institution where many locals used to gather in their youth to remonstrate against the establishment. In the 60s, it was also the haunt of many stars of the French cinema when they came to the island on holiday. Ideally located on the harbour in Ars, it has a large terrace where its customers can sit to be seen. Its interior decoration, like its menu, is of American inspiration with copious refreshing salads, cr•pes and Tex-Mex dishes.

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6 quai de la PrŽe - 17590 Ars en RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 41 57

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Le Bistrot du Marin With its ambience reminiscent of a return from fishing, warm and friendly interior decor, a well-oriented terrace in summer and fast, efficient service, this has become a very popular spot for coffee in the morning sun, an aperitif at the bar or a meal. On the menu, there is a choice of two starters, a meat course, fish dish and two desserts at reasonable prices. The menu even changes daily ! At the bar, there will usually be something to snack on while enjoying an aperitif. 10 Quai Nicolas Baudin - 17410 - Saint-Martin de RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 68 74 66

Chai Pépette Original décor, a bistrot ambience, a few high tables – and the scene is set. All reflecting the personality of Pépette and his boisterous sense of humour. You can choose between the slate of the date or the great classics of the house, rib of beef or foie gras. The platters : oysters charcuterie or cheese, are served all day long. Pizzas : eat in or take away. The terrace is overlooking the Place dÕA ntioche. 5 place dÕA ntioche - 17740 Saint Marie de RŽ - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 30 03 55

Les Tilleuls

We feel the charm of this restaurant as soon as we enter it. With a fine terrace at the front and a charming little courtyard at the back, it is unlike any other. The owner, Ludovic PelŽ, an artist and inveterate antique hunter, also owns the deco boutique next door, where we can admire some of his work. Crepes, couscous, pizzas, large salads with goatÕ s cheese or Ile de RŽ potato salads, you are sure to find something to your taste. Prices are reasonable and the house has a menu with a starter, main dish and dessert for €16.50. Have a look in the deco boutique as you leave, you wonÕ t be disappointed. Place des Tilleuls - La Noue - 17740 Sainte-Marie de RŽ - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 30 02 76

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❱La Solette

rESTauraNTS rrESTaura EST ESTaura NTS iN la rOCHEllE rOCHE

N°2 APRIL 2011

The very reasonably priced La Solette bar-restaurant is situated on a charming place in the fashionable Saint-Nicolas district. It is located in a dreamhouse and has a large open-air terrace. As soon as the fine weather begins, people begin to frequent the Solette in the morning for a typically French breakfast with a croissant and a long piece of baguette with butter. For those who feel peckish during the day, the house proposes plates of whelks or shrimps with homemade mayonnaise or a half-dozen six oysters. There are different menus at mealtimes but you can also settle for a sandwich or a large salad. The chefÕ s proposals are displayed on a slate each day. It is a very friendly place where it is easy to meet people from the city and the local district who drop in for a drink and a chat with the patron. 11 Place de la Fourche - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 06 33

Look after your health. Drink moderately

Le Bistrot de Mémé

Right in the heart of La Rochelle, just a stoneÕ s throw from the central market, Yvan L’Hote proposes typical South West dishes with home-made terrines and foie gras. Though tapas come from farther south, here they are interpreted Lj la Française». Discover the cooking of yesteryear, with generous servings and family recipes. The wine list is dominated by wines from the Bordeaux and South West regions. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, with a special place for rugby and football. The service is in 19th century costumes, accompanied by music. The prices are reasonable: €14 at lunch time for a full meal, otherwise €20 per person with the ˆ la carte menu. 33 rue des dames - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 18 38

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Z e ’ Bar Ca v e à m a n g e r 13 bis rue de la chaîne 17000 la rochelle 05

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❱ lE BiSTrOT dE réMi MaSSé Rue Saint-Jean du Perrot is the restaurant street in La Rochelle, a street that is only waiting to be discovered in a variety of different ways. We recommend a visit to Le Bistrot de RŽ mi MassŽ , one of our favourites. RŽ mi keeps an eye on things from his openplan kitchen overlooking the chic dining area, sometimes chatting with regulars as he prepares his light and inventive dishes based on fresh produce from the fish market and the fruit and vegetable market. RŽ mi is a lover of the Basque country, and it shows in his cooking : Basque ham delivered directly, Espelette peppers and piquillos regularly feature on the carte, along with RŽ miÕ s favourites, fillet of wild bass with fresh spinach, parillada ˆ la plancha, marrow bone entrec™ te and rib of beef for two. There is a special lunch-hour menu on working days for customers in a hurry : a starter, main dish and a glass of wine for €19.

The quality of the wines matches that of the dishes, which gives you an idea why this address is really worth trying. RŽ mi selects the wines himself from authentic wines made with old-style vinification methods. His wife, VŽ ronique, receives the customers and is pleasantly and discreetly attentive to your every need. 

This is a very popular address, so it is a

Look after your health. Drink moderately

good idea to reserve in advance.

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59 rue Saint-Jean du PŽ rot 17000 La Rochelle Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 43 56 08

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

Le Boute en Train

N°2 APRIL 2011

Over the years this restaurant situated in a quiet little street just a few steps from the central marketplace has built up a solid reputation for quality food at a reasonable price, so much so that now you have to reserve a place Ð even at lunchtime. A substantial part of its charm comes from the modern bistro ambience and warm décor, with an open fire in winter and a terrace in summer, and the young and lively staff. Combined with the fact that the chefÕ s cuisine has a way of winning our hearts. The menu is displayed on blackboards: seven or eight starters with as many desserts, and main dishes based on meat and fish that change with the seasons. The great classics of French cuisine are reinterpreted and modernized. A large choice of wines served by the glass or bottle completes this restaurantÕ s offer. 7 rue des Bonnes Femmes - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 41 73 74

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A DV E R T I S E M E N T

Hôtel Saint Jean d’Acre HHH

The most beautiful part of La Rochelle, at the foot of the towers in the Vieux Port. The hotel, superbly located at the foot of 2 Towers making the entry into the harbour, offers the privilege of discovering the historic town round the clock : cobblestone streets, medieval houses, museums, monuments. Swayed by the beauty of the setting between the Old Port and the Old Town... 60 rooms including 12 family rooms for 3-4 guests : soundproofing, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, Canal +, satellite TV channels, minibar, Internet, free Wifi throughout hotel, public Internet connection in lobby. Nearby : 40 ha of parks, casino, beaches, aquarium, zoo, touring of La Rochelle, museums, mini-cruise to the Isles (Ré, Oléron, Aix) and Ford Boyard... For business stays : 4 seminar rooms, including 1 with a panoramic view over the Old Port. Just steps away : restaurants and brasseries Acces via motorway 10, exit Niort and Saintes, La Rochelle, follow signs indicating Ç Centre Ville/ Vieux Port, Prefecture », parking Saint Jean d’Acre.

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349760

Look after your health. Drink moderately

www.hotel-la-rochelle.com info@hotel-la-rochelle.com

4 place de la Cha” ne - 17000 La Rochelle - TŽl . +33 (0)5 46 41 73 33 - Fax. +33 (0)5 46 41 10 01

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rrESTauraNTS arOuNd la rOCHEllE

❱ lES JardiNS du laC ... stands in the middle of lovely grounds opposite a lake, where the atmosphere is best described as one of peace and tranquillity. The large picture windows of the ground-floor restaurant look out onto the grounds and, in good weather, lunch or dinner are served on the terrace. Ò Les jardins du LacÓ is known as one of the Poitou-Charentes regionÕ s best places to eat. This is gastronomic fare at reasonable prices, which is fairly unusual. Michel and his son, Johann, are in the kitchen, where they use goodquality regional produce that is in season, prepared in such a way as to bring out the flavours rather than mask them. The fish is of the very best variety and quality; we recommend the poached wild turbot, green aspara-

gus in morel mushroom juice, line-caught sea bass or sole from OlŽr on. If you prefer meat, try the canon of roast lamb with garden herb crumble Ð you wonÕ t regret it. The desserts live up to the rest of the menu; we couldnÕ t resist the Ò pomme Belchard confite”, an orange and green tea jelly and an apple sorbet, all of which were served with an almond biscuit. A very good, comprehensive wine list helps to complete a perfect meal. MichelÕ s wife, Sabine, provides charming service and will take good care of you throughout your meal. 

This hotel restaurant, owned by the Suire family...

Photos © Jardin du Lac

Les Jardins du Lac Hotel and restaurant 3 Chemin Fontchaude - 17250 Trizay Tel: +33 (0)5 46 82 03 56

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

❱ lES JardiNS d’aliéNOr Since it opened in April 2005, the charm and distinction of the decor and the excellence of the food have made Les Jardins dÕ AliŽ nor a must whenever we visit the Ile dÕ OlŽ ron. We can even stay overnight, as it is also a hotel with four comfortable rooms named after historical personages who have played a role in the region: the AliŽ nor dÕ Aquitaine and Vauban rooms, and the Pierre dÕ Argencourt and Chevalier de Clerville suites. There is a tasting room that is open all day long where we can savour cognac, but also a wide selection of whiskies. There is also a cigar cellar. The restaurant lives up to the high standards of the rest of the establishment, both in terms of food and decor. The cuisine is light and inventive, refined and

tasty, with a menu that changes from season to season but always includes grand classics like oysters and foie gras. The chef works with noble fish like sole and bass. In addition to the ˆ la carte menu, there are two set-price menus at €40 and €65. A fine cellar completes the pleasant offer of this tasteful restaurant where your waiter will advise on a suitable wine for each dish, as well as offering you a special Ç food and wine match» at €20 to accompany your menu. You can bask in the heat of the fire in the offseason, but in season it is a pleasure to lunch or dine outside in the charming courtyard. This is a much-frequented address, particularly in summer. Remember to reserve at least forty-eight hours in advance. 

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7-11 rue du MarŽ chal Foch - 17480 Le Ch‰ teau dÕ OlŽ ron Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 76 48 30

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La Table du Grand Goule

N°2 APRIL 2011

In an old house facing the church in Échillais we find a charming restaurant run by Yannik, the chef, and Patricia, his wife, who extends a warm and friendly welcome. The interior dŽ cor is nothing special but the house exudes a refined country atmosphere, with a wood fire burning in the dining room hearth in winter and a delicious terrace perfumed with the scents of the herb garden in summer. The chef concocts an inventive cuisine using fresh products in season. He proposes a menu of the day that changes each day and a more elaborate menu with a starter, main course and dessert. You can also avail of the ˆ la carte menu to make your own combinations. It is a pleasant place to relax and enjoy the very reasonably priced food. It is a good idea to reserve a table as the restaurant is very popular at lunch time.

13 rue de lÕŽgl ise - 17620 ƒc hillais - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 82 75 45

Le Coq d’Or Le Coq dÕ Or was founded in 1908 and still retains its original facade. In season, white parasols provide shade on the sunny terrace facing the Chateau de Jonzac. Under new management since 2006, this beautiful brasserie with a large bar and old-style decor is always good for an aperitif, while the dining room offers a more modern ambience. The cooking is modern, extremely tasty, reasonably priced and the presentation of the dishes is an art in itself. The economic lunchtime offer provides fixed price menus ranging from €12.50 to €30.00 and an à la carte menu. Recently refurbished, five spacious bedrooms now provide overnight accommodation, with some of them overlooking the chateau.

18 place du Ch‰ teau - 17500 Jonzac - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 48 00 06

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❱ lE CHêNE VErT This amazing establishment is the result of the encounter of two equally amazing individuals. The charm and authenticity of this restaurant-gallery in the heart of the Saintonge region is surpassed only by that of its owners. Gis• le Van Wambeke, a Flemish painter and sculptor, welcomes guests with a warm and friendly smile while her companion, Andrew Bryan is busy at the ovens. After studying philosophy this Scotsman born in Canada went on to run a highly reputed restaurant in Scotland. When he met Gis• le she was seeking a way to combine her passion for art with the culinary art. The en-

Charm and authenticity of the restaurant gallery

counter was decisive and together they created the concept for this restaurant-gallery that is a hymn to genuine values. In the peace and tranquillity of the Saintonge countryside Andrew gives free rein to his inspiration, using vegetables from the garden and local markets, and the chickens he rears in the yard. He produces tasty family cooking that is influenced by the countries where he has lived. The menu, like the wine list, does not offer a very wide choice, but quality is the keyword. You can even stay overnight if it takes your fancy. 

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

Opened from Tuesday to Saturday.

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31 rue Principale Chagnon 17770 Aumagne Tel: +33 (0)5 46 33 04 22

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wHErE TO EaT aN iCECrEaM w

N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ l’aNgélyS

It is impossible to savour an ice cream in Charente-Maritime without mentioning Denis Lavaud. As a little boy Denis collected snails that he sold at the market to buy ice cream. Already a lover of fine fare, he never lost his passion for ice cream. Having studied dairy product processing, he developed his experience in the R&D department of Nestlé for nine years and became manager of the special pilot ice cream workshop. In 1996 he founded LÕ AngŽ lys and produced his own traditional ice creams, first selling them in the street from traditional-style carts. The product was excellent, but the distribution technique was not destined to make his enterprise a success. On the verge of liquidation, Denis Lavaud contacted the big supermarkets in the region, particularly E. Leclerc and the Coop Atlantique at Saintes. Confron-

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ted with the quality of his products, with no artificial colouring and no added flavours or preservatives, the two brands decided to support him by referencing his ice cream and sorbet ranges. In 2002 he inaugurated his own ice cream factory, complete with integrated laboratory, at Fontcouverte near Saintes. In 2003 he was awarded the very rare and prestigious diploma Maître Artisan Glacier de France. Today Denis Lavaud employs 21 people and LÕ AngŽ lys, the leading independent brand of ice cream in hypermarkets, makes 75% of its turnover from the supermarket network. He is now opening up on an international level, but while waiting for his products to reach your country you can already enjoy them in some pastry shops in the department or buy them when shopping in your local hypermarket. 

8 Quai DuperrŽ - 17000 La Rochelle 1, rue du marchŽ -17630 La Flotte en RŽ 36, rue Victor Hugo - 17100 Saintes Tel: +33 (0)5 46 92 07 84

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L 2011

Ernest le Glacier

If you havenÕ t eaten one of these at least once in your life, you haven’t lived! For the last year, two addresses near the harbour have been serving up the same delicious ice creams in an attempt to meet the ever-increasing demand. Behind this success we find two brothers, Freddy and Nicolas Babin, both ice-cream aficionados who inherited their concept of rigour and quality from their grandfather Ernest. Everything here is homemade and new and original flavours are introduced each year. Choose from a list of nearly 80 flavours. Perhaps you will be attracted by the sorbet of wild strawberries with marshmallow and violet or this yearÕ s innovations: slab of ice cream with AOC butter or with grilled Sicilian pistachios. The MŽditerr annŽenne is still our undisputed favourite: sorbet of blood oranges with crystallized figs and walnuts, which you can combine with the Corne de gazelle or the sorbet of black chocolate with spicy nougatine.

© Alexandra duca

THE ice-cream maker in La Rochelle.

16 rue du Port - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 50 55 60 48 cours des Dames - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 43 48 65

ernest le Glacier © Alexandra duca

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La Martinière Nobody can come to Saint-Martin de Ré without eating an ice cream at La Martini• re, at the harbour. Some people even come especially for that reason. This success hasnÕ t taken place overnight but the reason for such enduring popularity is that their ice creams and sorbets are of an outstanding quality. As well as the great classics, such as their “fleur de sel” & caramel ice cream, they add new flavours with incongruous names each year such as oyster and caviar, cactus flower, Camembert and cherry, Viagra and island potato. A smaller ice cream shop has just opened on the harbour in La Flotte.

17-19 quai de la Poithevini•r e - 17410 Saint-Martin de RŽ - Tel: +33(0)5 46 09 20 99

Confiserie Lopez Manuel Lopez belongs to an established family of confectioners who opened their first business in Cognac in 1924. Manuel has run the Royan business with his wife Catherine since 1989. He often changes the flavours of his ice creams with each new season. Our favourites were Florale (jasmine, violet, poppy & rose geranium) and Coffee-cardamom-vanilla-Sichuan pepper. Confiserie Lopez also sells caramels, barley sugar, marshmallow and their celebrated Ò ninichesÓ , a soft caramel speciality from Bordeaux.

16 Front de Mer - 17100 Royan - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 50 55 60

Le Parad’ice Christophe Klein learned the trade when working with renowned ice cream makers like LadurŽe and Pierre HermŽ. In 1998 he moved to Ch‰t elaillon. Since then he has built up a solid reputation in the region as a make of traditional-style ice-cream. He makes his ice creams and sorbets from natural products only and excludes all colouring agents. They come in a variety of sometimes surprising flavours, like the OCB (orange, carrot, bergamot), reflecting the season, trends and his own inspiration of the moment, but the result is always delicious. boulevard de la Mer - 17340 Ch‰t elaillon - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 30 00 13

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Régie publicitaire

île de Ré - La Rochelle

COM

- ÉDiTiOn n O i T A C i Mun

- RÉgiE

vÉnEME É E R i A T PubliCi

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19 av. Philippsburg - BP 43 - 17410 Saint-Martin de Ré Tél. 05 46 00 09 19 - rhea@rheamarketing.fr

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

prOduCTS Of THE TErrOir pr

The Cistercian monks who came to ële de RŽ in the 12C quickly realised that the islandÕ s different soil types, the influence of the Gulf Stream and

Served chilled at any time of year, this wonderfully refreshing beverage is most definitely worth sampling ! Another flagship product is

❱ wiNE lES VigNErONS dE l îlE dE ré plentiful sunshine (more than 2,600 hours a year) combined to create the ideal conditions for growing vines. At present, the vines occupy 650 hectares (1,606 acres) of land mostly in the southern part of the island and produce 35 000 to 40 000 hectolitres of wine a year, approximately equivalent to two million bottles. The distinguishing feature of this vineyard area is that half is planted with white grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Colombard and Ungni Blanc while the other half is given over to black grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Négrette. All the island’s grape growers belong to the UNIRE cooperative, an amalgamation with the islandÕ s other cooperative farmers (fruit & vegetable growers) dating from 2008. In recent years, much has been done to improve the quality of the wines produced and to the creation of some excellent Ò Vins de PaysÓ , including red, white and rosŽ Ò Soif dÕ ƒ vasionÓ and Ò Ultimium 2007Ó . The cooperativeÕ s signature product is nonetheless its white and rosŽ Ò Pineau IlrhŽ aÓ (from RhŽ a, the old name for RŽ ).

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“Rosé des Dunes”, a five-times prize winner in ten years. Grown on the islandÕ s light, sandy soils, it makes a great accompaniment to fish and grills. The remainder of the production includes still white, red and rosŽ wines, white and rosŽ sparkling wines and cognacs. Mellow gold and white tea in colour with vanilla aromas, their Ò 40¡ SudÓ cognac is very good served chilled as an aperitif. After dinner, a lightly warmed, caramel-coloured Ò Gouverneur VSOPÓ would be ideal, while the 3-star Ò GouverneurÓ can be used in cocktails or to flambé shrimps, lobster, bananas and cr• pes. Ò ële de Ré XO” and “Île de Ré Fine Island” have been specifically developed for the Maison Camus cognac firm. Winery visits can be arranged for groups at any time of year by priorarrangement, as well as in July and August at 10.30am and 3.30pm. Wine advisors and oenologists are available for advice and to organise tastings every day of the week. 

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Route de Sainte-Marie 17580 Le Bois Plage Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 23 09 Site : www.vigneronsiledere.com

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Fromagerie Richard Lefort Goat heaven ! There is a cheese dairy at Loix on ële de RŽ that is open to the public. Catherine and Richard Lefort own 200 goats, which have access to comfortable indoor stabling as well as outdoor yards where they can gambol and play because, in order for the cheese to be good, the goats need to be happy ! Much to the delight of most children, the dairy generally welcomes the public at milking times, when you will also be shown the different stages in the cheese-making process. They offer a range of cheeses at different stages of maturity, from fresh goatÕ s cheese, soft strained (cottage-type) cheese, some excellent hard and semi-hard cheeses and one or two made with “fleur de sel” or pepper, to an ash-coated log and Ò tommeÓ . Their products are sold at market in Bois-Plage, Ars and Les Portes en RŽ and served in good restaurants around the island.

Chemin du corps de garde - 17111 Loix - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 04 11

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“Les Régalades”

The first early potatoes to appear are much in demand, such that the UNIRÉ cooperative society, together with the islandÕ s community organisation and ële de RŽ Tourisme, organises every year a two-day event - Ò Les RŽ galadesÓ - to celebrate their arrival on the market. Throughout the event, local participating restaurants all propose one or more recipes using PDO Ò Pommes de Terre de lÕ ”le de RŽ Ó . On the same occasion, it is also worth stopping at the cooperatives in Bois Plage en RŽ and dÕ Ars-en-RŽ , where other local produce and products are on offer, including salt, oysters, wine, cognac, beer and jam. Cycle rides through the fields, salt marshes and vineyards are available too.

Information and reservations : Île de Ré Tourisme - BP 39 3, rue Père Ignace - 17410 Saint-Martin de Ré - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 00 64 93

❱ îlE dE ré Early pOTaTOES ële de RŽ produces an early potato the qualities of which were officially recognised in 1998, when it became the first potato to receive a French PDO (1) label. The islandÕ s mild climate, generous amounts of sunshine, unique growing conditions and natural environment are responsible for the very special flavour of this potato. To produce their 2,500 tonnes of precious tubers, 35 farmers cultivate 150 hectares (371 acres) by rotation within the 900-hectare (2,224 acres) PDO area. At one time, this attractive and delicious potato was the islandÕ s only true cash crop besides barley. It was not until the islandÕ s other early crops went into decline that any thought was given to its fate and it was decided to improve production methods by planting in the open ground, systematically monitoring dry matter content to ensure optimum taste and texture, and planting only in soils most likely to give the very best results. Its inimitable taste is regularly checked by an official tasting panel and monitored by the French

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PDO organisation, the Institut National des Appellations dOrigine et de la Qualité. To maintain their early-crop status, they must be harvested and sold before 31 July inclusive of the year of the harvest. There are two early-producing varieties, the first being the light yellow-fleshed Alcmaria, which arrives on the markets from mid-April. It has an almost melt-in-the-mouth texture and is wonderful when steamed. This is followed by the Charlotte variety, available from mid-May to the end of June. Its firm, yellow flesh means it can be cooked in a variety of waysÉ with a Ò racletteÓ , for example. New potatoes are more delicate than those intended for long storage and, to ensure they are at their best when eaten, should be kept in the dark and used at the most nine days after being picked and packed. 

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(1) PDO = “Protected Designation of Origin” European Union quality scheme

S.C.A. UNIRƒ Mara” chers de lÕ ële de RŽ Route de Sainte-Marie 17580 Le Bois Plage en RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 23 09

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© Incognito.fr

OYSTERS : a treat for the tastebuds There are 15,000 small, family-run businesses producing oysters in Charente-Maritime. Oyster farming is a difficult profession that demands great efforts and is entirely subject to the right weather conditions. Oysters are effectively Ò raisedÓ and it takes three years and many different handling operations before they can be farmed for eating. The last few months are the most important, when they are fattened and acquire their ultimate taste and texture. The flavour of an oyster depends on where and how it is fattened; very different qualities are thus obtained, reflected in the names given to the final product – “Fines”, “Fines de Claires” and “Spéciales”. “Fines” oysters are fattened at sea; “Fines de Claires” are fattened in clear water - that is, in old salt marshes where the clay-rich bottom imparts a certain hazelnut flavour. “Spéciales» are fattened in the marshes with particular attention given to providing them with copious amounts of food, giving them a dense flesh of outstanding quality. Whenever you are out and about on the islands of Ré and Oléron, you will find many places for making an impromptu stop to taste oysters, often served with a glass of local white wine. Alternatively of course, you can order them in many of the regionÕ s restaurants.

A rare delight for lovers of seafood Sea urchins are a refined delicacy that goes very well with any seafood platter. On the Ile de RŽ we have the good fortune to have the only sea urchin farm in France. In 2006 Yvan Le Gall and his wife Fabienne started to breed urchins and abalone in the PrŽ au oyster farming zone. The animals are fed exclusively with fresh algae, which makes them exceptionally tasty. You can ask to have them opened when you buy them but they will lose some of their freshness. Yvan gives all the instructions you need on how to open them correctly without crushing the shell and mixing it with the flesh. He also provides special little tools for the purpose. At LÕ Oursine you will also discover four urchin coral

preserves in brine (€17), cream of urchin (€17), urchin mousse with Ile de Ré cognac (€12) and abalone with dulse (€12), a seaweed that is much appreciated by abalone. These preserves go very well with buttered toast as an aperitif, a starter or an accompaniment for fish dishes. One important detail: although urchins are eaten raw and as fresh as possible, abalone is consumed cooked. The house provides recipes.

Zone OstrŽ icole Petit PrŽ au - 17630 La Flotte-en-RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 66 54 08 - Mob 06 79 98 17 33

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CoopŽ rative des Sauniers de lÕ ” le de RŽ Route de la PrŽ e 17590 Ars-en-RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 40 27 www.sel-de-mer.com

❱ SalT MarSHES Once again, it was the monks - although this time those from the powerful Abbaye de Saint-Michel-en-lÕ Herm - who were responsible for shaping the ële de RŽ landscape. Until the Middle Ages, ële de RŽ was made up of several smaller islands Ð RŽ , the largest, which corresponded to the south of the present-day island, together with the islets of Ars and Loix. Over time, alluvial deposits filled the channels between them, paving the way for the creation of the first salt marshes. In the early 11C, Guillaume le Grand gave the islets of Loix and Ars to the monks who tended the marshes on the mainland. However, salt harvesting only really got going in the 15C, reaching its peak in the 19C, when the marshes covered roughly

1,550 hectares (3,830 acres) - approximately 20% of the islandÕ s area - and produced 30,000 tonnes of salt. From 1850 onwards, the railways made it easier for competitors to transport their salt, with the resulting collapse of ële de RŽ salt prices. In the light of these difficulties, the island’s salt producers joined forces in 1942 to form the CoopŽ rative des Sauniers de lÕ ële de RŽ , based in Ars-en-RŽ . In the last ten years or so, there has been somewhat of a revival of activity, which now occupies 460 hectares (1,137 acres), produces 2500 tonnes of salt and has enabled a number of young producers to set up in business. The storage, packing and sale of coarse, fine and seasoned salt, as well as the now worldfamous “fleur de sel”, the very finest salt skimmed from the surface.  Photos © Incognito.fr

“White gold” in the salt marshes

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❱ Visiting the salt marshes.

The salt marshes take your breath away with their unbelievable beauty. Because of the sky’s constantly changing reflections and light playing on the salt water, amateur and professional photographers alike spend hours trying to capture the slightest change. The marshes are also a haven for the local flora and fauna. Jean-Michel Arnoult organises canoe trips starting from Loix that last two hours and provide a completely unique way of seeing the marshes.

Information : Absolument Cano‘ - Jean-Michel Arnault : Tel: +33 (0)6 08 31 44 01 Office de Tourisme - Place du Marché - 17111 Loix - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 07 91 HOLIDAYn2-8.indd 47

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Le jardin de Lydie

N°2 APRIL 2011

Everything always goes back to a family story! For Lydie it all comes from the land she inherited from her family, where decided to cultivate fruit as naturally as possible Ð all her red fruit is organically grown. And her grandmotherÕ s grocery is the main local outlet for her products. The inimitable flavour of her jams comes from the proportions: 70% fruit and 30% sugar instead of the 50/50 that the industry has accustomed us to. More fruit therefore more flavour, but it has to be prepared in 4-kg batches and it is also more difficult to get the preparation to gel. Alongside this range, she also created jams for diabetics with 70% fruit and 30% fructose, using a recent technique for extracting the fructose from the fruit, and reusing it to produce jam that is 100% fruit. Mara des Bois is one of the great classics but we have a soft spot for her Christmas jams, and apricot and lavender is still our favourite. But jams are just one aspect of what we can find in this boutique. Lydie makes natural crystallized fruit, jellies, chutneys and syrups and, to escape from sweet things for a while, she suggests blends of flavours and accompaniments for meat, cheese, foie gras and fish, which she presents in written form. Then all you have to do is put them to the test. A good example is the candied fennel with a JonchŽ e (a sort of soft fresh cheese), a dab of cr• me fraiche and a drop of cognac!

23 rue de lÕ ƒ glise - 17580 Le Bois Plage en RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 40 41 - www.lejardindelydie.com

Biscuiterie de Ré

After a very fulfilling professional life, Daniel Vallégeas created La Biscuiterie de Ré a little more than ten years ago. His biscuits are typical of the island because they use the fleur de sel from the island and are very popular. Tradition and authenticity are keywords when speaking of his work. He took the RŽ sablŽ (shortbread biscuit) added algae, and transformed it into a marine sablŽ that works well as an aperitif or dessert. The range of croquants or crunchy biscuits, almond-hazelnut and chocolate, has been extended to include a sunny croquant with orange and lemon zest and coconut. His boutique also offers old-style, pure-almond macaroons, south-west France pastries whose origins date back to the Middle Ages, the traditional Be dÕ Am (melt-in-the-mouth goodness with bitter almonds and butter), the Galette Charentaise with angelica (winner of a bronze medal in 2007), the BroyŽ and the chefÕ s special oven batches with lemon cakes and a sort of gingerbread. Different types of packaging allow enable these delights to travel without losing any of their freshness. You can find these products directly at the La Biscuiterie de Ré boutique, in stores that sell regional products and in Marin bakeries, but also in supermarkets.

Zac des ClŽmor inants - La Noue - 17740 Sainte-Marie de RŽ - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 43 89 06

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© Biscuiterie de ré

A reputation to match your love of food

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Charente-Maritime was already producing mustard seeds in the 19th century. And the city of La Rochelle is represented on an 1852 map of gastronomic products in the form of a mustard pot. Jer™ me Dumoulin has perpetuated the tradition at Gourvillette since 1998. Having trained as a chef and pastry maker, he went on to develop a range of products that are typical of the region: mustards, oil, aromatic salt, jams and onion preserves. His talents have not gone unnoticed: in 1999 he won the Ç Saveur PoitouCharentes» accolade at the regional products competition with his curry mustard and cider vinegar with honey, and in 2008 the Chamber of Trades awarded him the title Master Mustard Maker. His products are available online but if you pay him a visit you will also discover his aromatic herb garden with more than 150 plants that he cultivates to aromatize his products, but also for the pleasure. www.moutarderiecharentaise.com

5 rue de lÕancienne bas cule - 17490 Gourvillette (pr•s de Matha) - Tel +33 (0)5 46 26 19 33

© moutarderie Charentaise

La Moutarderie Charentaise

Les Délices de l’Estuaire If you find yourself in this neck of Charente-Maritime, es Délices de l’Estuaire is a must. Alain Lococq has worked as a baker and pastry maker in different parts of the region for the last thirty-five years. Smitten by the charm of the estuary, he created a workshop for regional specialities that is unique in Charente-Maritime. We can observe him at work from outside, but visitors are also welcome inside. It is here that, day after day, he produces his Croquants de lÕ Estuaire, an update on an ancestral recipe, of which the Chail is a natural extension. The Chail is known in the region, though not much outside it. Its rustic exterior coated with crushed hazelnuts belies a melt-in-the-mouth heart of white chocolate ganache. The G‰ topineau is another of AlainÕ s creations: it combines the local pineau wine and grapes with a light pastry cake. The G‰ topineau was awarded the 2009 Mention SpŽ ciale by the jury of the Poitou Charentes «Saveurs Régionales» competition.

Alain Lecoq - Les DŽlices de lÕEs tuaire - 17120 Talmont-sur-Gironde - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 96 31 44

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N°2 APRIL 2011

© Alpha Studio

❱ THE

THE WINE

The Charente vins de pays came into existence in the 80s. Following a crisis caused by a drop in cognac sales, the vineyards turned their focus to wine production. The cognac crisis is over but wine production profited from the difficult period. The Charente vins de pays come from a geographical origin, limited solely to Charente and CharenteMaritime. To avail of this appellation, the wines must

THE COGNAC

The cognac vineyard stretching from CharenteMaritime to the Deux-S• vres via Charente is one of the last great vineyards to still produce spirits, unlike the Bordeaux vineyards to the south. Six grand crus share this region. Beginning at the Atlantic coast, we have the Bons Bois cru, the Bois Ordinaires cru, along a line linking Saint-Jean dÕ AngŽ ly to Saintes we find the Fins Bois cru, with the Borderie cru in the region of Saintes, then in the region forming a triangle between Saintes, Jonzac and Cognac, the Petite Champagne cru and, lastly, around and to the south of Cognac, the Grand Champagne cru, which represents the holy of holies for this vineyard.

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ViNEyardS Of

be made from the following grape varieties. Black varieties: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot Noir, Gamay and Pinot Noir. White varieties: Arriloba, Chardonnay, Chenin, Colombard, FolleBlanche, Muscadelle, Sauvignon, Semillon and Ugni Blanc. The white wines are dry and light, perfect for accompanying seafood. The rosŽ wines are fresh and fruity and go down well on all occasions. And the quality of the red wines has fortunately improved in recent years. The Charente vins de pays are produced by independent wine-growers and cooperatives scattered throughout the department. Wherever you happen to be in the department, the local tourism offices will be able to provide you with information concerning wine-growers who receive visitors for tasting sessions. 

Cognac is best enjoyed when already old. Here are some tips to help you through the forest of labels: Three stars or VS indicates that the cognac is at least two years old VSOP or RŽ serve means that it is at least four years old, but this category also includes ten and twelve yearold cognacs Vieille Réserve, Grande Réserve, Royal, Vieux, XO, Napoleon and Extra indicate that the cognac is at least six years old, but some can be up to 20 or 40 years old. 

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C


© Comité du Pineau

Pineau des Charentes is best enjoyed chilled

CHarENTE

It makes a very pleasant aperitif but can also be served with melon, foie gras or goatÕ s cheese, all of which are produced in the Charente department. It is often said that local wines should be consumed with local products and this dictum holds true for all regions. Pineau is a liqueur wine that is regulated by an Appellation dÕ Origine Contr™ lŽ e (AOC) that imposes strict rules for production. There is no Pineau without cognac because it is produced in the region that is identified for cognac and obtained by mutage of the grape must with the help of cognac only. A liqueur wine is a «mutage» wine i.e. it is obtained by adding eau-de-vie to the grape must. Cognac is the eau-de-vie in our region. There are a great variety of pineaus: white and rosŽ (white pineau is aged in oak casks for at least 12 months and rosé for eight months); old pineau is aged for five years and very old for ten years. When you visit local wine-growers to taste their products you will quickly realize that there is not one but several pineaus and almost every producerÕ s pineau is unique. So donÕ t hesitate to visit several producers in different communes in the department. You will also learn that pineau is used in many dishes and pastries. 

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

f

Pineau des Charentes

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Maxime Pinard The Pinard family in the north canton of the Ile dÕ OlŽ ron have been making wine since 1889. Their reputation is based on the quality of their vintages, they are passionate about wine-making and know how to combine traditional and modern techniques. They produce red and white pineau and an old pineau that is excellent with foie gras, young cognacs to drink as an aperitif, as well as old Napoleon and XO cognac, best as a digestif, not to mention their cocktails, fruit liqueurs and red, white and rosŽ vins de pays. Maxime Pinard recently added new additions to the list of Pinard specials: OlŽ ron beer with cognac, or «NapOléron», and a Vodka made from local grapes. His products are distributed all over the island but if you have time you should pay him a visit. He will be only too pleased to take you around his vineyard and show you a video presenting the domain and its different products.

An inventive wine-grower and producer

Vignoble Les Alleti•r es - 17840 La BrŽe les Bains - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 36 04 25

Natural beer from Île de Ré

11 Zac des ClŽmor inants - La Noue - 17740 Sainte-Marie-de-RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 43 82 63

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

Anne-Laure and Arnaud Roy took over this business six years ago and have increased production (around 300,000 bottles a year). They have an enthusiastic and professional approach to brewing and selling their Ò natural beerÓ , which is free fromcolouring, preservatives and added sugar. The only ingredients they use are barley and wheat malts, hops, yeast they make themselves and water. In their first three years of business, they introduced Ò La Blanche de RŽ Ó (fruity), Ò La DŽ ferlanteÓ (cereal, fruit and plant aromas) and Ò LÕ ƒ cume de RŽ Ó (coffee and spice notes). They have since added Ò La Blanche AmbÕ RŽ Ó (honey and caramel notes), Ò La Blonde de RŽ Ó (caramel with a touch of citrus) and Ò La Blanche de RŽ BioÓ (wheat aromas), made with organic ingredients. This traditional craft brewery has a reputation for the quality of its products and Ò La Blanche de RŽ Ó has won prizes in several national beer and agricultural competitions. You can find these great beers throughout the region and even buy them directly from the brewery for drinking at your leisure while reminiscing about your holidays.

© Bières de ré

Bières de Ré

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wHErE TO play gOlf w iN CHarENTE-MariTiME ❱ AS Golfeurs Pays Rochefortais 1608 route ImpŽr iale 17450 Saint-Laurent de la PrŽe Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 84 56 36

❱ ASPF La Jarne

Route de Pique Fesse - 17220 La Jarne Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 56 61 04

❱ Golf de la Prée La Rochelle 17137 Marsilly Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 01 24 42 www.golflarochelle.com

❱ Golf Club de Montendre

Route de Honda - 17130 Montendre Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 49 40 31

❱ Golf Club d’Oléron

La Vieille Perrotine - 17310 Saint-Pierre Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 47 11 59

❱ Golf de Royan

Maine Gaudin - 17420 Saint Palais sur Mer Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 23 16 24 www.golfderoyan.com

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❱ Golf de Saintonge

Fontcouverte - 17100 Saintes Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 74 27 61

❱ Golf de Trousse Chemise

Route de la LevŽe Verte - 17880 Les Portes en RŽ Isle of RŽ Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 29 69 37

Look after your health. Drink moderately

❱ Golf du Château de la Vallade

Ch‰t eau de la Vallade - 17250 Saint Porchaire Tel: 33 +(0)5 46 94 23 54

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llifE ON THE îlE dE ré

N°2 APRIL 2011

The great outdoors

❱ pEdal pOwEr ële de RŽ is known for being a cyclistÕ s paradise and, in summer, the humble bicycle has even become the main form of transport around the island.

More and more cycles tracks An increasing number of cycle tracks have been marked out over the years, so that they now cover some hundred kilometres in all. You can get a map that shows them from any of the island’s tourist offices. There’s no need to worry if you havenÕ t brought your own bike with you on holiday; there are plenty of hire places with a good selection of bikes to choose from (touring, sport, tandems, coupled adult-child tandems and tricycles). Even if you have very young children, you can still take them along as you can hire an adult bike with a fitting to tow a small carriage behind it. To fin a hirer, just ask at your hotel, campsite reception or in a tourist office.

Five main cycling itineraries Five main itineraries are indicated on the cycling maps : • The country route (13.9km) from SaintMartin to La Couarde via Le Bois-Plage • The coastal route (17.5km) from SaintMartin to Loix via La Couarde. • The historic route (22km) from Sablanceaux to Sainte-Marie via Rivedoux, La Flotte and Saint-Martin • The marsh route (18km) from La Couarde to Les Portes via Ars and Saint-ClŽm ent.

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Photos © Incognito.fr

• The forest route (10km) These five itineraries are basic circuits. Professional guide Josette Conesa, who has cycled the length and breadth of the island for a number of years, has tried and tested some more unusual circuits, which you can find described in Ò LÕ ”le de RŽ ˆ vŽl oÓ (1)

If, however, you have a mishap when out cycling, call 112, 18 (“pompiers” - fire brigade), 17 (Ò gendarmerieÓ - police) or 15 (Ò SamuÓ mobile emergency medical service). When you set off, be sure to know the alphanumerical code of the cycle track you are using; this will allow help to reach you more quickly and, if you cycle at night, donÕ t forget to use your lights and wear reflective clothing. 

(1) Ò LÕ ”le de RŽ ˆ vŽ lo, 5 balades inŽ ditesÓ , Geste Editions Ð sold in local newsagent shops.

Safety first To reduce the risk of accidents in summer, when there are many cyclists on the road, please be sure to abide by the highway code, preferably cycle in single file and keep to the right-hand side, as cycle tracks are for use in both directions. When in villages, please refrain from going the wrong way up one-way streets.

© AlphaStudio

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The Greatoutdoors

N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ ExplOriNg THE iSlaNd ON HOrSEBaCk Les Écuries de l’Abbaye

This centre also offers rides to explore the island, as well as other activities such as classes and competitions for its riders. Les Grands Bois - 17630 La Flotte-en-Ré Tel: +33 (0)5 46 01 56 65

Équipassion

OwnersÕ stables where great care is taken of horses stabled there. Like the other centres, treks and rides are also organised. Chemin des Essarts - 17630 La Flotte-en-Ré Tel: +33 (0)6 83 36 79 83

La Petite Écurie du Marais © Incognito.fr

Another way of exploring ële de RŽ is on horseback ; it is always a special treat to get in the saddle and ride along the beach at sunrise or sunset ! Le Haras des Evi• res in the south of the island has good-quality equipment and horses for beginners to more experienced riders as well as stabling facilities. Their classes, courses and rides are designed for all ages and levels of ability.

Haras des Evières

17580 Le Bois-Plage - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 10 48

Les Écuries du Moulin Moreau

The area surrounding these stables is a classified natural site, making it a wonderful place for riding between the vines and forests, as well as along the shores of the island. Numerous riding activities are offered or considered, depending on demand. Les Duranci• res Route de La Noue - 17630 La Flotte-en-Ré Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 32 34

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With 47 hectares of land, this is the islandÕ s largest riding centre. It is also in a wonderful location right next to the Lilleau des Niges nature reserve. Owner Teddy Moreau organises rides by the hour or day for 8 to 10 riders. He likes to take people on new and unusual trails that are still relatively unexplored, either in the marshes or on the beach, either early in the morning or in the evening from 8pm to 10pm. Route de Saint-ClŽ ment - 17590 Ars en RŽ Tel: +33 (0)6 16 46 08 89

Le Centre Équestre de Ré

Route des Portes - 17590 Saint-ClŽ ment des Baleines - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 46 48

Les 4 Fers en l’Air

Joëlle Franrenet runs this smaller riding centre with a more personal touch where she organises rides for those with a genuine concern for the natural environment. Before any ride, time is spent making sure the rider gets to know the horse. 8 chemin du Peu Pinson 17740 Sainte-Marie Tel: + 33 (0)5 16 19 75 63

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❱ lillEau dES NigES Occupying part of the Fier d’Ars, the Lilleau des Niges nature reserve is CharenteMaritimeÕ s foremost wild bird sanctuary. ële de RŽ stands at a migratory crossroads between Europe and North Africa; this is for a variety of reasons, including climate and the supply of food available to birds in the marshes. Many birds therefore stop on the island and a sanctuary was created for them on former marshes in 1980. There are two parts to the reserve Ð one of 121 hectares, to which access is forbidden at all times of year, the other of 115 hectares, to which access is strictly controlled. Constant maintenance of the sanctuary is necessary and provided by two associations Ð the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) and the Association de Sauvegarde des Sites des Portes-en-RŽ (ASSIP). 320 species of birds (almost half of European species) have been sited stopping over on the island. In winter, you can admire brent geese, Eurasian curlews and Eurasian oystercatchers; in the spring, it is easier to spot pied avocets, black-winged stilts and common shelducks, of the Passeriforme order with feet adapted for perching.

Welcoming visitors to this fragile environment is a permanent concern for the siteÕ s managers and the Maison du Fier was opened to heighten public awareness about the delicate balance of life for the birds in the reserve. This nature information centre has been set up in an old salt store, where there are exhibitions, video showings and interactive terminals on the flora and fauna. Nature workshops for children and trips with eco-guides are also organised Ð booking is obligatory and such trips are organised for groups of no more than 20 people. It is best to contact the Maison du Fier beforehand as these outings depend on the life cycles of the birds : from September to midApril, high tide is the time for admiring the birds. From the end of April to July, the birds are nesting in the marshes and it is best to go early in the morning or in the evening. 

a paradise

for birds at

portes-en-ré

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Photos © LPo Lilleau des niges

Maison du Fier Le Vieux Port - 17880 Les Portes en RŽ Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 29 50 74

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Photos © Incognito.fr

aNCiENT BuildiNgS aNC

❱ CHâTEliErS aBBEy Devastated by the Norman incursions from at the height of its power, when monks of which it recovered slowly, it wasnÕ t until the noble birth lived separately from the lay broarrival of the Cistercian monks who founthers, the poor peasant monks ! As it stands ded the abbey of Notrenow, this is a magnificent Dame-des-Ch‰ teliers and unbelievably roman(better known these days tic spot. The Maison du For guided tours, as the Abbaye des Ch‰te Platin in La Flotte contains contact the Maison du Platin liers) in 1152 that ële de displays of objects found RŽ began to develop its during excavations at the 4 cours FŽ lix Faure in La Flotte principal commercial acabbey.  Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 61 39 tivities, namely salt and wine. Under the leadership of Isaac de lÕƒtoile, who was forced to leave his monastery because of Henri II (Henry Plantagenet) and came to settle at Le Breuil du Chastelier, the Cistercian monks, who placed great importance on manual labour, contributed greatly to the islandÕ s economic development with vine growing, cereal and vegetable farming, fishing, hunting, soil improvement and the harnessing of water resources whilst at the same time re-shaping the landscape. Originally built in Romanesque style in the 12C and restored in the Gothic style in the 15C after being damaged during the English invasions, the buildings were again destroyed during the Wars of Religion and the monks abandoned the abbey in 1575. Although the buildings are damaged, it is still possible to imagine what the abbey was like

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N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ THE CHurCH iN SaiNT-MarTiN dE ré

Built in the 11C or 12C, not much remains of the original Romanesque building because Saint-Martin-de-RŽ Õ s church has suffered greatly from all manner of afflictions, including hostilities between the French and English, Catholics and Protestants, the Anglo-Dutch bombardments and the French Revolution. It was rebuilt a number of times, only to see its tower collapse in 1774. A decision was then made to completely change the orientation of the choir. Rebuilt in the 18C and 19C, this church thus bears many scars from the past. The oldest parts date back to the 15C and its square tower, characteristic of the fortified churches of

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the Aunis and Saintonge provinces, is reminiscent of English churches. The interior is interesting with an altar of Byzantine inspiration and a monument to a group of nonjuring priests who were deported between 1798 and 1801. It is possible, and even recommended, to climb the tower (117 steps) because the view from the top is absolutely superb. As you go up, you can admire the three bells that ring out over Saint-Martin : Marie-ThŽ r• se which rings in D, Charles Catherine which rings in E and Marie Pierre Michel Samuel which rings in F !  Church of Saint-Martin de RŽ open all year for unguided visits.

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Photos © Incognito.fr

❱ a TOwN fOrTifiEd By VauBaN From the sky, Saint-Martin looks like a star, which is a characteristic sign of VaubanÕ s fortifications. But, who was this man Vauban ? SŽ bastien Le Prestre, the marquess of Vauban (1633-1707) was a remarkable man of many talents who was an engineer, military architect, town planner, hydraulic engineer and essayist. Vauban protected France with a series of citadels which, apart from Lille, resisted assault throughout Louis XIVÕ s reign. With subsequent improvements in the principles and methods of artillery fire, the citadels became obsolete; their role had consisted of mobilising large numbers of the adversaryÕ s forces but they were not unassailable. Twelve of Vauban’s fortified buildings have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Saint-Martin-de-RŽ in 2008. Saint-Martin’s first fortress was built in 1627. In 1674, Vauban chose the site of Saint-Martin to build his citadel because of its central location on the island and because there was already a fortress there. in 1681, he re-used the site to build a citadel with wide town

walls to protect the inhabitants and their livestock in the event of an enemy invasion and to protect the harbour. Work continued until 1684.

id

ppiNg

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It is now considered to be the finest example of anisland stronghold. 

For guided tours of the fortifications, contact : Office de Tourisme de Saint-Martin, 2 quai Nicolas Baudin, 17410 Saint-Martin de RŽ Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 20 06

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N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ lE pHarE dES BalEiNES

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a lighthouse and beacon museum was set up in the former lighthouse keepersÕ school building at the foot of the old tower. 

Le Phare des Baleines at the tip of the island on the road from Saint-ClŽ ment des Baleines to Les Portes Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 18 23

Photos © Incognito.fr

With Cordouan and Chassiron (ële dÕOlŽ ron), the Phare des Baleines (lighthouse of the whales), standing at the western tip of ële de RŽ, is one of the three oldest lighthouses in France. Dating from 1682, it was built at a time when Colbert was developing the port of Rochefort and working on the defence of the kingÕ s navy in the entire area stretching as far as Brittany. The tip of the island was already known as the Pointe des Baleines in the 17C because of the number of cetaceans found stranded there. The present lighthouse, which replaced the original one built in 1682 and which can still be seen behind, dates from 1849. 57 metres in height, it has a beautiful, 257-step spiral staircase made of blue granite from Kersanton. It was equipped with electricity in 1882 and a radio beacon in 1928. Now semi-automatic, it flashes four times every 15 seconds and can be seen up to 27 nautical miles away. From the top of its platform, the view of the VendŽe coastline, the islands of Aix and Oléron and Fort-Boyard is absolutely stunning when the weather is good. It canÕ t be visited at night but, if youÕ re in the area, stop a while under the beams of light that silently sweep the sky and youÕll experience an impression of eternity. In 2007,

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CulTural aNd arTiSTiC lifE Cul

Musee Ernest Cognacq Ernest-Cognacq and Hôtel de Clerjotte

The H™ tel de Clerjotte is in fact home to the Ernest Cognacq museum, H™ tel de Clerjotte is a 16C stately home inspired by the Renaissance style. Recently, a new wing was added and the gardens rehabilitated. The building, was listed as an historic monument in 1929 and is well worth a visit, all the more so at the moment because of an exhibition that is remarkable as much for the quality of the objects on display as for the scenography, the subject of which is the isle of Ré, and its inhabitants since Neolithic considered throught five major themes.

© Incognito.fr

13 avenue Victor Bouthillier - 17410 Saint-Martin-de-RŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 21 22

Écomusée du Marais Salant The salt marsh ecomuseum

In an outstanding location to the north of ële de RŽ at Loix is an ecomuseum devoted to the salt marshes that is open to the public all year. After visiting the exhibition depicting the history of the salt marshes and the methods of producing salt, a guide uses a model to explain the hydraulic process at work and takes visitors out into the marshes where they can see salt harvesting and preparatory work in the marshes as well as admirng the flora. Fleur de sel (surface-skimmed premium-quality sea salt), marsh samphire (salicornia) and books on salt production and harvesting are on sale in the museum. © AlphaStudio

17111 Loix - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 29 06 77 - www.marais-salant.com

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La Maison du Platin This place is devoted to island and maritime life on RŽ in the 19C and 20C and to the folk and maritime traditions of La Flotte and the villages in and around the straits of ële de RŽ . Worth noting is the Nemours-Bonin collection, named after a photographer(1873-1956) who lived in La Flotte and left a large number of photos depicting local life and folklore.

4, cours FŽlix F aure - 17630 La Flotte - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 09 61 39

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❱ aTEliEr QuillET A treasure trove of old books Situated in the craft village of Loix, Atelier Quillet decided to open to the public from the 2010 Easter holidays in order to promote its expertise in restoring and hand-binding old books and documents. Such highly specialised skills are becoming increasingly rare and, of the 2,000 bookbinders in activity in 1987, there are now fewer than 450. Only three of these workshops, including Atelier Quillet, which was designated a Ô living heritage companyÕ (Ò Entreprise du Patrimoine VivantÓ ) in 2007, are of national importance. Atelier Quillet has over twenty years’ experience in this domain and employs thirty or so specialists in binding, restoration and gilding. Guided tours are available by prior arrangement on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2pm and 3.15pm. These times correspond to the most interesting periods of activity from the point of view of novices to the activity. The cost is €3 per person, or €2 per person as part of a group of at least 15 people.

travel log or for sketches, it will be available in different sizes, bound in premium-quality cloth or leather and personalised using a bookbinderÕ s brass. Prices : from €5 to €15, depending on the size and type of binding. The bookshop, which has been completely reorganised and modernised, displays and sells old books and documents as well as some very beautiful types of paper, including some rare Japanese paper from a special source. 

Village Artisanal 7 Chemin du Corps de Garde, 17111 Loix-en-RŽ Tel : +33 (0)5 46 29 04 25

The company is simultaneously launching a premium-quality souvenir product which will be entirely made by hand in the workshop. Perfect for writing notes and memos, as a

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Life in Charente-Maritime â?ą la rOCHEllE The city of La Rochelle did not really flourish until the 12th century, thanks mainly to the fact that Chatelaillon fell to the dukes of Aquitaine in 1131. It obtained its charter as a commune, which freed it from all forms of feudal protection. At about the same time, with the vineyards being developed by the Cistercian and Cluny monks, the people of La Rochelle became sailors in order to deliver their products to the North of Europe. They were thus exposed to the ideas of the Reformation. Huguenots progressively began to settle there and developed maritime trade. Louis XIV did not appreciate the growing power of La Rochelle and sent a governor to keep law and order. The citizens were offended by this gesture and this led to the first siege of La Rochelle in 1572, which was less murderous than the next siege in 1628, which lasted more than a year and saw some 20,000 die of hunger. It took La Rochelle some time to recover. A considerable share of its population preferred to emigrate rather than convert to Catholicism. Slowly the city began to rise from its ruins, Vauban fortified it and it prospered from the triangular trade of slaves and the fur trade with Canada. It experienced a veritable boom all through the 18th century, with the construction of private residences that we can still admire in the city centre. However, the

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ban on slave trading caused it to decline and the city did not prosper again until the early 20th century, with the construction of a port capable of receiving trawlers with a large capacity or tonnage. It developed its fishing activities and created the largest marina in Europe at Les Minimes. In the last thirty years the city has hosted major events like Le Grand Pavois boat show in September and the Francofolies in July, which have made the city a major regional attraction. There is no shortage of cultural attractions, with many museums and lots of cultural events in season. Go for a stroll through the city centre and soak up the architecture and spirit of the city, then pass under the great clock to the port where many restaurants await you. Before you do anything else, be sure to visit the Office de Tourisme where you can learn about the different types of passes for public transport and which entitle you to preferential rates in the museums. ď Ą

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Office de Tourisme de la Rochelle 2 quai Georges Simenon 17000 La Rochelle Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 31 71 71

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N°2 APRIL 2011

© AlphaStudio

❱ THE QuarTiErS In La Rochelle there are quartiers with different atmospheres where you have to walk with your eyes looking upward to admire the architecture and soak up the cityÕ s past. This is the case for the districts described below.

The old market quartier La RochelleÕ s current covered market was built in 1836 after the municipality had spent two centuries wondering where to locate it. There is a market in the halle every day and twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, traders set up stands in the neighbouring streets. This is one of the oldest parts of La Rochelle and if you examine the houses around the halle, you will realize that they date back to the Middle Ages with their half-timbering and slates. The small streets leading away from the market place have come to life in the last decade with excellent little restaurants and fashionable clothes or décor boutiques. You will find boutiques scattered all along the rue des Merciers or the rue Saint-Yon leading to the Place de lÕ H™ tel de Ville (an absolute must). Here you are in La RochelleÕ golden triangle. If you take the rue du Temple, a pedestrian street where the Knights Templars settled in rich residences in the 12th century, it will lead you to the Porte de la Grosse-Horloge where you will find typical La Rochelle arcades that protected the good bourgeoisie of the 18th century from the rain !

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The old port Across from you, the three towers of La Rochelle : the Saint Nicolas tower, the Lanterne tower and the Tour de la Cha”ne guard the entrance to the port. The Tour de la Cha”ne, whose name derives from the chain that was pulled to prevent boats from entering the port, has a permanent La Rochelle-Quebec exhibition in honour of Samuel Champlain, born in Brouage, who founded the city of Quebec in 1608. If you follow the Cour des Dames you will find restaurants side by side offering seafood, mussels and French fries, and fish at a very fair price. At the end of the Cour des Dames you will find the rue Saint-Jean du Perrot, which is entirely devoted to restaurants, some of them very good, with nonetheless a North African grocery that stays open until midnight. Opposite you, on the other side of the harbour, which you can reach by boat with the electric passeur that takes you across the channel for the modest sum of €0.60 (leaving from the quay at the end of the Cour des Dames and which accepts bicycles), is the Ville-en-bois, the Gabut, the old fishing district that was renovated in 1989 and whose wooden houses are remi-

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niscent of San Francisco’s piers. The many terraces of the cafŽ s and little restaurants installed outdoors in the shade of the trees afford a fine view of the harbour.

seat in the sun at BrunoÕ s and JulieÕ s (La Solette CafŽ ) for a coffee (or more Ð itÕ s a great place for a friendly lunch) and learn all you want to know about the quartier.

Le quartier Saint-Nicolas

Les Minimes Marina

This old fishing district is much appreciated by the people of La Rochelle, particularly the young. The nightlife here is lively, with many bars, including one Irish pub, The General Hum-

At the extreme tip of La Rochelle, after the universities and the LycŽ e Hotelier, is the largest marina in Europe : 3,200 berths at the moment and another 1000 in 2011. To get there, take the sea

bertÕ s and the Cave de la Guignette, much appreciated by young people as a «before» bar ! The Bohemian life can be found in these few streets with their architecture that is very different from old La Rochelle, particularly the absence of arcades. Several galleries exhibit artists, secondhand booksellers display old books and the fashionable boutiques have their share of surprises in store. At 31 rue Saint Nicolas you will find Terre et Vendanges, run by a discerning wine merchant who knows how to find excellent little estate wines at an interesting price. When you reach the Place de la Solette, take a

bus from the vieux port (departure next to the electric passeur). ItÕ s about a twenty-minute ride.

Parks La Rochelle has many green spaces, the largest being the Parc Charruyer, now in the centre of the city, where the old ramparts used to stand. It is one of the places to visit in season. People go there for their morning run, to cycle on the cycle paths, for picnics with the kids or just for a stroll and a breath of fresh air. It is both literally and metaphorically, the lung of La Rochelle. 

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Offbeat night walks round La Rochelle Les Rondes de nuit (the night watches) are an interesting way to discover the old city of La Rochelle. Every Thursday from June 17 to September 16, set out at nightfall in the footsteps of a night watchman who will show you a selection of offbeat places not usually open to the public as he recounts the history of the city. The route is punctuated with historical characters dressed in period costumes. Departure at 8 : 30 p.m. – 9 : 00 p.m. or 9 : 30 p.m. except Thursday July 15 on the occasion of the Francofolies festival. There are a limited number of places so it is essential to reserve in advance.

Office de Tourisme - 2 quai Georges Simenon - 17000 La Rochelle Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 14 68 - www.larochelle-tourisme.com

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The Ocean in the heart of the city

N°2 APRIL 2011

The La Rochelle aquarium is located near the vieux port. A whopping 8,045m2, it exhibits more than 10,000 animals from 500 different species in over 3,000m3 of water, of which 1,500m3 are for the shark basin. More than 900,000 visitors each year. The aquarium belongs to the Coutant group and is the largest in France and one of the largest private aquariums in Europe. It consists of different spaces, each with its own atmosphere : Atlantic, Mediterrean, Indo-Pacific, Caribbean, lagoon and tropical. The layout of the entrance reminds us of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo’s famous submarine and the exit necessarily takes us through the tall tropical hothouse. The restaurant at the top of the aquarium building has a spectacular view of La Rochelle harbour and also overlooks the tropical hothouse. The ground floor bookshop has a range of interesting videos organized around everyday life in the aquarium, how the animals are fed and cared for, and the general maintenance of the aquarium. Aquarium - Bassin des Grands Yachts - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 34 00 00

Musée Maritime The Maritime Museum consists of three boats moored at the quay : the France 1, a meteorological frigate; LÕ Angoumois, a stern trawler, and the Saint Gilles, a tug. The France 1 was transformed into a museum when it came to the end of its career. The visit takes you from the engine room to the bridge while many meteorologists and scientists continue to work. In season you can admire the view while eating or drinking on the deck. LÕ Angoumois introduces you to life on board this trawler that sailed on 12-day trips where the work of the sailors was dictated by the trawl.

Quai SŽnac de Meilhan - Bassin des Chalutiers - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 28 03 00

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Museum d’Histoire Naturelle The museum reopened in October 2007 after a series of renovations lasting ten years. In an exhibition area of 2300m2 you will discover zoology, botany, geology, ethnography and archaeology with the help of 10,000 precious testaments to biodiversity and cultural diversity. In the zoology gallery you can see the famous giraffe Zarafa, a gift from the Egyptian Pasha Mehmet Ali to King Charles X in 1826 and the first giraffe to tread on French soil. A new interior design retains all the charm and beauty of the 300-year-old edifice. After visiting the museum buildings, take a stroll through the Jardin des Plantes, or botanical gardens, amidst vegetal species from the four corners of the world.

28 rue Albert 1er - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 18 25

A magical world for young and old Side by side in the Ville-en-bois, two very successful museums to charm young and old a like : the first is devoted to automatons and the second to scale models of trains, trucks and cars.

Musée des Automates More than 300 automatons with impeccable costumes, the oldest, like «les clowns mains à mains» or «l’acrobate au chapeau» dating back to 1890, others like the «joueur de vielle» to 1900, 1905 for «la coquette», and, old but with no precise date : «le fumeur de Narguilé». Historical characters and advertising figures, animated shop windows destined to attract the public or created for big stores at Christmas, they are all different, yet we never tire of watching them go through their routines. Another great attraction in this museum is the reconstitution of a Montmartre quartier at the beginning of the 20th century, through which we wander as we watch the overhead metro pass. A total success !

Musée des Modèles réduits

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© office de tourisme de La rochelle

Is every bit as fascinating as its neighbour but with an added attraction for children : a little train that conveys them round the museum building at regular intervals. Here we find models of legendary cars like the Rolls Royce Torpedo Phantom II built for the Rajkot Maharajah in 1934. All the scale models, whether cars, trucks, trains or boats, are faithful reproductions of the originals. Complete train circuits are installed and run in the midst of the visitors. Several times each day a son et lumi•r e show recounts the history of sailing with naval battles. 12 and 14 rue de la DŽs irŽe - 17000 La Rochelle -Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 68 08

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La Rochelle’s art and history museums Musée Nouveau du Nouveau Monde Situated in a magnificent 18th century mansion, this museumÕ s collections illustrate Franco-American relations from the 16th century onward. As an important port, La Rochelle played a major role in trade and emigration to the New World. The collections evoke Canada, Louisiana, the West Indies and Guyana and many testimonies shed light on slavery and the triangular trade.

10 rue Fleuriau - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 46 50

Musée d’Orbigny-Bernon This museum focuses on the main events in local history, particularly the famous sieges (1573, 1627-1628), and the Second World War. A superb collection of earthenware and porcelain, one of the finest in France, and an exhibition of Far Eastern art complete the interest of this museum.

71 2 rue Saint-C™me - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 18 83

Musée des Beaux-Arts Located on the second floor of the Hotel de Crussol dÕ Uz• s, a former archbishopÕ s palace, the museum presents a panorama of European painting from the 15th to the mid 20th century. The 19th century is represented with canvases by Camille Corot, Gustave DorŽ and artists from the region, like Eugène Fromentin and William Bouguereau. The 20th century is illustrated with works by Marquet, Denis Chaissac and Magnelli.

28 rue Gargoulleau - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 41 64 65

musées d’Art et d’Histoire de La rochelle. Copyright : Julien Chauvet

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The La Rochelle casino is located in a 19th century building on La RochelleÕ s most beautiful avenue in an elegant residential neighbourhood.

Look after your health. Drink moderately

❱ THE CaSiNO BarrièrE iN la rOCHEllE The games room is equipped with 160 slot machines and table games: a roulette table, two blackjack tables, two Texas HoldÕem tables and a table for La Boule. No admission under the age of 18. Passport or valid ID required. The casino organizes «discovery days» on Sundays, about every two months, with a free «discovery buffet» at 1:00 p.m. and poker tournaments. The «Le Bellevue» restaurant has to be the most charming part of the casino with large bay windows and an extraordinary terrace with a panoramic view of La RochelleÕ s old harbour with, in the distance, the Port des Minimes and its yachts. If you fancy a flutter in the casino, don’t hesitate to avail of the summer evenings to dine on the terrace. July 14th, Bastille Day, is a

special evening. You can admire the fireworks display in the bay from the terrace as you dine. The cooking is refined and affordable (starter + main dish + dessert = €16), with traditional French dishes each month and gastronomy weeks during the year, like the lobster week in June. The casino bar, the ÇC afŽ des Sports», is a good place to have a drink and view major sporting events on the giant screens. And as the La Rochelle stadium is a casino partner, all matches played there are also retransmitted on the screens. The casino also offers a variety of different forms of entertainment in «Le Diane’s» auditorium with tea dance evenings, music, theatre and lotteries. In early July it is one of the locations for the Francofolies Festival (July 12-16, 2011). 

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CASINO BARRIéRE LA ROCHELLE Esplanade du Mail 17000 La Rochelle Tel: +33 (0)5 46 34 12 75 casinolarochelle@lucienbarriere.com www.casino-larochelle.com

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L’Hermione

N°2 APRIL 2011

© photo Association Hermione-La Fayette

In 1997 a group of passionate enthusiasts set about reconstructing the frigate LÕ Hermione, on which La Fayette set sail on March 21, 1780, to help the American insurrectionists during the American war of independence. They reconstructed the boat in the old maritime arsenal exactly the same as the original and in full view of the public because most of their funds came from visits to the site and articles sold in the shop. This reconstruction lent new life to disappearing skills and trades and certain workshops and stands are open to visitors to the site. The ultimate goal is to sail across the Atlantic in the wake of La Fayette.

Chantier de lÕ Hermione ˆ la Corderie Royale

❱ Map of the isle of Ré and Oléron by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin 1757 - photo du CIM de Rochefort

La Mer à l’encre : three centuries of maritime maps The Centre International de la Mer at La Corderie Royale at Rochefort is devoting its latest exhibition to marine maps from the 16th to the 18th century. We know that these maps were used by the great and powerful but very little by sailors, who sailed without the help of maps. The whole exhibition presents a confrontation between cartographic symbolisation on the one hand and the actual practice of sailing and navigating on the other. The difference between the two could be considerable and the art of navigating was largely a matter of flair. The exhibition breaks down into three main parts : a presentation of the extraordinary cartographic production of Normandy ports (Dieppe, Honfleur, Rouen), a central part devoted to the great cartographic work Le Neptune François (1693 – 29 maps of coastlines from Norway to Gibraltar), the result of the state enterprise instigated by Colbert. Lastly, the projection of a video dramatization places visitors on the deck of a ship in the midst of a dispute between an 18th century cartographer and an anxious captain who is confronted with very real obstacles. La mer ˆ lÕ encre : the exhibition runs until December 31, 2011

La Corderie Royale - rue Jean-Baptiste Audebert - 17300 Rochefort - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 87 01 91

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❱ rOCHEfOrT In about 1660 Louis XIV noticed that the French navy was falling into disrepair and promptly ordered Colbert to find a location on the Atlantic coast capable of accommodating an arsenal (or shipyard). The village of Rochefort was selected in 1665 and a military arsenal was installed there for the western fleet. The arsenal included warehouses and workshops and the Corderie Royale Ð or Royal Rope Factory – naturally came to be built there. The town then developed rapidly under the influence of Colbert and Michel BŽ gon (cf. the Begonia Conservatory), who enhanced the town, improved the living conditions and gave it the face and architecture we know today. The arsenal closed in 1926, causing the decline of Rochefort. But the town soon found a new vocation and was recognized as a «City of Art and History» in 1993. The natural and cultural heritage of the naval arsenal have caused it to apply to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. La Corderie Royale – or Royal Rope Factory is one of the most important buildings in the arsenal (or shipyard). The construction was difficult because of soggy ground subject to flooding.

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Before even commencing construction the architect, François Blondel, had a sort of floating raft constructed, a plateau consisting of oak beams that were sunk through the water table. The 374-m-long building was used to manufacture ropes and rigging for the fleet. The external architecture has all the elegance of the period. The inside, however, has the simplicity of a functional construction that is long enough to enable the manufacture of a cable (about 200 m) in one unbroken length! The closure of the arsenal in 1926 led to the progressive abandonment of the rope factory which, to further compound its dereliction, was burned in 1944 by the occupying forces as they left the town. Admiral Dupont organized the cleaning of the corderie in 1964 and it was declared a national historic monument in 1967. Today the building houses different bodies like the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saintonge. It has exhibition areas explaining how ropes are made and a space for temporary exhibitions (hand held audio guides in english are available free of charge). 

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La Corderie Royale rue Jean-Baptiste Audebert, 17300 Rochefort Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 87 01 90

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© photo Salomé Bréjat

❱ CONSErVaTOirE du BEgONia An extraordinary place Michel Begon arrived in Rochefort in 1688 in his capacity as the royal naval intendent. Since the town owes its historic centre to him, it will be marking the three hundred years since his death from April to June. The responsibilities of an intendent were considerable when Begon was in office because the nation was at war and the arsenal was therefore of immense importance. From 1694, his responsibilities were widened to include the entire Aunis and Saintonge provinces, although that did not prevent him Ð a man of considerable culture Ð from continuing to devote time to his correspondence and interests, which included plants. At the time of his posting in Marseilles, he had sent a priest and a botanist - Father Plumier and Doctor Surian Ð to the West Indies to collect plants. In honour of his patron, Plumier gave the name of Begonia to one of the plants he brought back. The collection was purchased from Vincent Millerioux, a horticulturist in the Paris area (Val dÕ Oise) and taken to Rochefort in the form of cuttings about thirty centimetres high. The collection has since grown in size because of donations and gifts. Now based

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in Rochefort, the Conservatoire du BŽgo nia is one of the largest collections in the world. There are over 2,000 species of begonia from every corner of the planet and from surprisingly diverse climates and altitudes. One particular characteristic of the begonia is that it reproduces by two types of male and female flowers, growing on the same stem. Begonias are, therefore, bisexual. The greenhouse covers more than 1,000 square metres and contains over 1,500 species and hybrids of an incredible diversity. These are not the humble begonias of our own gardens ; some plants growing here reach a height of five metres while others are minuscule and, since none of them like to have their roots in water, they are suspended, giving the entire place an almost tropical feel. 

Le Conservatoire du BŽ gonia La PrŽ e Horticole 1 rue Charles Plumier 17300 Rochefort Tel: +33 (0)5 46 99 08 26

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pierre

lOTi’s

Pierre Loti was born Louis Marie Julien Viaud at Rochefort on January 14, 1850, and died on June 10, 1923, at Hendaye and was buried on the Ile dÕOlŽron. He is one of the most captivating of French writers. For a long time all the public knew of Loti was his literary output and his career as a naval officer. But Loti had a complex personality and many find it difficult to reconcile the brilliant naval officer, the diplomat, the writer, the artist (photographer and painter), the acrobat limbering up in circuses, the man from a middle class family who plumbed the depths of the seediest ports of international capitals. A fretful man, no doubt, but a man with an open and modern mind, and a talented artist. As a naval officer, he travelled widely and drew inspiration from his seafaring voyages when writing his novels, but all his life he was attracted by the Orient, Turkey in particular. This is why he transformed his childhood house in Rochefort into a sort of theatre with

a Renaissance dŽco r on the ground floor, Gothic on the first and Oriental on the upper floors. At one stage he even transformed a servant into a muezzin announcing the five prayers of the day. He organized unforgettable parties that left the neighbourhood stunned. Today we cannot visit the full house. Certain rooms have gone or are too fragile to admit the public, but what remains to be seen behind the classic architecture of the walls of the Rochefort residence is fascinating. New since last year, Visites Passion in the form of nocturnal explorations of his house. These visits are limited to 10 people, begin in July and August at 8 : 30 p.m. and at 8 : 00 p.m. in September. Reserve in advance with the Rochefort Office de Tourisme. 

house

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Maison de Pierre Loti 141 rue Pierre Loti - 17300 Rochefort Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 99 16 88

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J

ust a few minutes from Rochefort and La Rochelle, the Casino de Fouras invites us to the peninsula facing Fort Boyard and only a stone’s throw from the Ile d’Aix. The warm and cosy atmosphere of the Casino de Fouras makes it a veritable leisure centre that combines leisure with fun and games for all. In the gaming room innovative slot machines and more traditional games, like blackjack and La Boule 2000, provide a blend of entertainment and adrenaline that is best enjoyed with friends. Like the menu, the soothing atmosphere and decor of the casino restaurant never fail to stimulate the appetite. In the kitchen the chef combines tradition and modernity in tasty and refined preparations that bring out the best in the products of the region. In fine weather the wood-toned terrace offers a variety of different forms of entertainment, with concerts, shows and theme-evenings that cater for every taste. ■

Casino de Fouras - Place Bugeau - 17450 Fouras Tél : +33 (0)5 46 84 63 16 - Fax : +33 (0)5 46 84 45 68 www.groupe-emeraude.com

The Corderie Royale is also: A A restaurant: restaurant: Les Les Longitudes Longitudes,, ideally ideallysituated situatedininan an

old old guard guard house house between between the the Corderie Corderie Royale Royaleand andthe theHermione Hermioneconstrucconstruction site. The walls are charged with history and are often tion site. The walls are charged with history and are oftendecorated decoratedwith withsea-themed sea-themed photography photography and and painting painting exhibitions. exhibitions. The The chef chef offers offers traditional traditional cooking cookingbased basedon on fresh products with original presentations. In summer you can enjoy a mixed fresh products with original presentations. In summer you can enjoy a mixedsalad saladoror grilled fi sh on the terrace or under the arcades. Try some of the house specialities for grilled fish on the terrace or under the arcades. Try some of the house specialities for dessert: dessert: caillebotte caillebotte charentaise charentaise scented scented with with orange orangeblossom blossomand andcrème crèmede decognac, cognac,oror the traditional jonchée. A warm welcome awaits you and the prices are very affordable. the traditional jonchée. A warm welcome awaits you and the prices are very affordable. In addition to the à la carte menu, there is also the menu of the day at €13.50 and a plat In addition to the à la carte menu, there is also the menu of the day at €13.50 and a plat du jour for €7.80. du jour for €7.80. Easy independent access. Open 7/7, April to September (Closed at weekends out of Easy independent access. Open 7/7, April to September (Closed at weekends out of season) lunchtime only (group lunches or dinners by reservation). season) lunchtime only (group lunches or dinners by reservation).

Tel: Tel: +33 +33 (0)5 (0)5 46 46 87 87 56 56 15 15 –– www.corderie-royale.com www.corderie-royale.com

The Magasin Magasin des des Cordages Cordages:: here you will find the must-have souThe here you will find the must-have souvenirs froom your holidays by the sea, particularly the products made exclusively by

venirs froom your holidays by the sea, particularly the products made exclusively by the Corderie Royale workshop using sailors’ knots, and cordage in different diamethe Corderie Royale workshop using sailors’ knots, and cordage in different diameters by the metre. The Magasin is a veritable source of inspiration for original gifts. ters by thea metre. TheofMagasin is a veritable of inspiration originalknives gifts. It offers selection handcrafted productssource like the magnificentforsailors’ Itcrafted offersnear a selection of but handcrafted products like and the accessories. magnificentThe sailors’ Rochefort, also delicacies, textiles manyknives navicrafted near Rochefort, also delicacies, textiles and accessories. The many navigation items will delightbut marine décor enthusiasts. gation items will delight décor enthusiasts. Easy independent access.marine Open 7/7. Easy independent access. Open 7/7. Certain products are sold online at http://livre-mer.com Certain products are sold online at http://livre-mer.com

Tel: +33 (0)5 46 87 88 87 - www.livre-mer.com Tel: +33 (0)5 46 87 88 87 - www.livre-mer.com

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l’HôTEl HèBrE dE SaiNT-CléMENT Entirely renovated and open to the public since December 2006, the H™t el H•bre de Saint-ClŽment houses the MusŽe dÕ Art et dÕHis toire and the Centre dÕ interprŽta tion de lÕar chitecture et du patrimoine (Centre for Interpreting Architecture and Heritage). Modern museographic techniques present the museumÕ s collections in the course of a visit that combines the history of the city, beaux arts collections and ethnographic objects. The archaeological section on the ground floor is not very interesting but the upper floors have a wealth of material for history enthusiasts. Amongst other things, you will discover an amazing relief-map of the city and the arsenal in 1830 by Pierre-Marie Touboulic, a gallery of 19th century paintings and, on the third floor, extra-European collections that evoke the maritime and colonial history of the city. The H™ tel also houses temporary exhibitions. 

79 H™ tel H• bre de Saint-ClŽ ment 63 avenue Charles de Gaulle 17300 Rochefort - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 82 91 60 © musée Hébre de St Clément

Rochefort celebrates the 45th anniversary of the film « Les Demoiselles de Rochefort » At the end of May 1966 Jacques Demy set up his cameras in Rochefort to film what was to become one of the most popular musical comedies both in France and abroad, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. And this year Rochefort had the bright idea of recreating, 45 years later, the ambience, the rhythm and pace of «Hollywood in Rochefort» for the duration of the film shoot, a little more than three months. The festivities commence on June 2nd and will continue until September 16th, with exhibitions of objects and posters from the period, dances and concerts in homage to the work of Michel Legrand. The complete programme is available from the Rochefort Office de Tourisme.

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❱ THE ilE d’OlérON The Ile dÕOlŽron , which has not always been an island, is now linked to the continent by a bridge that has been tool-free since 1966. Although OlŽron is geographically close to the Ile de RŽ, its history is somewhat different. Life on the island was relatively peaceful until Eleanor of Aquitaine married the Plantagenet Henry II of England. Vineyards and salt were its main source of revenue. Eleanor fostered the economic development of the island. She drafted the «Roles of Oléron», a code of maritime law that was to act as the basis for all later codes. Later, the creation of the military port at Rochefort in 1666 transformed the island into a defence outpost and the Chateau dÕ OlŽr on

became a citadel. Then, in the 16th century, it suffered the ravages of the wars of religion. Finally, its advanced position interested the Germans during World War II and they occupied the island. Today the island enjoys a lot of sunshine, boasts superb beaches and offers a wealth of possibilities for water sports. 

Maison du Tourisme de lÕ ” le dÕ OlŽ ron et du Bassin de Marennes, route du Viaduc 17560 Bourcefranc-le-Chapus Tel: +33 (0)5 46 85 65 23 ile-oleron-marennes.com

The Château d’Oléron

This old fishing port owes its name to the medieval chateau positioned on this side of the island. Its strategic importance has always been obvious to all, from Richelieu, who built a citadel, to Louis XIV, who ordered his military architect, Vauban, to consolidate the defence system, and the Germans. Of interest are the 17th century centre and the remains of the fortified walls. The old oyster-growersÕ cabins in the harbour have been renovated and made available to local art and craft workers. Office de Tourisme - 1 Place de la République - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 47 60 51 - www.ot-château-oleron.fr

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La Cotinière

What seems to be a charming little port is in fact the leading fishing port in the department. At La Cotinière harbour we find fish, a variety of shellfish (more than 90 species) and, especially, depending on the season, sole, bass, ceterach, monkfish, langoustines and scallops. It is still a picturesque port with brightly coloured trawlers and gillnetters by the quais. Open from Easter to mid-September (for the offseason, contact Saint-Pierre dÕ OlŽ ron)

Office de tourisme - place du Marché 17310 La Cotini•r e Tel: +33 (0)5 46 47 09 08

Le Musée de l’île d’Oléron

The museum of OlŽ ron presents the history of the island from prehistory to the present day. A series of entertaining activities enables us to discover life on the island. Contact the museum for opening times.

9 Place Gambetta 17310 Saint-Pierre dÕ OlŽr on Tel: +33 (0)5 46 75 05 16

Saint-Pierre d’Oléron

The geographical and administrative centre of the island. A pleasant little town with pedestrian shopping streets.

Office de Tourisme - Place Gambetta 17310 Saint-Pierre dÕ OlŽr on Tel: +33 (0)5 46 47 11 39

La Maison des Aïeules

This is the house where Julien Viaud, alias Pierre Loti (cf Rochefort, Pierre LotiÕ s house) spent his holidays in the home of his grandparents and grand aunts. It is here that his body rests. In accordance with his wishes, the house is not open to the public, except on National Heritage days in September.

13 rue Pierre Loti 17310 Saint-Pierre dÕ OlŽr on

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Le P’tit Train de Saint-Trojan

The little train leaves the Saint-Trojan station on the south of the island every day to serve the southern beaches. The PÕ tit Train takes you on a 12-km round-trip tour of the wilder limits of the Pertuis de Maumusson with its magnificent landscapes of fine sand and pine forests that are inaccessible by road. Every summer, in July and August, the PÕ tit Train also offers «sunset train rides». In 2011 it will run from 3 April to 2 October. www.le-ptit-train.com

The Chassiron lighthouse and museum

The 46 m-high Chassiron lighthouse at the northern extremity of the island was built

in 1836 on the site of an old fire tower. It is marked with black and white bands to distinguish it from the Baleines lighthouse on the Ile de RŽ. It can be seen by day from distances of up to 35 km, and 52 km by night. The top platform of the lighthouse affords a magnificent panorama but you have to climb 224 steps to get there. A museum that illustrates aspects of island life in the 50s has just been added.

Saint-Denis-D’Oléron

This much-frequented seaside resort on the north of the island has three long beaches with fine sand and a recently refurbished marina. The Romanesque church of Saint Denis has been modified many times in the course of history but it still retains its remarkable Romanesque entrance. Office de Tourisme - Bd d’Antioche 17650 Saint-Denis-DÕ OlŽr on Tel: +33 (0)5 46 47 95 53

Just a ten-minute walk from the city centre, Les jardins du monde is an amazing place that is both an amusement park with a pedal go-kart circuit, trips on electric boats and the largest permanent hothouse exhibition of orchids in Europe, a 700m2 tropical hothouse with 400 different varieties of orchid, some of them extremely rare, and 3000 flowers throughout the year because they are renewed regularly. Another hothouse with butterflies roaming freely allows visitors to appreciate a large number of species, including the Attacus Atlas with patterns in the shape of snake heads at its wingtips. Also worth noting is the one of the largest collections of bonsai plants in Europe. In addition, the park offers visitors a tour of gardens from all over the world : a Japanese garden, an English garden and a Mediterranean garden. And children always love the house with the dwarf goats and the bamboo labyrinth.

Les jardins du Monde - 5 avenue des Fleurs de la paix - 17200 Royan Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 38 00 99 -www.jardins-du-monde.com

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© Photos Salomé Bréjat

A world of enchantment

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Photos © omt royan Ph. Souchard

❱ rOyaN During the Belle ƒpoque, the mild climate, long hours of sunshine and the proximity of beaches made Royan a very fashionable seaside resort, a chic and trendy place that left its mark on the cityÕ s architecture. Hotels with Victorian facades were built, as well as chalets and villas in imitation of Renaissance chateaux. Some of them still remain, places like the villas on the Boulevard Frédéric Garnier, in spite of the bombing in January 1945 when the city centre was almost completely destroyed. Royan, like Dunkerque, Toulon, Le Havre, Saint-DiŽ and Calais, all of which were 80% destroyed, was classified as a «research laboratory for town planning and modern architecture». Leading architects from the period, Le Corbusier, Os-

car Niemeyer and Guillaume Gillet were mandated to help reconstruct the city. The Bordeaux architect Claude Ferret supervised the work at Royan. Today Royan presents us with a blend of Art deco 1930s architecture, Le Corbusier with Brazilian influences and the contribution of Saint Onge regionalism that is known as the ƒcol e de Royan or Royan School. The Office de Tourisme will provide you with a document entitled Royan, ville 1950 with four circuits that enable you to appreciate the architecture dating from the reconstruction period. The imposing ƒgl ise Notre-Dame, with a capacity for 2,000 and designed by Guillaume Gillet, is one of the modernist buildings from this period that fails to win universal approval. 

The

french

Brasilia

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The Royan Museum The Royan Museum is situated in the old covered market at Pontaillac. It sets out to retrace the history of the city that was twice destroyed and three times rebuilt. The first written record of the city dates back to 1092. Then, like many other cities on the Atlantic coast, it was torn between the kingdoms of France and England. We next hear of it in 1815 because of its seawater baths. A casino was built in 1845 and Royan became fashionable. The museum focuses on this period, the bombing and the reconstruction, with many objects, posters and furniture items from the 1950s.

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de Pontaillac - 31 avenue de Paris - 17200 Royan - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 38 85 96

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Aulnay-de-Saintonge Built in the 12th century, the church of Saint-Pierre d’Aulnay is a masterpiece of French Romanesque art, and Poitevin art in particular. It is situated at the border of Poitou and Saintonge, on the road to Compostella, and must have been a major stopover for pilgrims in the 13th century. The church is in an excellent state of preservation and features on the Unesco world heritage list. It is on the outskirts of the town, in the centre of which we can see the great tower, the only remaining vestige of the feudal castle that was built in the same period as the church.

Maison du Tourisme - 290 av de lÕ ƒgl ise - 17470 Aulnay de Saintonge - Tel: + 33 (0)5 46 33 14 44

L’Écomusée du Cognac This little museum was created in 1850 by a local wine-growing family, the Tesserons. The audiovisual presentation «2000 years of art and history» traces the history of cognac, beginning with the first vines planted by the Romans. This original approach to cognac is continued in a museum of Charente wine-growers, an old distillery and a herb garden. Discover the scents and aromas of cognac with a «perfume organ» game and a personalized visit with sample tastings of pineau and cognac. Another exhibition introduces us to Havana tobacco, coffee and chocolate. Open mid-June to mid-September. Logis des Bessons - 17770 Migron (17km south-east of St-Jean dÕ AngŽ ly) - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 94 91 16

Le Cep Enchanté A theme park devoted to wine in a superb 56-hectare family domain. For children, activities in the vineyard introduce children to wine culture while the parents can enjoy tasting the wines in the company of the owners, Juliette and Jean-François Quéron. Camper vehicles and picnickers are welcome.

4 rue de la Croix de lÕA nglais - Lieu-dit La Botte - 17490 Macqueville (37m south-east of Saint-Jean dÕ AngŽ ly - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 26 67 76 - lecepenchante.com

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Look after your health. Drink moderately

Open May 4 to June 30: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (closed on Mondays). July 1 to September 9: 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with late opening during this period on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. September 12-23: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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Photos © office de tourisme de Saintes

❱ SaiNTES aNd SurrOuNdiNgS Saintonge is a vast region that breaks down into two parts: coastal Saintonge with the estuary of the Seudre, and inland Saintonge with plains and valleys, agriculture and vineyards, where we find all the Romanesque churches for which it is famous. This is where Saintes developed as capital of the region for several millennia. Since 1989 Saintes has been classified as a city of «art and history». It is a city with a rich past that it takes time to explore as we stroll through the pedestrian streets and steep lanes in the ƒ chevinage district. With its hidden gardens and plane trees lining the roads, it is reminiscent of villages further south. The city was first built by the Santoni, a celtic tribe, but the Romans were attracted by its topography, with the Charente running through it constituting a powerful means of communication. About 20 BC Agrippa changed its name to Mediolanum and made it the Roman capital of the province of Aquitaine. Many new buildings were erected in the city, the vestiges of which we can still see today: the Arch of Germanicus, the aqueduct and the amphitheatre. Then Saint Eutrope converted the city to Christianity and became the first bishop of Saintes. We can still

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view his relics in the crypt of the church that bears his name, and which was consecrated by Pope Urban III. It was an essential stage on the road to Compostella in the Middle Ages and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Then the city experienced some troubled centuries, buffeted by the shifting tides of English and French domination, followed by the ravages of the wars of religion. In the 17th century it became the seat of the PrŽ sidial and the place of residence of the Governor, but Saintes did not recover its former prosperity until the 18th century, largely thanks to the cognac trade. It then spread along the right bank of the Charente river, where we find the train station today. Saintes is now a peaceful sub-prefecture and remains the main trading centre in Saintonge. 

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Office de Tourisme de Saintes et de Saintonge Place Bassompierre - 17100 Saintes Tel: +33 (0)5 46 74 23 82 www.ville-saintes.fr

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Charente-Maritime is one of the richest French departments in terms of 11th and 12th century monuments. We suggest two routes, each of which takes between a day and a day and a half.

❱ SaiNTONgE First route, the left bank of the Charente river Corme-Royal: the church of Saint-Nazaire was situated on the road leading to the Marennes salt marshes, the monasteryÕ s main source of wealth. The monastery has disappeared, but the church still retains a beautiful, richly sculpted 12th century façade. Thézac: the Notre Dame church tower dating from the mid-12th century rises two storeys high and is one of the finest and best preserved Romanesque church towers in the region. RŽtaud: the church of Saint-Trojan is one of the jewels of Romanesque architecture in the Saintonge region. A very beautiful chevet with seven bays, as at Rioux. Rioux: the church of Notre Dame also has a chevet with seven bays rising over three levels. Inside, it is worth noting the treatment of the apse, where the arcades over the windows rest on columns with a zigzag pattern. Meursac: a beautiful facade with carefully reconstituted sculptures in the porch, a Romanesque choir, a Gothic chevet and a curious 5th century crypt hewn into the rock. Thaims: situated by the side of an old Roman road, the church of Saint-Pierre-es-Liens was built on the vestiges of a Gallo-Roman villa. Pre-Romanesque 10th century church.

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Second circuit, right bank of the Charente river Fenioux: the archaic 11th century nave of the church of Notre-Dame is interesting, as is the series of windows it retains from the same period. A handsome portal, though very eroded. Ecoyeux: the church of Saint-Vivien dates from the 12th century and presents a curious façade with two watchtowers linked by a rampart walk. This defensive system probably dates from the Hundred Years War. Le Douhet: the western facade is what makes the church of Saint-Martial so interesting. Saint-Sauvant: this village is perched on a lofty vantage point. The massive silhouette of the church of Saint-Sylvain crowns this promontory and can be seen from all around. Chaniers: the church of Saint-Pierre is known for the exceptional trefoil form of its 12th century chevet. 

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Photos © office de tourisme de Saintes

N°2 APRIL 2011

The Basilica of Saint Eutrope

This basilica, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture perched on the heights overlooking the city, is dedicated to Saint Eutrope and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It was built on three levels in order to preserve the place of worship while receiving pilgrims on their way to pay homage to Saint James of Compostella. The old nave has been destroyed but we can still admire the Romanesque chevet and sculptures. The lower church has remained intact and is an architectural jewel not to be missed. Rue Saint-Eutrope, on the way down from the arenas to the town centre 17100 Saintes

LÕ abbaye aux Dames

Founded by Agnès de Bourgogne, the wife of Geoffroy Martel, Count of Anjou, this Benedictine abbey was once very powerful. It was dedicated to educating young girls from good families and prospered until the time of the French Revolution. This jewel of Romanesque art suffered greatly but it has been restored remarkably well. It now houses the Music and Dance Conservatory and the Centre Culturel de Rencontres. Place Saint-Pallais on the right bank of the Charente - 17100 Saintes Tel: +33 (0)5 46 97 48 48

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The Arch of Germanicus

Erected in the 1st century, this arch is not a traditional Roman arch of triumph. Situated at the entrance to the bridge where the Roman road crossed the Charente river, it symbolised the entrance to the city. But the Charente eroded the banks over the course of the centuries and it owes its survival to Prosper MŽr imŽe, inspector of Historic Monuments at the time, who had it dismantled stone by stone in 1843 to be installed on the right bank where we can still admire it today. Esplanade AndrŽ Malraux - 17100 Saintes

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The Archaeological Museum

Situated next to the Arch of Germanicus, this museum houses an important collection of precious stones and gems from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries resulting from the demolition of the city walls (3rd century) and the Late Roman Empire (4th century) ramparts. Esplanade AndrŽ Malraux - 17100 Saintes Tel: +33 (0)5 46 74 20 97

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❱ SaiNT-JEaN d’aNgEly Built on the site of Angeriacum, an old Roman villa on the road linking Saintes to Poitiers, the capital of lower Saintonge was first of all a fortified abbey, in the 9th century, when its ramparts helped resist the incursions of the Vikings into the region. As a stopover on the road to Compostella, it experienced a period of prosperity that did not last because, like the rest of the region, Saint-Jean dÕ AngŽ ly suffered the consequences of the wedding in 1152 of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenet Henry II, King of England, to whom she brought the Saintonge as a dowry. After the trials and tribulations of the Hundred Year War, Saint-Jean dÕ AngŽ ly was subjected to those of the wars of religion in the 16th century. As one of the bastions of the Reformation, the city suffered the wrath of Louis XIII, who besieged it, razed the fortifications to the ground and changed its name to Bourg-Louis, a name it retained until 1665. In the 18th century the Boutonne river was developed downstream from SaintJean dÕ AngŽ ly in order to facilitate navigation, port facilities were installed for trade and the city recovered its economic prosperity thanks to the vineyards and the trade in eau-de-vie. But the phylloxera disease destroyed all the vineyards early in the 20th century. Today SaintJean dÕ AngŽ ly lives on thanks to the dynamism of small local enterprises and high-quality agricultural products. 

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Office de Tourisme Place du Pilori 8 rue de la Grosse Horloge 17400 Saint-Jean dÕ AngŽ ly Tel: +33 (0)5 46 32 04 72 http://ot.angely.net

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Photos © office de tourisme de St Jean d’Angély

The best way to explore Saint-Jean dÕA ngŽly is on foot. The streets in the old town are narrow and confusing and a veritable nightmare for drivers. In order to help you make your way about, a system of signposts and panels identifying buildings has been installed. So take a walk through the old city and donÕ t forget to raise your eyes to admire the architecture. Some interesting points not to be missed:

LÕ abbaye Royale

This abbey was built in the 9th century by PŽ pin, King of Aquitaine and grandson of Charlemagne, as a sanctuary for the head of Saint John the Baptist, a saint who had performed miracles. The saintÕ s reputation is responsible for the development of the monastery, when the abbey become an essential stopover on the road to Compostella. The abbey has been through some difficult times: it was pillaged by the Vikings, laid waste during the Hundred Year War and demolished by Protestants in the 16th century. The buildings we see today date from its reconstruction in the 17th century and in spite of the havoc wrought by the Germans during World War II, we can still admire a building with classical architecture and a monumental entrance that is well worth a visit. The top of the two towers affords a superb view of the city and the surrounding countryside. The abbey is now a cultural centre that offers quality accommodation for pilgrims on their way to Compostella. 5 rue de lÕA bbaye 17400 Saint-Jean dÕA ngŽly Tel: +33 (0)5 46 32 04 72

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Le musŽ e des Cordeliers

This museum is devoted to the adventures of Louis Audouin-Dubreuil, a local man, and his Citro‘n expeditions to Africa in 1920. We find the half-track used for the expedition and some beautiful examples of African art, as well as a collection of European weapons from the 18th and 19th century. 9 rue Regnaud - 17400 Saint-Jean dÕ AngŽl y Tel: +33 (0)5 46 25 09 72

La tour de lÕ Horloge

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Built in the 15th century, this clock tower straddles the rue de la GrosseHorloge. The tower is open to visitors. At the top is a bell weighing 1500 kg that still rings out the hours.

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❱ JONZaC

We can visit the castle today, though only a part of it is open to the public as it also contains the town hall and sub-prefecture. The local tourist office organizes visits. Also worth a visit within the grounds of the castle is the little theatre dating from Napoleon III. Up until the 17th century, the district around the castle made up the town of Jonzac, of which many

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vestiges remain, like the city gate and the medieval rue Champagnac. The Carmelite cloister dating from 1505 is also well worth seeing. Little remains of the original structure, which was used as a court during the French Revolution, but the small 17th century cloister is as charming as ever. One of the chapels is now the archaeological museum, where the Saintonge-Québec summer university is held. 

Office Municipal de Tourisme 25 Place du Ch‰ teau - 17502 Jonzac Tel: +33 (0)5 46 48 49 29 www.jonzac.fr Photos © office de tourisme de Jonzac

The first written record of the castle dates back to 1059. It was already perched on the same rocky outcrop with good natural defences. In 1073 the castle and the lordship of Jonzac belonged to the La Rochandry family. They held the land in vassalage for the abbey of Saint Germain des Pr• s. Pierre de Sainte-Maure, whose family came from Touraine, took possession of the castle in 1370, when the Hundred Year War was raging on all sides. Situated in the middle of the frontier zone, the theatre of the French-English conflict, the city did not develop until the 15th century. And it was to endure many trials for remaining true to the reformed religion. It did not emerge fully from its slumbers until 1800 when it became the main county town for the arrondissement and grew rich on the cognac trade. It was hard hit by the crisis in the agricultural sector and invested considerably in a modernization campaign. Since then it has recovered a certain lustre thanks to tourism and water cures.

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Les Antilles

Les Antilles is an aquatic playground that covers an area of more than 10,000m2. It is open all year round and organizes different types of shows and entertainment depending on the season. You can enjoy a stroll through the palm-lined pathways from spring to autumn, but the tropical lagoon with its man-made beaches, wave-pools and a variety of water games delights young and old all through the year. Other features include fitness programmes, massage and whirlpool baths. The Ti-Bar on the lagoon beach serves sandwiches, doughnuts, ice cream and drinks. And the Antilles panoramic restaurant is the ideal place for a gourmet meal. To avoid unpleasant surprises, remember to book in advance. Different types of passes allow you to choose the type of visit that best suits you. Check out the options at the entrance. Zac du Val de Seugne - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 86 48 00

Base de loisirs dÕ Heurtebise

This leisure base is open all year long and has two different pools: one for swimming, the other for water sports. The base caters for a variety of different activities: a skateboard and rollerblade ramp, an equestrian centre, water sports (sailing with types of boats, optimists, small catamarans and larger sail boats, canoeing, pedal boats, windsurfing). July and August provide a broader range of activities: tree walking, circus arts for beginners, a climbing wall, archery and all traditional childrenÕ s games. The picnic area is much appreciated in summer and a reduced-price leisure passport offers you access to 4 activities. Domaine de Heurtebise - 17500 Jonzac Tel: +33 (0)5 46 48 49 29

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Thermal spa

Created in 1986 in an absolutely amazing cave-dwellersÕ site, the thermal spa avails of the technical sophistication of the Chaine Thermale du Soleil and treats rheumatism, the airways and venal disorders. The spa is appreciated for its human dimension, friendliness and the availability of accommodation in nicely decorated apartments at the Maison des Vignes just a short stroll away. 17500 Jonzac - Tel +33 (0)5 46 48 59 59 www.sante-eau.com

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Glorious gardens

N°2 APRIL 2011

The Charente-Maritime Ò dŽ partementÓ has a large number of very beautiful gardens, some of which are only open to visitors once a year on the occasion of an event called Ò Rendez-vous au JardinÓ held at the beginning of June. Here, we have selected a few that can be visited from Easter to the end of October :

Les Fontaines Bleues du Château de Beaulon In the grounds of Ch‰ teau de Beaulon, built around 1480, the Jardin Bleu is a magnificent formal garden filled with scented plants and bordered by a wooded section where, hidden in a romantic clump of trees, are the mysterious Ò blue fountainsÓ , natural springs that have provided inspiration for numerous legends. Ch‰ teau de Beaulon also sells a range of cognacs and a Pineau with a very interesting flavour. Open daily 1 May to 30 September, from 9am to 12.30pm and 2.30 to 6pm; from 1 October to 30 April, open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 12.30pm and 2 to 5pm.

25 rue Saint-Vincent - 17240 Saint-Dizant-du-Gua - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 49 96 13

The gardens at Fontdouce Abbey The abbey, the restoration of which began in 1970, is worth visiting for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The formal gardens, of monastic inspiration, lie in a valley through which the Fontaine Douce flows. The water is channelled through the gardens in the form of a series of fountains before passing through the abbeyÕ s chapter house. Spectacular.

Open daily in April, May, June, September and October from 10.30am to 6.30pm and daily in July and August from 10am to 7pm.

17770 Saint-Bris-des-Bois - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 74 77 98

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Les Jardins d’Harmonie A series of enclosed gardens on a theme Ð the Mediterranean garden, winter garden, Levant garden, geometrically laid-out French kitchen garden, summer garden, etc. Collections of rare plants making for an enchanting ambience. Worth visiting. Open 15 May to 15 July from 3pm to 7pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Open 16 July to 15 August on Sunday. Open 16 August to 15 October on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Important : Neither children (even accompanied) nor pets are allowed.

La PrŽe aux Boeuf s - 17137 Nieul-sur-mer - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 37 29 76

La Roseraie de la Devise Created in 1990, this rose garden contains over 200 varieties of ancient and modern roses growing alongside other collectorsÕ plants, grasses and clematis plants. Some old varieties of pear, apple, plum and peach trees can be found among the 80 trees in the nearby fruit orchard.

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Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 12 noon and 2pm to 6pm.

Aline and Patrick Blanchet in their rose garden

Plaisance - Route de Tonnay-Boutonne - 17700 VandrŽ - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 68 87 18

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Further away in Charente

N°2 APRIL 2011

❱ COgNaC When in Cognac, a visit to the vielle ville (old historic city) with its narrow streets huddled around the chateau is a must. This medieval city with cobblestone streets has the history of Cognac written in the facades of the houses built between the Renaissance period and the 19th century. You will notice that the stone facades are often black, the result of the action of Torula Compniacensis, a fungus that feeds on alcoholic vapour ! Don’t miss the chateau of François I, the church of Saint LŽger with its remarkable 12th century portal emblazoned with the signs of the zodiac, and the towers of the Porte Saint Jacques, reconstructed in the 14th century.

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double-distillation and ceased to add water. Then, somewhat by chance, whenever deliveries were delayed, they noticed that the eau-de-vie improved when it spent more time in oak barrels. This technique was an instant success and Cognac and its region experienced an extraordinary boom. The history of Cognac is linked to English history. AmŽ lie de Cognac married Philip of Falconbridge, son or Richard the Lionheart, who later sold the lordship of Cognac to John Lackland. Then from 1366 to 1370, the son of Edward III, Edward Prince of Aquitaine, resided in the Ch‰ teau de Cognac. Attached to the kingdom of France, Cognac witnessed the birth of the future François I in 1494. Large trading counters were created throughout the region in the 18th century, essentially by the British, and major cognac brands like Hennessy, Otard and Martell were established. This explains why almost all the vocabulary relating to cognac is in English.  ©J.-L. Clavel

The Cognac RŽ gion DŽ limitŽ e i.e. the production region corresponding to the 6 Cognac crus as defined by decree on May 1, 1909, is situated north of the Aquitaine basin. It extends in the west to the Gironde and the islands of OlŽ ron and RŽ and in the east to the first slopes of the Massif Central. It is a beautiful region with gentle landscapes that have cultivated vineyards since Antiquity. However, the economy of the city of Cognac was originally based on salt. Beginning in the 13th century, wines from the region were transported by boat to the Scandinavian countries. Wine growers encountered two problems in the 16th century : increased production that made it impossible to transport the all the wine, and lower alcohol content in wines that made it difficult for them to survive the sea voyage. In the 17th century the people in the Cognac region improved the system invented by the Dutch, which consisted in distilling the wines and adding water after the voyage. They introduced

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©J.-L. Clavel

© ot Cognac / P. Chaillot

Museum of Cognac Arts

This museum presents the economic and technical history of cognac over 1200m2. It covers all the different stages in the making of cognac, from the grapes on the vine to the final bottling. Les Remparts Place de la salle verte 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 36 21 10

Look after your health. Drink moderately

Discovering the Cognac region

This museum is located in the former Augier Maison de Cognac. It presents the heritage of the Cognac region, the history of the Charente river, the fauna and flora and the Romanesque art of the region. Les Remparts Place de la salle verte 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 36 03 65

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The Cognac Stages

This consists of a series of events organized by winegrowers in order to present their know-how in the heart of the vineyards with a variety of different activities and visits, including a trip in a hotair balloon and, naturally, tasting sessions. The very interesting programme is presented on the site indicated below. Maison des Viticulteurs 25 rue Cagouillet 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 36 47 35 www.cognacetapes.com

La Dame Jeanne

This gabare (an old-style wooden sailing boat) is identical to one that was once used to transport merchandise. It has been equipped to take up to 70 passengers and is a fascinating way to discover the river, the surrounding countryside and chateaux. Special activities and night excursions are organized for the summer period. Office de Tourisme 16 rue du 14 juillet 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 82 10 71 www.tourism-cognac.com

Visits to major Cognac houses

The old Cognac houses organize guided tours of their establishments with commentaries on how cognac is made and aged, visits to the chais, and tasting sessions. A visit to Otard introduces you to some of the most beautiful parts of the Ch‰ teau de Cognac.

Hennessy

Quais Richard Hennessy 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 35 72 68 www.hennessy.com

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Otard

Ch‰ teau de Cognac Sas 127 Bld Denfert Rochereau 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 36 88 86 www.otard.com

Martell & Co-Cognac

7 Place Edouard Martell 16100 Cognac Tel: + 33 (0)5 45 36 35 35 www.martell.com

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to w ar ds

Pa ris

❱ Map Of THE CHarENTE-MariTiME

towards ux

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Bordea

© this map belongs to rhea marketing and can’t be reproduced without authorization.

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❱ Le Globe Trotter

uSEful addrESSES

Sample its famous seafood platters and its Ballade and RandonnŽ e menus with a large choice of fish (e.g. anglerfish, salmon, swordfish, sole) and meats (duck Parmentier, chick curry with ginger, tagine-style knuckle of lamb). The Globe Trotter also has a fine cellar. Franck and his crew invite us on a fabulous voyage through the aromas and flavours of faraway place. On site or take-away. Service Thursday to Saturday: 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Also lunchtime on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

Port de Minimes - Avenue Lazaret - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 50 49 43

Ernest le Glacier at the Vieux Port : Just around the corner from the harbour, Ò Ernest le GlacierÓ

is THE best ice cream shop in La Rochelle and somewhere everyone should try at least once in a lifetime ! Brothers Freddy and Nicolas Babin are responsible for this success They add new, original and unusual flavours every year and there are now a most 80 to choose from. Maybe youÕ ll be tempted by their sorbet made with woodland strawberries, marshmallow, violet. Our favourite is the Ò MŽ diterranéenne” – blood orange sorbet, candied fig and walnuts which you can enjoy with a shortbread crescent ice cream or a dark chocolate and pepper nougatine sorbet..

48 cours des Dames & 16 rue du Port - 17000 La Rochelle - Tel: +33 (0)5 46 50 55 60

© Alexandra duca

Two shops

Kapalouest Set sail for the islands and discover them from the sea. Take the catamaran to Ford Boyard, Ile d’Aix or the Ile de RŽ . Private parties and eceptions catered for - day or evening. Capacity for 28 on board, along with the skipper and the hostess 60 on the quay for receptions in La Rochelle harbour.

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English spoken - Ticket office on the Pont du Gabut (july / august) Embarkation across from the mediatheque - Parking nearby

Tickets, reservations and information from: +33 (0) 5 46 44 97 67 - infos@kapalouest.com

Ibis La Rochelle Vieille Ville

1 ter, rue Fleuriau - 17000 La Rochelle France - Tel: 33 (0)5 46 50 52 55

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350059

The hotel is situated in the heart of the historic city. Near the old 19th century market, amid the very busy shopping streets a five-minute walk from the old port with easy access to sea excursions. Rooms are air conditioned and comfortable, with wireless Internet access. Breakfast buffet service, varied and copious. Open 24/7. www.ibishoTel:co - www.accorhotels.com

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N°2 APRIL 2011

uSEful iNfOrMaTiON uSE

BRITISH CONSULATE

The closest Bristish Consulate is in Bordeaux : 353 Bld du PrŽ sident Wilson.

MEDICAL and EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE Police : Fire brigade : Lifeboat service : Samu (medical services) :

TOURIST OFFICES Comité Départemental du Tourisme de la Charente-Maritime Maison de la Charente-Maritime 85 B ld de la RŽ publique 17000 La Rochelle

Office de Tourisme de La Rochelle

2 quai Georges Simenon 17000 La Rochelle www.larochelle-tourisme.com

European emergencies : (somebody speaking English will answer your call)

HOSPITALS

Office de Tourisme Rochefort-Océan Avenue Sadi Carnot 17300 Rochefort

Office de Tourisme de Royan Palais des Congrès 2 avenue des Congr• s 17200 Royan www.ot-royan.fr

Île de Ré Tourisme

Office de Tourisme de Cognac

3 rue P• re Ignace 17410 Saint-Martin-de-RŽ

16 rue du 14 juillet 16100 Cognac

www.iledere.com

www.tourism-cognac.com

Hôpital Saint-Louis

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rue Docteur Schweitzer 17000 La Rochelle

Centre Hospitalier de Saintonge 11 Bd Ambroise ParŽ 17100 Saintes

Centre Hospitalier de Rochefort 16 rue du Docteur Pelletier 17300 Rochefort

Centre Hospitalier de Royan 20 avenue Saint-Sordelin Plage 17640 - Vaux-sur-Mer

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YACHT HARBOURING Rochefort Port de plaisance et capitainerie 17300 Rochefort

Royan Port de plaisance 1 quai de la vieille JetŽ e 17200 Royan

La Rochelle Port de plaisance des Minimes Avenue de la Capitainerie 17026 La Rochelle cedex 1

Port de plaisance de lÕ ancien bassin ders Chalutiers Quai Louis Prunier 17000 La Rochelle

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Holidays n°2  

Holidays n°2

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