Île de Ré, La Roche-sur-Yon, LaRochelle, Rochefort, Saintes & Royan    
La Vendée & Charante-Maritime

The town La Roche-sur-Yon was built after Napoléon I chose (on May 25, 1804) this site for the new préfecture of La Vendée. La Roche-sur-Yon replaced Fontenay-le-Comte in an area greatly destroyed in the Revolution by the competing political forces that took up arms. The town was called successively: Napoléon-on-Yon (during the First French Empire); Bourbon-Vendée (during the French Restoration); Napoléon-Vendée (during the Second Republic). Today La Roche-sur-Yon sts in a region called Pays-de-la-Loire and remains the capital of Vendée. Photos of Vendée

Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle in the Charente-Maritime département, in the Poitou-Charentes région. Salt is harvested today as in Roman times, when the Île de Ré was an archipelago made of three small islands. The space between these small islands progressively filled from waste rock and sediment. In the seventh and eighth century this island, along with Oléron to the south, formed the Vacetæ Insulæ or Vacetian Islands, indicative of an early Basque (Gascon) liesure settlement. The area was one of the French Protestant strongholds during the 16th and early-17th centuries until the Royaume settled them down. A British attempt to lift the Louis's siege ended in defeat (1627). Today this spot remains a resort Island, like Île d'Oléron -- http://oleron.org/.

In France, the first successful synod reuniting the reformed churches adopted a confession of faith in 1559 named the Confession of Faith of LaRochelle.

La Rochelle

A few more Pictures

Cathédrale Saint-Louis


The area of La Rochelle was occupied in Antiquity by the Gaulic tribe of the Santones, who gave their name to the nearby region of Saintonge and the city of Saintes. The Romans then occupied the area, where they developed salt production along the coast, as well as the growing of grapes and the wine trade. For instance, Oléron is the Uliarus Insula of the Roman writer Pliny. La Rochelle, itself, was founded during the 10th century, and became an important harbor for the Duchy from the 12th century. In 1137, Guillaume X, Duke of Aquitaine essentially made La Rochelle a free port with extensive maritime commerce and trade, especially with England, the Netherlands and Spain. The region saw conflict during the Hundred Years War.

During the end of the Renaissance, La Rochelle adopted Protestant ideas, and from 1568 became a center for the practice of the Huguenot, culte réformé. The city was besieged during the French Wars of Religion. Later it was besieged by the French Regime (1627-8) in order to restore a Catholic-based control. La Rochelle, and the siege of 1627-8, form much of the backdrop of the later chapters of Alexander Dumas' classic novel, The Three Musketeers.

Les provinces de Saintonge, Aunis et Angoumois ont été un des berceaux du protestantisme en France. Et elles sont, par voie de conséquence, parmi les provinces qui ont le plus subi les effets des Guerres de Religion, puis des persécutions religieuses qui ont précédé et suivi la révocation de l’Édit de Nantes. Dans cette rubrique, un parcours détaillé et guidé à travers les évènements locaux d’une époque de folie collective meurtrière. http://www.histoirepassion.eu/spip.php?rubrique117

SaintesLa Rochelle was the last French city to be freed at the end of the Second World War. A siege took place between September 12, 1944, and May 7, 1945, in which the stronghold, including the islands of Ré and Oléron, was held by 20,000 German troops under a German vice-admiral. Following negotiations by the French Navy frigate captain Meyer, and the general German capitulation on May 7th, French troops entered La Rochelle on May 8th. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Rochelle

Beautiful, beautiful ... Saintes, a city set apart. The city, which is about 20 miles (30 kms) from Cozes, was established by the Romans in 20BC and named Mediolanum Santonum after a local tribe. Of the surviving Roman features, the most extensive is its amphitheatre. The city has three museums. Saintes sits astride the Charente river, which has been canalised to Rochefort, but the work was abandoned. It now is being restored for pleasure craft use. The Triumphal Arch of Germanicus formerly stood at the end of the Roman bridge, which was destroyed when the river was canalised. The massive cathedral of Saint-Pierre has a beautiful ornate bell-tower. Église Saint-Eutrope dates from 1096AD.

Gare de RochefortRochefort is a notable example of a 17th-century ville nouvelle or new town. Its design and construction resulted from a political decree. In December 1665 (after the Protestant issue was settled), Rochefort was chosen by Jean-Baptiste Colbert as a place of "refuge, defense and supply" for the French navy. Its military harbor was fortified by Louis XIV's foremost commissary of fortifications, Sebastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban. Off Rochefort, from the island of Île-d'Aix, where he had spent several days hoping to flee to the Americas, Napoléon Bonaparte surrendered to Captain F. L. Maitland aboard HMS Bellerophon, on July 17, 1815, ending the Hundred Days of his second reign. http://www.answers.com/topic/rochefort

The seaside resort of Royan is located at the mouth of the Gironde Estuary, downstream from Bordeaux. It has fine, sandy beaches and a long seafront with leisurely, wide promenades. Most of of the beachfront saw destruction during World War II, but was rebuilt in modern style. For the 130 years before its destruction, the bourg had committed itself to the being a premier location for les bains, especially during La Belle Epoque -- the 25 years before the Great War in 1914. Casino, jardin public, parc, concerts, régates, tir aux pigeons, fêtes nombreuses, chasse et pêche, "Hôtels et villas à tous les prix".

Pau -- Bayonne -- Orléans -- Bordeaux -- Poitiers -- Nantes

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New: 05/30/08