Archive for April 7th, 2017

April 7, 2017

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part IIII

And the saga of Noirmoutier continues with this the 4th version. Read on;;;;;

As said, it is a very nice island off the continent of France link by two passages via road. One is a big bridge or pont de Noirmoutier  since 1971 ;which was nice. The next one is the one we took on the way back, and it is at water level well underwater lol!!

The other way is the Passage du Gois which is a submersible road located between the bay of Bourgneuf that link the island of Noirmoutier at the town of Barbâtre with the continent on the town of Beauvoir sur Mer in the department of the Vendée No 85. The crossing can be done in voiture, bike or on foot only in low tide because at high tide is completely covered by the sea! It is a bit over 4 kms long (about 2.4 miles) and water can be as much as 4 meters deep (about 13 feet).

During the high tides, the place is known for fishing on foot and you can see the folks doing that while crossing it. In the Bay around it you can harvest clams, cockles, and oysters. The oysters are ,also, developed ,because the Gois allows access at low tide to the oyster locations. You see the cages as you drive by too!

Paving of the road has been made between 1935 and 1939, in a time of two hours at low tide twice a day. At the end of this work, the Gois passage became passable. Even today, one observe this paving characteristic on a large portion of the passage even if a part has been paved.  The ride can be bumpy to some.

You have all the information you need in French at this site: https://www.passagedugois.com/

And the tourist office has more in English with a nice picture of the road covered with water in high tide! here: http://uk.ile-noirmoutier.com/discover-noirmoutier/the-natural-sites-on-noirmoutier-island/the-passage-du-gois

The road is part of the road D948 but the passage is known as far back as 820AD when texts mentioned of the difficulty of passing due to dead water or high tides! It was heavily guarded by the Nazis who controlled it in WWII guarding the mouth of the bay of Saint Nazaire. There is another bridge here that we took call the Pont de Saint Nazaire and below it are the shipyards of the big cruise ships such as Harmony of the Seas.

There is,also, a famous running/walking course call the Crowds of Gois that will be done in June, Les Foulées du Gois ,more here in French: http://www.lesfouleesdugois.com/les-courses/

This is the tourist site of the area and Beauvoir sur Mer: http://www.otsi-paysdugois.fr/le-passage-du-gois/

And here it gives you the low and high tides hours in 2017, you can loaded on top in pdf file and print it: http://www.otsi-paysdugois.fr/horaire-des-marees/

You must adhere to these hours religiously as the crossing is considered dangerous, the high tide comes in rather quickly and once in the crossing there is no way out. Lately, there has been no deadly episodes but many rescues with cars lost !

The reason is there is only a narrow road each way and there is lots of traffic, very popular and you cannot drive fast but only at 50 kph or about 35 mph.

It’s an experience and for the road warrior like me it was wonderful to have the feeling of cutting the ocean driving on land that can submerge under the sea! Love it:: recommended!

Enjoy the photos and the experience of an unique way of travel in my belle France! Cheers

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April 7, 2017

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part III

Continuing the saga of my visit to the island of Noirmoutier last week, this is as seen the 3rd episode!

To recall their tourist office is here: http://uk.ile-noirmoutier.com/

Easy to get there south of Nantes and from there take the bus 13 here, that is from the Nantes train station if coming by the airport take the airport shuttle bus for 8,50€ to the train station then the bus 13 to Noirmoustier. By road from Nantes along the D723 direction Bouguenais ,then sucessives roads D751, D758 , D22 direction of the D38 La Guérinière turn off in traffic circle to Noirmoustier.

The island is ideal to walk and take a bike as well, nice views and beautiful seashores. On this posting I would to talk apart about the island of butterflies or île aux papillons.

This is very educational for the whole family right out of Noirmoustier direction La Guériniére on  the road D948 past the Intermarché supermarket take a right and see the signs for it. Open April,May,and September ;Mondays to Fridays from 14h to 19h and June,July, and August every day from 10h to 19h30. Admission is 8,80€ adult. Free parking and picnic area available.

The enclosed garden is kept at 26C or about 79F and see hundreds of butterflies from Guyana, Kenya, Madagascar, Costa Rica, and the Philippines!  You will see the stand where they are born and kept until able to fly almost a 1000 of them.  This is claim to be the largest butterfly greenhouse in France.

There is an AC room showing a film on the life of the butterfly, as well as a boutique with souvenirs of the butterfly world and refreshments. The greenhouse has many plants attractive to butterflies such as banana trees and ponds ,one with red fish in it ,rather big lol! You ,also ,will see a section on the back with quails of China these are small chicken like animals very delicious but here they look cute ::)

More info here in French: http://www.ile-aux-papillons.com/spip.php?page=sommaire

A nice family experience and something to do after a beach day I would say.  Families with kids under 15 will enjoy it most me think. Ours are young men so it was a quick tour.

Enjoy the island living it is best and of course when in France oh là là là là là and là là!!! Cheers

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