The Citadel of St Martin de Ré !!

So lets bring you back out to the coast and even beyond to an island off the mainland of France. I am updating and splitting the older post into two as they are different things to see in Saint Martin de Ré on the island or Île de Ré. A Lovely place it reminds me of my favorite islands in a time far away now, but always nice to come back to the roots. island boy, beach bum you name it , the thrills are huge!  However, as usual running with so much to see feel that I need to detail the most important monuments to see according to me lol!   Therefore, let me show you a bit of the Citadel of St Martin de Ré !!

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Brief repeat introduction to the Île de Ré:

The Île de Ré is the fourth largest island of metropolitan France, behind Corsica, the island of Oléron and Belle-Ile island (Morbihan 56!) It is located in the dept 17 of the Charente-Maritime in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. The historic center of the island is Saint-Martin-de-Ré, which forms with the neighboring town of La Flotte the urban unit of the Flotte. The island of Ré is separated from the mainland by the Pertuis Breton and is located north of the islands of Aix, Oléron, Madame and Nôle, and the forts Boyard, d’Enet and Louvois located in the Pertuis of Antioch to the South. Since 1988, it is connected to the mainland by the Pont de Île de Ré or island of Re bridge. Touristic wise, the island is nicknamed “Ré la Blanche” or Re the White one because of the characteristic hue of its traditional houses.

The Citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a military work built from 1690 to protect the Île de Ré. It is one of the main historical monuments of the city of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. In 1873 it was transformed into a depot for the regrouping of prisoners destined to be sent to the Bagnes and was for 65 years (from 1873 to 1938), the only point of grouping of convicts to forced labour, before their departure, by boat (the Loire, or La Martinière), towards the prison of French Guyana or the prison of New Caledonia.

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A first Citadel was built in 1625 which was destroyed in 1628. It was rebuilt by Vauban and François Ferry from 1681 until the end of the 17C, following the siege of La Rochelle. It protects La Rochelle and Rochefort from the English invasions. In the 18C, access bridges were rebuilt. In the 20C, buildings were built for prisoners.

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The Citadel served many years as a gathering place for the convicts who were leaving for the Bagnes of New Caledonia and Guyana. It was then transformed into a penitentiary, a Central House still active. The visit of the ramparts west side of the city and on the entire waterfront is possible with the porte de La Flotte, currently Porte Thoiras . And the Porte de la Couarde, currently the Porte de  Campani.

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With 485 places, the penitentiary of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is the most important Central House in France, and the prison administration, the main employer of the island . In 1958, the Thoiras barracks of the Penitentiary Center was reserved for Algerian prisoners. It is a case, undoubtedly unique in France and Europe, of a prison located in the heart of a renowned tourist area, in the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, and of which a part of the infrastructures is classified as World Heritage site by UNESCO !

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The Île de Ré tourist office on the citadelhttps://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/discover-ile-de-re/places-of-interest/the-fortifications-of-saint-martin-de-re

The official Vauban fortification on the citadel of St Martin de Ré : http://www.sites-vauban.org/Saint-Martin-de-Re,748

There you go something to get you over the island, car is king and the ride over the bridge is awesome. Once in the towns walking is best. The Citadel is a must to visit, hope this post brings you there. Hope you have enjoy the post and thank you again for stopping by.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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One Comment to “The Citadel of St Martin de Ré !!”

  1. I also like this place, it puts a bit of historical density in a seaside holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

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