Let’s explore the various faces of the village of Saint-Martin-de-Ré...Let’s explore the various faces of the village of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, its harbour with its 2 docks, and the typical narrow streets steeped with history. Let’s discover this exceptional heritage thanks to the circuit “Walking Saint-Martin-de-Ré” (approx. 1h30) with tour of Vauban’s fortifications.
- Difference in height
- 21.44 m
- Points of interest
1 Departure : Tourist Office
3 Harbour - To learn more...
Today, the marina comprises 2 docks: the first one directly linked to the sea and the second one – a wet dock- filled with water 24 hours a day. It can accommodate over 200 boats.
4 Convict’s Map
5 Convict’s Map - To learn more...
Convicts (prisoners) were sent from the harbour of Saint-Martin to New Caledonia and Guyana. Île de Ré is 31km long and 5km wide (the narrowest part: 70m). It comprises 10 villages and Saint-Martin-de-Ré is its historic capital.
* Tip: A convict is a man sentenced to galleys or hard labour in penal colonies, a prisoner.
7 Sculptures - To learn more...
The church was destroyed several times over centuries. First, in 1627, when the town was besieged by the English forces, Maréchal de Thoiras (Île de Ré’s defender) commanded his troops to demolish the steeples of the church in order to prevent the enemy from installing their cannons… In 1696, the Dutch forces launched over 3,000 bombs in the direction of Saint-Martin, and consequently destroy over 300 houses and the church. In 1694, a fire started and the framework and the choir* were completely destroyed.
In spite of the numerous damages, the inhabitants will inexorably try to rebuild and renovate what remains the only Catholic place of worship today.
* Tip: In architecture, the choir, from Greek, khoros, meaning a group of singers, is the area of a church where clergy and members of the liturgical or Gregorian choir may stand either in a cathedral or in a church.
9 Place de la République
If you have some energy left, continue and follow Rue Carnot and then Rue Aristide Briand which will lead you to the next monument.
10 Porte des Campani
Now take Cours Pasteur and walk down to the harbour. You can cross the road but be very careful with cars. You will discover the fortifications providing spectacular views of the ditches! To the right you will see a hotel and facing it a secret passage which is called a Postern*. It will lead you to the heart of the ramparts, in a peaceful location, and you will be able to admire the dimensions of these buildings.
* Tip: A postern is a small doorway which was hidden and built into the rampart of a fortification and was intended to help the inhabitants of the castle to come and go inconspicuously.
It’s time now to rest or walk back down to the harbour following Cours Pasteur.
12 Arrival: Market
13 Market - To learn more...
* Tip: 1685, Revocation of the Edict of Nantes: according to this edict, Louis XIV promulgated that the only authorized religion in France was the Catholic religion. This was a terrible blow to the Protestant minority in spite of the fact that French Protestants has previously experienced harassment and persecution.
For further details, visit Tourist Office!
- 21 meters of difference in height