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Holidays in Brouage, Charente maritime

    Holidays in Brouage, history under the open sky a nice holiday excursion from Fouras

    Holidays in Brouage, Charente-Maritime: Between History, Salt and Royal destiny

    Brouage, a historic gem, now stands like a harbour stranded in the middle of the land. Recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in France, it is now home to artists and their stalls.

    This ancient fortified citadel, nestling in the heart of a picturesque landscape, is well worth a visit. It promises a unique holiday experience, combining authenticity, time travel and a change of scenery. In this article, we invite you to immerse yourself in the glorious yet melancholy atmosphere of Brouage, a place full of charm, and discover the treasures it has in store for visitors.

    A Royal destiny

    From the Middle Ages to the 14th century, the stronghold of Broue, then Brouage, was a port of European importance, closely linked to the salt trade (the white gold). A stronghold bitterly contested during the Wars of Religion, the town was taken in turn by the Catholics and the Huguenots.

    Henri III made it a royal town and Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec, was born here. Under Louis XIII, Cardinal de Richelieu, then governor of Brouage, made it a stronghold. Brouage became one of the main bases of the Ponant Fleet (Le Havre, Brest, Brouage), reaching a population of almost 4,000 inhabitants.

    Under Louis XIV, Mazarin became its governor and Vauban modernised its ramparts and bastions. Mazarin exiled his niece Marie de Mancini there to keep her away from the young king Louis XIV.

    Brouage was finally eclipsed by Rochefort, which was preferred by Louis XIV and Colbert as the 2nd arsenal of the kingdom.

    White Gold from Charente-Maritime: The Heritage of Salt

    The alluvial deposits slowly but surely isolated the stronghold of Broue, then a salt export port, from the ocean.

    In 1555, Lord Jacques de Pons founded the town of Brouage, known as "Jacopolis", with the aim of exporting salt from the Saintonge salt marshes.

    This flourishing port was once a centre for exporting salt to the whole of Europe. In the 17th century, salt was invaluable for food preservation, trade and taxation.

    The salt marshes, which were exploited from the 11th to 17th centuries, were abandoned for over two centuries before being turned into pastureland in the 19th century.

    From the ramparts of Brouage, let your gaze wander over these landscapes where land and water merge.

    The Sun King and Romance in Brouage

    Louis XIV, in his quest to develop trade and strengthen France's naval power, built the Rochefort arsenal in 1666, which began the slow decline of Brouage.

    However, it was Marie de Mancini who established the close link between Louis XIV and Brouage. The niece of Cardinal Mazarin, Marie de Mancini and the young king Louis XIV fell madly in love with each other. Cardinal Mazarin imposed the raison d'état, dismissing his niece so that the young sovereign could enter into a strategic marriage with Spain.

    Marie de Mancini settled in Brouage, where their passionate and forbidden love drowned in tears between the walls of the citadel, adding a touch of romance to the history of the town of Brouage.

    This love story was of paramount importance in the life of Marie de Mancini, and visitors can feel the melancholy beauty of this centuries-old royal romance. Louis XIV himself visited Brouage twice, leaving his mark on the town's annals.

    Brouage: The link with Quebec

    Brouage has forged an exceptional link with the history of Quebec thanks to the explorer Samuel de Champlain.

    Born in Brouage in 1574, Champlain became the founder of Quebec City in Canada in 1608. His key role in the exploration and establishment of New France closely links the town of Brouage to Quebec.

    Strolling through the narrow streets of Brouage, it's impossible not to reflect on Champlain's exceptional legacy and the importance of this French town in the Canadian epic.

    Time travel in the heart of Brouage

    The town of Brouage instantly propels you into the past, inviting you to relive the height and splendour of the 17th century, when the citadel was the pivotal point in the history of France, Quebec and royal passions.

    As you wander through the cobbled streets and contemplate the perfectly preserved fortifications, you will become an explorer of time, revealing the well-kept mysteries of this ancient city.

    The exhibition on the history of Brouage in "La maison aux vivres" is a fun way for the whole family to immerse themselves in this prestigious past.

    An exceptional architectural heritage

    Brouage boasts a precious architectural heritage, bearing witness to its glorious past and its historic links with Louis XIV, Samuel de Champlain, Marie de Mancini and the salt trade.

    The massive ramparts, bastions and walls are a spectacular sight, a reminder of the city's major role as a strategic stronghold.

    The church and historic monuments add a picturesque touch to this captivating picture.

    For lovers of history and architecture, Brouage is a veritable little paradise. For everyone, it's also a magnificent craft village.

    Conclusion: An Unmissable Stopover

    The town of Brouage is a must-see destination for travellers thirsting for authenticity, history and natural beauty.

    Discover its close links with Louis XIV, Samuel de Champlain, Marie de Mancini and salt, and let yourself be carried away on an unforgettable adventure into the heart of French and Canadian history and royal love affairs.

    Sources :


    Information sheet prepared and offered by the **** holiday residence in Fouras les Bains.

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