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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Spring Trip 2013 - Ile de Ré

I have booked my Spring trip. My partner is going to the Royal Windsor Horse Show for a week but horses are not my thing so I thought I would slip over to France for a Vauban based trip. I have booked rail tickets to La Rochelle, overnight stay, then onto Ile de Ré for a few days.

These are the map and the guide book I have bought.

  

The island has several major fortifications. First, I am staying in Saint Martin de Ré on the island's North coast and very central. The town has a Vauban designed citadel (top right of the photo) and town with enceinte. My hotel is very close to the harbour. The first two days, probably, will be taken up with a thorough but relaxed exploration of the enceinte and citadel, together with a couple of nice lunches and dinners.

   


There is another nice work, a star fort named le Fort de la Prée, built around 1625, just down the coast.

   


The island has several smaller works that I will try to see but I am not sure whether they have access. One work I really want to visit is from the German occupation of WW2.

The German Navy built a U-Boat pen at La Pallice, just outside La Rochelle. This is the building used for the filming of "Das Boot" (an excellent film) and is still owned by the French Navy. The Germans built some bunkers on Ile de Ré as part of the defences for La Pallice and as part of the Atlantic Wall. such as the lower photo on the guidebook. They put two turrets from the decommisioned cruiser Seylidtz into a battery named Karola, with 203mm cannons that had a range of 37kms. The turrets are long gone but the fire control tower is still there, too difficult to demolish.



This is six storeys high, somewhat overgrown but a lot is still there.

These are the three pieces I most want to see, if I have time I will visit others. I'm so looking forward to this trip. Fingers crossed the weather improves.

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