In the footsteps of Samuel de Champlain, Canadian roots in the Marennes-Oleron Basin
Follow in the footsteps of the famous founder of Quebec City, Samuel de Champlain, and walk through the streets of his home town, Brouage, now one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. Discover the citadel which will truly take you back in time. Here, references to New France are numerous and bear witness to the strong links between France and Canada, as in the case of the church which houses the New France memorial and whose stained glass windows, designed by Nicolas Sollogoub, were donated by the province of New Brunswick, the city and the province of Quebec.
Discover the magnificent landscapes that your ancestors knew by climbing to the top of the bell tower of the Saint-Pierre de Marennes church, the highest in Charente-Maritime, which offers an incredible view from the top of its 85 m, or by going to the Tour de Broue, a vestige of the medieval dungeon that dominates the Brouage marsh.
Discover also the small typical ports of the Seudre, small river which crosses the territory, which saw during centuries many boats leaving to cross the Atlantic, in particular to go fishing in Newfoundland. Today you can walk or cycle through these small ports and taste some Marennes-Oléron oysters.
Finally, take the bridge leading to the island of Oléron to explore the commune of Château d'Oléron, a former military town which still retains many historical vestiges, such as the citadel, which welcomed soldiers leaving for New France. Take the opportunity to discover this sublime island, called "la lumineuse", its rich natural spaces and its vineyards which hold the Cognac appellation.
Guided tour of the citadel of Brouage (information Brouage tourist office), visit of the Halle aux vivres, family treasure hunt "Champlain, Brouage and New France" (information from the Syndicat mixte de Brouage-Broue), discovery of the Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul churches in Brouage with its commemorative stained glass windows, its exhibition tracing the establishment of the first settlements and the first attempts to evangelise this then unknown territory, as well as the commemorative plaques of the families of these first settlers.
Landscapes of your ancestors
Look at the landscape in which your ancestors lived before they left for New France, from the Broue Tower in Saint-Sornin or from the bell tower of the Saint-Pierre de Sales church in Marennes (information from the Marennes-Hiers-Brouage Town Hall): a rare landscape of coastal marshes to discover from these high points.
Fishing in Newfoundland
The ports have a lot to offer and there are a number of advantages to visiting them. Firstly, it is a tourist destination with beautiful scenery all year round. Secondly, the ports are close to Marennes, which has some amazing seafood cuisine that is well worth trying. Finally, the ports (there are more than one) offer a bit of peace and quiet, which is perfect if you need to get away.
Military garrison to New France
Stroll the citadel of Château d'Oléron in the footsteps of the soldiers leaving for New France.
The citadel is a building with a long history. It was built on the ruins of the castle of the Dukes of Aquitaine built in the 13th century, but has been modified and rebuilt many times since then. Its present appearance dates back to 1689. The castle's citadel hosts a number of exhibitions detailing the medieval life of the region. You can walk around the site and explore it by visiting some of its buildings. The citadel's fortifications are impressive as they bear witness to its military history in times of peace and war.
A permanent exhibition dedicated to the soldiers of New France is presented inside; many of them stayed in this citadel before embarking for the coasts of the New World from Rochefort.
To discover more if you have a little time: Fort Louvois, the port of la Cayenne, the City of the oyster, the mill of Loges.