Official site of the Tourist Office of Oléron Island and Marennes Basin

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Le Gua

The most easterly municipality of the area, Le Gua is marked by the juncture of salt and fresh water, and has a remarkable diversity of landscapes and activities.
 

Introduction :

The territory of the municipality is crossed by two major routes: La Rochelle-Royan and Oléron-Saintes.  This has enabled the town, since it is some distance from the major centres, to maintain commercial activity in both its heart and its periphery with its large specialist businesses. Le Gua, a major commercial player nowadays, consists of several villages: Châlons, Souhe, Saint Martin du Gua, Monsanson and Dercie are home to roughly half of the population and over time, have become mainly residential.  However, not so long ago, you could get everything you needed in these villages.  Saint Martin, for example before the war, had three cafés, a garage, a bakery, two groceries and you could get your hair cut too and even buy a bag of nails at the ironmonger’s! 
 

Sites :

The “saloches” or “gabirottes” (local terms) were used for stocking salt or for sheltering customs-men who oversaw the transport and loading of salt.  From photos dating from the 1900s, the “gabelous” sheltered in huts made from planks and branches.They were built on knolls made from rubble and their interior was up to 1m60 high with a floor area of just 1 to 2m², hardly comfortable for the use to which they are supposed to have been put!  But that’s part of the mystery surrounding the “saloches”.

St-Laurent church, probably 11th or 12th century, suffered badly during the Wars of Religion. All that remains today is part of the bell-tower; what you see now is a 19th century building slightly displaced from the original site. Thus, the bell-tower, sited originally between the transepts is now on the southern side of the nave.  The neoclassical façade is not inelegant and the 19th century is typical of its time.

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