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Saint-Just-Luzac

Saint-Just-Luzac, as the name implies, is a combination of Saint-Just and Luzac and is the largest municipality in the Marennes canton. There is a huge variety of activities on offer and scenery ranging from the limestone of the former “isle” of Saint Just, to the freshwater marshes in the north to the salt-marshes in the south beside the Seudre.
 

Introduction :

The villages and hamlets of the municipality of Saint-Just-Luzac are widely dispersed as a result of the importance of salt-farming. As Man regained land from the marshes, so the hamlets and villages grew along this long “island” of Saint Just to the point where every village had its own port and zones of loading and unloading – Port Chiffeu at Mauzac, Port Marceau at Luzac, Port Charretier at Saint Just…

The gradual abandonment of the salt-marshes during the 18th and 19th centuries had a profound impact on local economic life. Production of “claires”, the speciality of Marennes-Oléron oyster-farming replaced salt-farming in the marshes by the Seudre.Today, Saint-Just-Luzac is home to about one-third of all the oysters produced in the Marennes-Oléron basin in over 300ha of “claires”, thanks to the deep channels of Luzac and Recoulaine. There are many oystermen’s huts along the Luzac channel (La Pauline), at Artouan and at the picturesque site of La Fosse Bertine.
 

Sites :

The Moulin des Loges gets its name from the shelters made from plants that used to protect the salt-ponds and the salt. The history of this tidal mill is fairly vague but one of the stones shows the date of 1719. This seems inexact when a sale deed for the mill was enacted in 1612; curiously, the date of 1719 was written in Arabic characters. There were up to ten or so mills of this type along the banks of the Seudre with one dating to the 12th century, which leads one to suppose that the Moulin des Loges may date from a similar period. As the tide comes in, the water feeds a reserve pond via a little channel; as the tide goes out, the water leaving the reserve pond turns a wheel which makes the mechanism function and the millstones turn.

Despite the size of the parish and the large number of villages, the church of Saint Just was for a long time the only place of worship. Being too small to accommodate the faithful, the very rich mother abbess of Saintes decided to enlarge it in the 15th century. At the time it had three doorways but no bell-tower. Work on the latter began in the early 16th century with a very original triangular porch. The architecture is refined and the decoration of the supports for the porch and the internal renaissance door is most elegant. In 1568, at the start of the Wars of Religion the church, still without its bell-tower, became a defensive site and the idea of building a tower finally abandoned. Instead, a bell named “Françoise” after the abbess was installed in 1612 in a modest bed of stone. Legend has it that the architect of this never-completed bell-tower was killed by his brother who was jealous of the former’s more ambitious plan to build a tower at Marennes. In any case, the work was never undertaken. The church of Saint Just was listed in 1910.

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