Small heritage

Beyond the prestigious heritage sites, there are many enchanting places that deserving a look in Marennes-Oléron.

There are fish locks dating back to the Middle Ages: when the tide begins to ebb the fish get trapped in the horseshoe-shaped locks. Please note that fishing is reserved to the co-owners of the locks. These 14 active locks also have a positive effect on coastal preservation as they break the offshore swell. Three renovated locks situated between Saint-Denis and La Brée are easily accessible. You must visit at low tide of course and please take note that these locks are extremely fragile and easily damaged. 

Traditional houses are an important part of the local heritage. In Marennes-Oléron there are three types of houses built prior to World War One : the peasant house, the fisherman house and the "maison de maître". The peasant house's characteristic feature is its outdoor stairway which gives access to the first floor. The first floor was used as storage space for the harvests which also provided thermal insulation. The fisherman house is characterised by a low roof and white walls. In order to protect them from the rain and frost, at spring time the walls are white-washed with a sand and lime mixture. To see a fine example of a fisherman houses head to Chaucre, a small village in the Saint-George district. The "maison de maître" with steep slate roofs were usually found on the wine properties.

Furthermore there are scatterings of windmills and wine and spirit store houses called "chais".

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