Hiers-Brouage, as its name implies, consists of two villages, joined in 1825. The municipality is situated on over 3000ha of marshland with an exceptional natural environment and a highly-rated heritage.

Introduction :

Hiers-Brouage is an unmissable site for lovers of history, opposite Oléron, just a few km from the ocean to the north of Marennes. The citadel’s ramparts, with their iconic watchtowers stand over the marshes and an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. Follow the pathways to observe herons, egrets and, amongst others, swans. In the spring, storks can be seen in their nests. Inside the citadel are a number of working artists and artisans who display their products in a range of galleries that hold frequent exhibitions.

Sites :

The citadel of Brouage is in fact a former salt-trade port fought over by Protestants and Catholics during the Wars of Religion. Cardinal Richelieu became governor in 1627 and the following year, Pierre d’Argencourt built the ramparts, reinforced by Vauban in 1685. There is more to see than just the city walls : the royal forge, the prison with its cells, the covered market, the ice-house, the underground port and the powder magazines. A stone construction in the centre of the marshes, the citadel offers the curious spectacle of an inland port. Brouage was listed as a historic monument in 1886.

The church of Brouage was built in 1608 and dedicated to St Paul and St Peter. This striking building with three naves separated by pillars is of a military sobriety. The floor of the nave is composed of gravestones including that of the Marquis de Carnavalet, just before the altar, the last famous governor of the town. The stained glass, by Nicolas Sollogoub, was presented between 1982 and 2001 by the Provinces of New Brunswick and Ontario, the city and Province of Quebec, by various public and private French donors and by the artist himself. On the façade are the impressive arms of François d’Espinay de Saint-Luc and Pierre de Comminges.

In 1580, Bernard Palissy had the idea of building a fountain to provide drinking water for Brouage. Situated close to the church at Hiers, the fountain wasn’t actually constructed until 1618. It brought together water from various springs and then channelled them in lead pipes to Brouage. In 1633, manholes were built every 200m to ease maintenance; the system operated into the 18th century.

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