An unforgettable day on the Ile d’Aix in Vendée: discover an unspoilt gem
Imagine a small, picturesque island nestled in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, offering breathtaking scenery and a peaceful atmosphere. Welcome to Ile d’Aix, a hidden treasure. Every year, this pearl of the region attracts visitors in search of tranquillity. The day begins with a short ferry crossing from the Vendée coast. Crossings start at 8 a.m. to take full advantage of the island. for an hour’s crossing, you can also leave from La Rochelle’s Vieux Port and enjoy fabulous views and a guided contemplation of the famous Fort Boyard.
Explore the fortress and picturesque village…
Once on the island, discover the Fort de la Rade. This fortress is a landmark steeped in history. Built in the 17th century under Vauban, it played a strategic role in the defense of the Atlantic coast. The panoramic view from the ramparts is nothing short of spectacular, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding area.
Then continue on to the village of Ile d’Aix. This charming, picturesque village is made up of small traditional houses with colorful shutters. Stroll through the narrow streets and small stores selling local crafts. You’re sure to find some unique souvenirs to take home.
Discover the history and architecture of the island…
Have you noticed the bust of Emperor Napoleon at the entrance to Le Bourg? The island’s history is closely linked to that of the Emperor.
Napoleon spent his last days on the Île d’Air before being taken to the island of St. Helena in 1815. Napoleon wanted to give new impetus to fortification work and decided to build two forts: Fort Boyard and Fort de la Sommité.
Have fun finding the street names that pay tribute to him: Place Austerlitz, Rue Napoléon, Rue Marengo…
At the junction of Rue des Remparts and Rue Napoléon, you’ll find the Musée Napoléon. The Musée historique de l’Île d’Aix traces the presence of Emperor Napoleon on the island during his exile. You’ll learn interesting facts about this period of history and admire historical artifacts.
Nearby, don’t miss a visit to Saint-Martin church! Listed as a historic monument, it is an architectural jewel dating from the 17th century and bears witness to the Romanesque art of the Saintonge region.
Take a break to savor the island’s specialties…
After this captivating tour, it’s time for a bite to eat. Visit one of the village’s charming restaurants , which offer breathtaking sea views. Taste delicious local specialties, such as fresh seafood and traditional Vendée dishes.
In the village
- Hôtel Napoléon-Restaurant l’Insulaire, French cuisine in a refined setting. A sure bet, this restaurant’s reputation is well established and it garners the best reviews on Google.
- Isola Nostra, traditional wood-fired cuisine using local produce. The Italian accent with the region’s fine French cuisine. A sunny combo that perfectly complements the restaurant’s warm setting. So you can enjoy your lunch to the full, even to take away.
Drive along the coast of the Île d’Aix and its historic sites…
In the afternoon, you can explore the island’s charms on foot or by bike.
Tip: Ile d’Aix is entirely pedestrianized, making it the ideal place to explore by bike with the kids. Renting a bike on site is an excellent option for those wishing to explore the island more quickly. For around ten euros each, you can rent bikes for the day.
Start your tour along Anse de Saillant to Pointe de Coudepont. On the coast, discover the shellfish beach, the plaice huts and a breathtaking view of Fort Enet. Continue on your way and don’t miss a visit to Fort Liédo. Formerly known as Fort de la Sommité, a visit here will take you on a journey into the bowels of the past, just like the many batteries you’ll find along the way.
Drive along the coast of Ile d’Aix and its picture-postcard beaches…
Crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches invite you to relax and swim. Relax on one of the island’s heavenly beaches. The Tridoux beach is almost a kilometer long! No wonder it’s also known as Grande Plage.