In the early 50s, Yvonne and Léon Gallet founded a company which would provide for a large part of the island's population for roughly 40 years. The Île d'Aix is the, therefore, the only place in France where the profession of mother of pearl craftsman is practised. In order to pay homage to the family business and the island expertise on working with mother of pearl, Hervé Gallet opened this museum in 2005.
Discover his original scenography and his beautiful items.
With a surface area of 174km², this is the largest French island after Corsica.
Thanks to a sunny climate the island is known as Oléron the bright, with its geographical situation - it is the southernmost island of all the Atlantic iles - giving it a more mid-atlantic climate.
More than 20,000 people live on the island which is linked to the mainland by a road bridge, constructed in 1966.
The island is made up of eight villages, including Saint-Pierre d'Oléron and Château d'Oléron. The landscape is varied, with sand dunes, marshes and forests, and you can easily catch a glimpse of the famous Fort-Boyard.
Dating from the XIIth to the fifteenth century, the Lantern Tower on La Rochelle's Old Port has a long history behind it. In the Middle Ages, the tower monitored and disarmed the boats entering the port, serving as a hub for keeping watch and guiding the boats with its lighthouse.
In the sixteenth century, the Lantern Tower was first used as a prison for priests, later on for Vendeans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and for the English from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
It is the oldest lighthouse on the coastline.
Flanked by the two famous towers, the Chain and the Saint-Nicolas towers, the old port of La Rochelle has been situated at the end of a narrow inlet since the 13th century . Fortified from its installation, the port has survived the destruction of the city walls and has kept its towers as monumental remains.
Built during the
14th and 15th centuries, these towers have survived the conflicts which took place within the town, particularly in 1628 . On each side of the port, the two towers face each other.
In 1780, the Marquis de La Fayette left Rochefort to bring reinforcements overseas to the troops fighting for American independence. The journey was swift on board the Hermione, crossing the Atlantic in 38 days. The Hermione was a light but sleek frigate with its 26 canons, a ship which nevertheless measured 44 metres in length and 11 in width.
A local association, Hermione-La Fayette, has since 1997 been working on the construction of a near-perfect replica of the historic ship (with only a few modifications to respect modern day regulations). The Chantier de l'Hermione, the specially-made shipyard, was designed to accomplish this highly-technical undertaking, but also to accommodate visitors who wish to learn about the project.
Once finished, the Hermione will be sailing off to new adventures on the high seas, or docked in harbours on both sides of the Atlantic.