France - Bike ride on the island of Aix near La Rochelle

Bike ride on the island of Aix in western France

On your trip around Bella medieval town of La Rochelleat west of france, you can visit a very small island where nature and history are great protagonists.

With just 130 hectares, it is an island without cars, which you have to visit on foot or, much better, by bicycle. I mean the island of Aix.

On my last trip through western France I had the opportunity to visit the island of Aixwith a bicycle tour, which is simple on an island that is only 3 kilometers long and 700 meters wide.

Village on the island of Aix in western France

Located south of the much more famous island of Re, and not far from the historic enclave of Fort boyard, the island of Aix It is mostly known because Napoleon took refuge for two days in it before being arrested and then exiled to st. Helen.

Aix island history

But the first writings where reference is made to the island of Aix They date back to 1070, when at that time it housed a priory of monks.

Later, in 1614 the King Louis XIV He set up an arsenal on the island. In fact Aix it became one of the islands where the famous fortifications of Vouban to protect the ships that were built in Rochefort.

Lighthouses on the island of Aix in western France

The most important historical moment was, as I said before, when in 1815 Napoleon spent three nights in the old governor's house before surrendering to the English.

That house currently has a small museum dedicated to Napoleon.

The year 1925 was also key in the history of this small island, as it was when some barons bought the island and recovered it from its former use as a military camp.

Fort Liedot on the island of Aix in western France

They were the drivers of the aforementioned napoleon museum and from another dedicated to Africa.

Now you also find themother of pearl museum, in which the works of the last artisan in France dedicated to work with this substance are collected.

And the French emperor is also the protagonist on the island, naming the Napoleon Hotel, a small design establishment that has been open since 2010, which is the only one on the island, where there is also a hostel.

Hotel Napoleón on the island of Aix in western France

In you bike ride on the island of Aix you will leave the small town shows the rural architecture of the region, and you will reach a pine and cypress forest where the fortification of Fort leidot.

This fort was during a time a prison in which, between 1956 and 1962, the Algerian independence leader was imprisoned, then president of Algeria, Ben Bella.

Photos island of Aix

Here you have a gallery of photos of the island of Aix, west of France.

Video: gs500 island crossing in france (December 2019).