Fort Boyard (fortification)
Fort Boyard is a fort located between the Île-d'Aix and the Île d'Oléron in the Pertuis d'Antioche straits, on the west coast of France and is the filming location for the TV gameshow of the same name. Though a fort on Boyard bank was suggested as early as the 17th century, it was not until the 1800s under Napoleon Bonaparte that work began. Building started in 1801 and was completed in 1857. In 1967, the final scene of the French film Les aventuriers was filmed at the remains of the fort. Fort Boyard is 68 metres long and 31 m wide; the walls were built 20 m high. At the centre is a yard, the ground floor provided stores and quarters for the men and officers; the floor above contained casemates for the emplacements of further quarters. Above that were facilities for barbette mortars; the construction of the fort was first considered during a build-up of the French armed forces undertaken by Louis XIV between 1661 and 1667. Fort Boyard was to form a line of fortification with Fort Enet and Fort de la Rade on Île-d'Aix to protect the arsenal of Rochefort from Royal Navy incursions.
Due to the limited range of artillery in the 17th century, the fields of fire between the fortifications on the islands of Aix and Oléron did not overlap. A fort on Boyard bank midway between the two, would have filled that gap. In 1692 the French engineer Descombs began planning the programme of building the fort. Vauban, Louis XIV's leading military engineer, famously advised against it, saying "Your Majesty, it would be easier to seize the moon with your teeth than to attempt such an undertaking in such a place". After a British raid on Île-d'Aix in 1757, plans for a fort on Boyard bank were once again considered. Though plans were drawn up, the logistical problems again ensured. Efforts were renewed under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1800, the following year engineers Ferregeau and Armand Samuel de Marescot, Vice-Admiral François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros designed a fort to be built on the bank. To facilitate the work, a port was established on île d'Oléron; the village of Boyardville was built for the workers.
The first stage of construction was to establish some 100 by 50 m, to act as foundations. To this end, stones were piled up on the bank; the project was suspended in 1809. Construction resumed in 1837, under Louis-Philippe, following renewed tensions with the United Kingdom; the fortifications were completed with sufficient room for a garrison of 250 men. However, by the time of its completion, the range of cannons had increased, making the fort unnecessary for national defence. After 1871, Fort Boyard was used as a military prison, before being abandoned in 1913; as time went by, the fort crumbled and deteriorated into the sea as it was left unmaintained. In 1950 it was made a listed building, in 1961 was sold to Charente Maritime Regional Council, it has been the filming location of both the French and international versions of the TV gameshow of the same name since 1990, was the location for filming The Last Adventure, starring Alain Delon, Lino Ventura and Joanna Shimkus. Notes Bibliography Media related to Fort Boyard at Wikimedia Commons
Charente-Maritime is a department on the southwestern coast of France named after the Charente River. A part of Saintonge and Aunis, Charente-Inférieure was one of the 83 original departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. On 4 September 1941, it was renamed Charente-Maritime; when first created, the commune of Saintes was assigned as the prefecture of the department. This changed in 1810 when Napoleon passed an imperial decree which moved the prefecture to La Rochelle. During World War II, the department was invaded by the German army and became part of occupied France. To provide defence against a possible beach landing, the Organisation Todt constructed a number of sea defences in the area. Defences such as pillboxes are noticeable on the beaches of the presqu'île d'Arvert and the island of Oléron. At the end of the war there were only two pockets of German resistance: La Rochelle, in the north and Royan in the south. Despite being completely destroyed during an RAF bombing raid on 5 January 1945, the town of Royan wasn't liberated by the French resistance until April of the same year.
La Rochelle was captured on 9 May 1945. Charente-Maritime is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine administrative region, it has a land area of 6864 km² and 628,733 inhabitants as of 2012. The important rivers are the Charente and its tributaries, the Boutonne and the Seugne, along with the Sèvre Niortaise, the Seudre, the Garonne, in its downstream part, the estuary of the Gironde; the department includes the islands of Île de Ré, Île d'Aix, Ile d'Oléron, Île Madame. The department forms the northern part of the Aquitaine Basin, it is separated from the Massif Armoricain by the Marais Poitevin to the north-west and from the Parisian basin by the Seuil du Poitou to the north-east. The highest point in the department is in the woods of Chantemerlière, near the commune of Contré in the north-east, rises to 173 m. Charente-Maritime is surrounded by the departments of Gironde, Deux-Sèvres and Vendée; the climate is mild and sunny, with less than 900 mm of precipitation per year and with insolation being remarkably high, in fact, the highest in Western France including southernmost sea resorts such as Biarritz.
Average extreme temperatures vary from 38 °C in summer to−5 °C in winter. The economy of Charente-Maritime is based on three major sectors: tourism, maritime industry, manufacturing. Cognac and pineau are two of the major agricultural products with maize and sunflowers being the others. During the summer months, families flock from all over Europe to bask in the sun and enjoy the local seafood. Royan, popular for its extensive beaches and attractions, is one of the most famous seaside resort of atlantic coast. Charente-Maritime is the headquarters of the major oyster producer Marennes-Oléron. Oysters cultivated here are shipped across Europe. Rochefort is a shipbuilding site and has been a major French naval base since 1665. La Rochelle is a seat of major French industry. Just outside the city is a factory for the French engineering giant Alstom, where the TGV, the cars for the Paris and other metros are manufactured, it is a popular venue for tourism, with its picturesque medieval city walls. The inhabitants of the department are called Charentais-Maritimes.
The President of the General Council is Dominique Bussereau of the Union for a Popular Movement. Popular destinations include, La Rochelle, Saintes, St Jean d'Angely, Rochefort, Île d'Aix, Île de Ré and Île d'Oléron; the department is served by the TGV at La Rochelle. It can be reached by motorway by the A10 and A837. Cantons of the Charente-Maritime department Communes of the Charente-Maritime department Arrondissements of the Charente-Maritime department Éclade des Moules "Charente-Inférieure". Encyclopædia Britannica. 5. 1911. Charente Maritime website News Charente Maritime Official Tourism Guide of Charente-Maritime Official Tourism Guide of Charente-Maritime Charente Maritime News Zoo de la Palmyre Ile d'Oléron Ile de ré Tourisme Ile de re
The TGV is France's intercity high-speed rail service, operated by the SNCF, the state-owned national rail operator. The SNCF started working on a high-speed rail network in 1966 and presented the project to President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who approved it. Designed as turbotrains to be powered by gas turbines, TGV prototypes evolved into electric trains with the 1973 oil crisis. In 1976 the SNCF ordered 87 high-speed trains from GEC-Alstom. Following the inaugural service between Paris and Lyon in 1981 on the LGV Sud-Est, the network, centered on Paris, has expanded to connect major cities across France and in neighbouring countries on a combination of high-speed and conventional lines; the TGV network in France carries about 110 million passengers a year. Like the Shinkansen in Japan, the TGV has never experienced a fatal accident during its operational history; the high-speed tracks, maintained by SNCF Réseau, are subject to heavy regulation. Confronted with the fact that train drivers would not be able to see signals along the track-side when trains reach full speed, engineers developed the TVM technology, which would be exported worldwide.
It allows for a train engaging in an emergency braking to request within seconds all following trains to reduce their speed. The TVM safety mechanism enables TGVs using the same line to depart every three minutes. A TGV test train set the world record for the fastest wheeled train, reaching 574.8 km/h on 3 April 2007. Conventional TGV services operate up to 320 km/h on the LGV Est, LGV Rhin-Rhône and LGV Méditerranée. In 2007, the world's fastest scheduled rail journey was a start-to-stop average speed of 279.4 km/h between the Gare de Champagne-Ardenne and Gare de Lorraine on the LGV Est, not surpassed until the 2013 reported average of 283.7 km/h express service on the Shijiazhuang to Zhengzhou segment of China's Shijiazhuang–Wuhan high-speed railway. The TGV was conceived at the same period as other technological projects sponsored by the Government of France, including the Ariane 1 rocket and Concorde supersonic airliner; the commercial success of the first high-speed line led to a rapid development of services to the south, west and east.
Eager to emulate the TGV's success, neighbouring countries Italy and Germany developed their own high-speed rail services. The TGV system itself extends to neighbouring countries, either directly or through TGV-derivative networks linking France to Switzerland, to Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as to the United Kingdom. Several future lines are planned, including extensions to surrounding countries. Cities such as Tours and Le Mans have become part of a "TGV commuter belt" around Paris. A visitor attraction in itself, it stops at Disneyland Paris and in tourist cities such as Avignon and Aix-en-Provence as well. Brest, Chambéry, Nice and Biarritz are reachable by TGVs running on a mix of LGVs and modernised lines. In 2007, the SNCF generated profits of €1.1 billion driven by higher margins on the TGV network. The idea of the TGV was first proposed in the 1960s, after Japan had begun construction of the Shinkansen in 1959. At the time the Government of France favoured new technology, exploring the production of hovercraft and the Aérotrain air-cushion vehicle.
The SNCF began researching high-speed trains on conventional tracks. In 1976, the administration agreed to fund the first line. By the mid-1990s, the trains were so popular that SNCF President Louis Gallois declared that the TGV was "the train that saved French railways", it was planned that the TGV standing for très grande vitesse or turbine grande vitesse, would be propelled by gas turbines, selected for their small size, good power-to-weight ratio and ability to deliver high power over an extended period. The first prototype, TGV 001, was the only gas-turbine TGV: following the increase in the price of oil during the 1973 energy crisis, gas turbines were deemed uneconomic and the project turned to electricity from overhead lines, generated by new nuclear power stations. TGV 001 was not a wasted prototype: its gas turbine was only one of its many new technologies for high-speed rail travel, it tested high-speed brakes, needed to dissipate the large amount of kinetic energy of a train at high speed, high-speed aerodynamics, signalling.
It was articulated, comprising two adjacent carriages sharing a bogie, allowing free yet controlled motion with respect to one another. It reached 318 km/h, its interior and exterior were styled by British-born designer Jack Cooper, whose work formed the basis of early TGV designs, including the distinctive nose shape of the first power cars. Changing the TGV to electric traction required a significant design overhaul; the first electric prototype, nick
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. As of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France, 36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas; this is a higher total than that of any other European country, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
This is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions: COM of Saint-Martin, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. The median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a
Les Minimes, Port de plaisance des Minimes, is the largest marina in France for pleasure boats. It is located in the city of La Rochelle, its named is derived from the establishment of a convent of the Frères Minimes in this area during the Middle Ages. There are slips for about 3,500 boats; the whole area has seen intense urban development, with the construction of many residential buildings. The marina offers sailing access to the protected Pertuis d'Antioche and its surrounding islands, such as Île de Ré, Île d'Aix and Île d'Oléron
Île de Ré
Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle, on the northern side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait. Its highest point has an elevation of 20 metres, it is five kilometres wide. The 2.9 km Île de Ré bridge, completed in 1988, connects it to La Rochelle on the mainland. Administratively, the island is part of the Charente-Maritime département, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine région; the island is a part of the Charente-Maritime's 1st constituency. Located in the arrondissement of La Rochelle, Île de Ré includes two cantons: Saint-Martin-de-Ré eastwards and Ars-en-Ré westwards; the island is divided into 10 communes, from East to West: Rivedoux-Plage, La Flotte, Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré, La Couarde-sur-Mer, Ars-en-Ré, Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, Les Portes-en-Ré. During Roman times, Île de Ré was an archipelago consisting of three small islands; the space between the islands was progressively filled by a combination of human activity and silting.
In the seventh and eighth centuries the island, along with Oléron, formed the Vacetae Insulae or Vacetian Islands, according to the Cosmographia. Since Vaceti is another name for the Vascones, this reference is evidence of Basque settlement or control of the islands by that date. In 745, the Duke of Aquitaine, retired to a monastery on the island. In the mid-twelfth century, a Cistercian monastery was founded on the isle, where the Abbot Isaac of Stella sojourned amid the Becket controversy; the island became English in 1154, when Eleanor of Aquitaine became queen of England through her marriage with Henry Plantagenet. The island reverted to France in 1243, when Henry III of England returned it to Saint Louis through a treaty. In 1360, with the Treaty of Bretigny, Île de Ré became English again, until the 1370s. In February 1625, the Protestant Duke of Soubise led a Huguenot revolt against the French king Louis XIII, after publishing a manifesto and occupied the island of Ré, he seized Ré with 100 sailors.
From there he sailed up to Brittany, where he led his successful attack on the royal fleet in Blavet, although he could not take the fort after a three-week siege. Soubise returned to Ré with 15 ships and soon occupied the Ile d'Oléron as well, thus giving him command of the Atlantic coast from Nantes to Bordeaux. Through these actions, he was recognized as the head of the reform, named himself "Admiral of the Protestant Church." A few months in September 1625, Duke of Guise organized a landing in order to recapture the islands, with the support of the Dutch and English navies. The fleet of La Rochelle was defeated, as was Soubise with 3,000 men, when he led a counter-attack against the royal troops who had landed on the island; the island was invested forcing Soubise to flee to England. In 1627, an English invasion force under the command of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham attacked the island in order to relieve the Siege of La Rochelle. After three months of combat in the Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré against the French under Marshal Toiras, the Duke was forced to withdraw.
The English lost 5,000 out of 7,000 troops during the campaign. The main port, Saint-Martin, was fortified by Vauban in 1681 as a component of the belt of forts and citadels built to protect the military harbour of Rochefort, it was used as a depot for convicts on their way to the penal settlements of New Caledonia and French Guiana. Prisoners included Alfred Dreyfus, en route to the penal colony of Devil's Island after his conviction for treason; the old city of Saint-Martin, within the walls of the citadel, was added in 2008 to the World Heritage Site list, along with 11 others Fortifications of Vauban across France. During World War II, the beaches of the Île de Ré were fortified by German forces with bunkers, in order to block a possible seaward invasion. Many of the bunkers are still visible, in a less derelict state. Several scenes of the 1962 movie The Longest Day were filmed on the beaches of the island. In 1987, a three-kilometre bridge was built to connect the island to the mainland.
The island was connected through roll-on roll-off ferries, which could accommodate vehicles and passengers. In peak summer time periods, the waiting time to board a ship could reach several hours; the bridge was built by Bouygues. Since tourism on the island has developed with real estate prices reaching high levels; the easier transportation system has stimulated the purchase of holiday homes by people from as far as Paris, who can visit for week-ends in spring and summer. Using the bridge requires the payment of a toll and makes it the most expensive road to use per kilometre in France; the Paris-La Rochelle high-speed train trip takes just three hours, taxis or buses can be taken to the island. Île de Ré can be reached from Paris by plane. It takes only 45 minutes to fly from Paris to La Rochelle airport, five minutes from the bridge, assuming no traffic delay; the area is a popular tourist destination. It has the same number of hours of sunshine as the southern coast of France; the island has a constant light breeze, the water temperature is cool.
The island is surrounded with sloping, sandy beaches. The island has a winter resident population of 20,000 residents and a summer resident population of about 220,000. Since the local population is distributed all over the island, it gets crowded; the island has a network o
Agudelle is a French commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. Agudelle is located some 7 km south by 10 km east of Mirambeau, it can be accessed by the D153 road from Nieul-le-Virouil in the west to the village continuing east to join the D19 road. There is the D154E1 from Salignac-de-Mirambeau in the south through the commune to the village. There is a network of country roads covering the whole commune; the commune is farmland with a large forest in the north and patches of forest in the south. Apart from the village there is the hamlet of Chez Nicoleau in the south of the commune; the altitude varies from 47 to 77 metres above sea level. The western border of the commune consists of a stream which flows into the Etang d'Allas just outside the north-western border of the commune; the eastern border of the commune is delineated by the Maine stream. In the 12th century Agudelle forest belonged to the Order of Fontevraud; the chapel was given to Lambert, the founder of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Crown in 1116 to establish a priory.
List of Successive Mayors of Agudelle Agudelle is part of the Canton of Jonzac together with 19 other communes. Agudelle part of the Community of communes of Haute-Saintonge; this group includes 123 communes in the south of Charente-Maritime and is the largest intercommunal structure in France. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Agudelle and Charente-Maririme Department in 2009 Sources: Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2009, INSEE. Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2009, INSEE; the main product of the commune is grapes for Pineau des Charentes. The Church of Saint Eutropius has been listed as a historical monument since 31 December 1986; the church contains two items that are registered as historical objects: A Statue: Saint Eutropius in polychrome wood. A Bronze Bell The Tower House dates from the 19th century. Communes of the Charente-Maritime department Cantons of the Charente-Maritime department Arrondissements of the Charente-Maritime department Agudelle on Lion1906 Agudelle on Google Maps Agudelle on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Agudelle on the 1750 Cassini Map Agudelle on the INSEE website INSEE