‘Ooh Er Missus!’ – Ile Madame is Charente Maritime’s fourth and smallest island.
Having visited Ile de Ré, Ile d’Oléron and Ile d’Aix I have been wanting to complete the set and visit Ile Madame for quite a while.
This tiny island of only four square miles can be reached at low tide only across a pebble causeway from Port des Barques. You can drive, walk or cycle across (hybrid or mountain bikes only as the pebbles are large).
In common with the other islands it has a fort that was built to protect Rochefort from the English and Dutch navies who were the dominant seafaring nations at the time. The fort can be visited but check before you go in case it is closed.
It’s worth finding the little path that leads to the Puits des Insurgés, a little well built by prisoners in the 19th Century when the well in the fort was insufficient for the needs of the inhabitants. It was initially part of the island but due to high tides and coastal erosion over the years now sits on its own about 20m away from the coast.
There are lots of carrelets around the island so on a sunny day there are photo ops galore if you’re a good photographer – which I’m not…
If you want something to eat, you’re probably best to bring a picnic as these two did
Otherwise, you can buy a snack at the little camping site, visit the small farm or eat at one of the small restaurants at back Port des Barques.
As usual, if you have any questions about cycling in the area please get in touch.