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Aix Island

Ile d’Aix is a fairly small island that you can explore on foot or by bike. The island is accessible by ferry from Pointe de la Fumée, 2 km along a peninsula from Fouras and 30 km south of La Rochelle. A place not to be missed during your vacation at camping La Tour des Prises.

ile d'Aix

Aix Island’s rich heritage

Cross the drawbridge and you’re on the Place d’Austerlitz, just before the fortified village designed by Vauban. Stroll down rue Napoléon, rue Gourgaud … Discover the little streets where low houses with multicolored shutters and assorted hollyhocks … A real postcard!
Not to be missed:

  • the Napoleon Museum, where the emperor spent his last days before going into exile on St. Helena.
  • the Musée Africain and its vast zoological collections brought back by Baron Gourgaud.
  • Maison de la Nacre: meet Hervé Gallet, one of France’s last mother-of-pearl craftsmen. It’s the ideal place to bring back beautiful vacation memories.
  • Fort Liédot: the island’s guardian, in the north of the island, an architectural treasure trove.

The island’s industry is currently based on oyster cultivation.

Explore the island of Aix

A pleasant island to walk around, Ile d’Aix is virtually car-free (just fire brigade, rubbish collection, etc.), and there are several paths crossing the island (the northern part is more wooded, the southern part more exposed).
If you don’t like walking, a bicycle rental service is available, and horse-drawn carriages also pull visitors around the island.

The forts

The forts are the main attraction, particularly Fort Liédot on the north side of the island, which is now used for occasional outdoor events in summer and can be visited. The fort is largely square, with substantial fortifications and rooms surrounding an inner courtyard.
To the south of Ile d’Aix, you can also see Fort de la Rade, an important fort until the early 19th century, when Fort Liédot was built.
Just off the coast of the island is Fort Boyard, and accessible by boat, this 19th century fort was later used as a prison, and more recently as the base for a popular French TV game of the same name.
In the small town around your port of arrival, you’ll find a selection of restaurants and stores meeting basic requirements.

Museums on the island of Aix

The two museums here owe their existence to a certain Baron Napoléon Gourgaud, a descendant of Baron Gaspard Gourgaud who accompanied Napoléon on his exile to St. Helena.
The house that Napoleon owned is now a Napoleon Museum, with a large collection of accessories linked to his life and other military events in his career, including a vast collection of paintings, miniatures and busts.
Nearby, there’s also an African museum. As you might expect from an African explorer and hunter in the early 20th century, the collection contains some rather surprising items!

Beaches of Ile d’Aix

To walk or sunbathe on the “Grande Plage” is to enjoy the most beautiful view in Charente-Maritime of Fort Boyard, the emblem of the department, but also located on the commune of the island. That’s why Rochefort Océan is Fort Boyard country!
Don’t forget to take a break on the other beaches: the little-visited “Sables d’Or” beach, ideal for sunbathing, the Mediterranean “Baby Plage” beach, the long “Plage des Coquillages” … So which do you prefer?