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La Flotte Village and Chateliers Abbey

Plus Beaux Villages de France

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La Flotte is a small town and port situated on the northern shore of the Island of Ré not far from the bridge that connects the island with the mainland. The town is a member of "The Most Beautiful Villages of France" -"Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" organization.
The town, a network of white painted houses, has an impressive church dedicated to Saint Catherine.
The church initially built in the 15th century but reconstructed several times after. The façade dates from 1818. Inside the church, near the entrance, one can see the bell that was given in 1632 to La Flotte parishioners by Cardinal Armand de Richelieu, church bell that bears his name: Armand. The bell was lowered from its tower in 1958 because of the corrosion of one of its holding rings.
A less known but interesting fact about La Flotte is that it was the birth place in 1591 of Nicholas Martiau. While not exactly famous, Nicholas Martiau was the great-great-grand-father of the first American president! Nicolas Martiau was a French engineer who immigrated to the New World where he was elected in 1623 in the "House of Burgers" of the young colony of Jamestown, Virginia. He married an American lady, Jane Barkley, and one their 5th generation descendents was George Washington.
Not far from La Flotte village lie the ruins of the Chateliers Abbey. The abbey was built by Cistercian monks in the 12th century and at the time was one of the biggest abbeys in the west of France. During its history Chateliers Abbey survived religious wars and attacks from the sea by the English fleet and was several times reconstructed. Its nowaday's vestiges are part of the abbey's church built in Gothic style probably in the 13th or 14th centuries. These beautiful ruins are still reminding the visitor of the abbey's bygone splendor.

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Address:17630 La Flotte, Ile de Re
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