The unspoiled island of Noirmoutier-en-l’Ȋle
Noirmoutier-en-l’Ȋle is a commune, situated in the northern part of the island of Noirmoutier, off the coast, in the western part of France. The name “Noirmoutier” means “black monastery” in English, which was given to the island for the darkly clad monks who lived on the island in the seventh century. Noirmoutier-en-l’Ȋle has some spectacular attractions, peaceful and soft sandy beaches, not to mention the French cuisine. The commune contains three villages: Noirmoutier, L’Herbaudiere and Le Vieil. The locals are very friendly and the landscapes of the commune are beautiful. If you would like to spend your holiday in a peaceful destination with an agreeable atmosphere, Noirmoutier-en-l’Ȋle is the perfect place for you!
The cultural heritage of Noirmoutier-en-l’Ȋle
There are numerous tourist attractions here: historic buildings, especially churches and chapels, which is not surprising if we think of the monks who inhabited the whole island.
The Château de Noirmoutier is one of the town’s best-known attractions. The first traces of the castle appeared in 830. At the beginning it served to protect the island’s population from the Vikings. The construction of the castle began in the 12th century. Later, the castle resisted for numerous attacks from the English in 1342 and 1360, and again in 1386. Today the castle houses a museum which presents the island’s history, from prehistoric times to the beginning of the 19th century. The museum can be visited every day, except Tuesday. The visiting hours depend on the season.
The Parish Church of Noirmoutier is dedicated to St. Philbert, a monk who founded a monastery here around 674. The church was first destroyed in 725 and later 732 but it was reconstructed in 801. Forty five years later it was again destroyed by the Normans and rebuilt at the end of the 11th century but more primitively than previously. Its neo-Romanesque bell tower was built in 1875.
The Jacobsen Dam was built in 1812 to create a towpath and a channel which facilitates the access to the port. Near the channel visitors can find an impressive graveyard of ships. On the other side of the pier, there are marshes with beautiful waterfowls.
The Noirmoutier-en-l’Île Sealand Aquarium
The aquarium is home to about 200 species of animals. Visitors will have the occasion to admire the fantastic show of the sea lions and their trainers. The aquarium can be visited every day, between the 5th of February and 11th of November. (June 2012)
The island of Noirmoutier is home to the most expensive potatoes in the world, named “La Bonnotte” potatoes. The cost of one kilogram can reach 500 euros. Noirmoutier-en-l’Île is also known for its seafood dishes such as grilled sardine and baked germon tuna.
The island has several beautiful beaches, such as Plage de la Claire, Plage de Dames, Plage des Sableaux or Plage de Mardi Gras. Some of them are situated in small picturesque bays with many boats, others are long stretches of sand backed by dunes. If you are looking for peaceful, not-so-crowded beaches, you can’t go wrong with Noirmoutier-en-l’Île!