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Charente-Maritime (Department, France): Communautés de communes

Last modified: 2024-03-16 by olivier touzeau
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Bassin de Marennes


Flags of Bassin de Marennes - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 1 March 2022

The Communauté de communes du Bassin de Marennes is an intermunicipal structure in the Charente-Maritime department.
There are 15,500 inhabitants on 181.9 km² in 6 communes: Marennes-Hiers-Brouage, Bourcefranc-le-Chapus, Le Gua, Nieulle-sur-Seudre, Saint-Just-Luzac, Saint-Sornin.

Main center for refining and production of oysters in Europe, the Marennes-Oléron basin is distinguished by its landscapes of marshes largely open to the ocean, its ports punctuated with traditional wooden huts and, above all, its "claires" (refining basins) in which blue navicula, a microscopic blue algae whose “marennine” gives the oysters from this region their unique blue-green color, is formed - but not always. These are the only French oysters benefiting from a Protected Geographical Indication.
Established for a very long time and known since Gallo-Roman times, the oysters of the Charente coast were first picked on wild banks where they reproduced naturally and abundantly. Then, from the 18th century, they began to be bred in oyster farms which succeeded the then abandoned salt marshes. However, this practice was not widespread and until the first half of the 19th century, harvesting oysters was essentially a sideline activity. The real cultivation of the oyster began during the Second Empire, under the decisive impulse of Napoleon III who had the basics of modern oyster farming introduced there with the reorganization of the exploitation of the maritime domain and the introduction of liming technique for collecting oysters. Until around 1920, the dominant oyster was the flat oyster which grew green in the old salting areas, henceforth called oyster beds. The green oysters of Marennes, known as green oysters, had long been appreciated and their production developed rapidly with the arrival of the railway from 1876 which facilitated the marketing of a production essentially intended for the wealthy classes and wealthy people in the capital and major provincial towns.
The Portuguese oyster appeared on the Charente coast in 1868. They entered the market after the terrible epizootic which struck the green Marennes in 1920 when 80% of these oysters from the Marennes basin were decimated. The Portuguese oyster was a real success thanks to its rapid growth and its less complicated breeding than the flat oyster. But victim of its too rapid success, this oyster was hit in its turn by a new epizootic in 1970. It was successfully replaced by the Japanese oyster in 1971 by the import of 50 tonnes of mother oysters from Japan. Since then, the Japanese oyster has taken over from the Portuguese oyster and is now acclimatized to the entire Charente coast.

The flag of the Communauté de communes du Bassin de Marennes is white with logo (photo, 2011; photo, 2021).

Olivier Touzeau, 1 March 2022

Cœur de Saintonge

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Flags of Cœur de Saintonge - left, current flag; right, former flag - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 1 March 2022

The Communauté de communes Cœur de Saintonge is an intermunicipal structure in the Charente-Maritime department.
There are 17,300 inhabitants on 271.8 km² in 18 communes. The seat is in Saint-Porchaire.
First created in 1993 as the Communauté de communes de Saint-Porchaire, the structure was enlarged in 1996, becoming the Communauté de communes du canton de Saint-Porchaire, and, in 1998 the Communanuté de communes Charente-Arnoult Cœur de Saintonge.

In August 2019, the official name was simplified as Communauté de communes Cœur de Saintonge. The logo was changed accordingly.

The flag is white with logo: former logo (photo, September 2018; photo, July 2019); current logo (photo, 2021; photo, 2021).

Olivier Touzeau, 28 February & 8 March 2022


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Flags of Haute-Saintonge - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 28 February 2022

The Communauté de communes de la Haute-Saintonge gathers 68,100 inhabitants on 1,740.1 km² in 129 communes. The seat is in Jonzac.
It was created in 1992 and merged in 2014 with the former Communauté de communes de la Région de Pons.

The flag has the logo off-centered to the hoist and a motto, "Haute en couleurs", in the fly. Three version have been spotted:

  • white version, with the motto in red and with the blue and green seagulls flying in unison of the former logo of Charente-Maritime above: photo (2011, Saint-Germain-de-Lusignan), photo (2013, Jonzac), photo (2013, Cercoux), photo (2014, Saint-Seurin-de-Palenne), photo (2016, Montendre) , photo (2016, Montendre), photo (2020, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde), photo (2021, Saint-Solrin-de-Conac)
  • on variants spotted more recently, the departmental logo does not appear any more, and the motto is more visible with a bolder font (Hudson) and placed in the enter of the fly.
    • blue version, with the motto in yellow: photo (2018, Saint-Germain-de-Lusignan), photo (2020, Jonzac), photo (2021, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde), photo (2021, Jussas)
    • dégradé peach/yellow, motto in black: photo (2019, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde), photo (2020, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde), photo (2021, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde), photo (unknown date, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde)

Olivier Touzeau, 28 February 2022

Île d'Oléron

Flag of the Communauté de communes

[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of the Communauté de communes of Oléron (left, current; right, former) - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 28 February 2022

Oléron (22,324 inhabitants in 2016; 174 km2, the second largest island of European France, after Corsica, is located off the Atlantic coast, on the southern side of thePertuis d'Antioche strait.
The island is divided into 8 municipalities, La Brée-les-Bains, Le Château-d'Oléron, Dolus-d'Oléron, Le Grand-Village-Plage, Saint-Denis-d'Oléron, Saint-Georges-d'Oléron, Saint-Pierre d'Oléron, and Saint-Trojan-les-Bains, which formed in 1995 the Communautés de communes de l'Île d'Oléron.

The official flag of the intermunicipal structure is white with the current logo, adopted in 2017 (photo).
The former flag was white with the former logo, in vertical format 3:2 (photo).

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 10 March 2019

Territorial Flag


Territorial flag of Oléron - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 15 February 2019

A flag (photo) derived from the alleged coat of arms of the island ("Lozengy azure and or a pallet vert"), with the letters "IØ" on the green bar, is also in use on the island.
Quite interestingly, the island's strong identity is with this flag connected to an emblem that is in no way historically connected to the island, and is not even connected to any historical tradition.

The arms are locally presented as those of the former Bailiwick of Oléron. The arms "Lozengy azure and or a pallet vert" are indeed shown in the Armorial Général (image), with the caption "La ville d'Oléron", that is, "The town of Oléron", and not "L'île d'Oléron", "The island of Oléron". The arms were indeed assigned to the town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, located in Béarn close to the Spanish border, whose name was once Oléron. The coats of arms featured in the neighboring plates of the Armorial support this identification, especially those assigned to the canons of the St. Mary cathedral in Oléron / Oloron and those assigned to the Ossau and Aspe valleys.

There is no historical evidence, either, of an administrative or military division called "Bailiwick of Oléron". The official list of the Representatives to the States General called by Louis XVI in 1789 does not list Oléron as a bailiwick but as a "secondary seneschalty". part of the Seneschalty of Saintes.
Louis-Étienne Arcère (Histoire de la ville de la Rochelle et du Pays d'Aulnis, 1754) writes: "Oléron island, which currently depends on the Seneschalty of Saintonge, somewhat belongs to Aunis; it was once under the jurisdiction of the Seneschal of La Rochelle and is surrounded by the military government of Aunis."
There is no record of any historical armorial bearing for the island, which never had a proper administrative status.

The arms featured in the Armorial and now used by the island have nothing to do with the town of Oloron, either. The Armorial shows more than 60 arms designed on the same pattern, "Lozengy ... a pale ...", assigned to different nobles, cannons and burghers from the same area; such series of fanciful arms were invented and duly registered in the Armorial by its zelacious staff when the putative arm bearers refused to register them or, mostly, when time or information was lacking.

The most probable source for the arms of the island is the Armorial national de France, published in 1842 by H. Traversier & L. Vaisse. Oddly enough, the book describes and shows the same arms both for the town of Oloron and the island of Oléron. The book is arranged by geographical sections, so the mere coincidence might have remained unnoticed to the authors, who might have been fooled by the coincidental similarity with the lozengy arms of the nearby Province of Angoumois.
Someone in search of an emblem to promote the island to visitors might have noticed the arms, which conveniently use colors recalling the sea, the sand and the forests of the island. The design, presented as the genuine, historical arms of the island, progressively made its way in the local identity until being widely recognized by the islanders. Three municipalities (Dolus-d'Oléron, Le Grand-Village-Plage, and Saint-Trojan-les-Bains) have adopted arms based on the primary design.

The misattribution of the arms seems, however, to have begun even earlier: it is duly shown (image) in Plans des principales places de guerre et villes maritimes frontières du royaume de France, published in 1736. by Pierre Lemau de la Jaisse.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 10 March 2019

Île de Ré


Flag of Ré - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 25 April 2020

Ré island (17,455 inhabitants in 2016; 8,532 ha, therefore the 4th biggest island in metropolitan France) is located off La Rochelle, on the northern side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait.
A popular tourist destination, the island has a summer resident population of about 220,000. There is a good network of cycle tracks, and a mild climate. The 2.9 km bridge, completed in 1988, connects the island to La Rochelle on the mainland. Previously, the island was connected through roll-on roll-off ferries .

In the mid-12th century, a Cistercian monastery was founded on the island, which 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 Brétigny, the island briefly became English again, until the 1370s.
In February 1625, the Protestant Duke of Soubise, who led a Huguenot revolt against King Louis XIII, invaded and seized Ré with 300 soldiers and 100 sailors. From there he sailed up to Brittany, where he led a successful attack on the royal fleet in Blavet, although he could not take the fort. Soubise then returned to Ré with 15 ships and soon occupied Oléron island as well. He named himself "Admiral of the Protestant Church". A few months later, in September 1625, Charles, Duke of Guise, organized a landing in order to recapture the islands, with the support of the Dutch and English navies. 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 lift the Siege of La Rochelle. After three months of combat in the Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the Duke was forced to withdraw.
The island's main port, Saint-Martin, was fortified by Vauban in 1681. The old city of Saint-Martin, within the walls of the citadel, was inscribed in 2008 to the World Heritage List by ,UNESCO along with 11 others fortifications designed by Vauban across France.
During World War II, the beaches of the island were fortified by German forces with bunkers, in order to block a possible seaward invasion. Many of the bunkers are still visible.

The Communauté de communes de l'Île de Ré, created in 1993, groups the 10 municipalities of the island, from east to west: Rivedoux-Plage (2,280 inh.), La Flotte (2,762 inh.), Sainte-Marie-de-Ré (3,366 inh.), Saint-Martin-de-Ré (seat; 2,231 inh.), Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré (2,248 inh.), La Couarde-sur-Mer (1,206 inh.), Loix (729 inh.), Ars-en-Ré (1,307 inh.), Saint-Clément-des-Baleines (644 inh.), and Les Portes-en-Ré (606 inh.).

The flag of the Communauté de communes (photo, photo) is umber with the authority's logo.

Olivier Touzeau, 25 April 2020