“This evergreen oak wood was recorded as early as 1407 but was undoubtedly there much earlier”, recounts former architect Philbert Dupont. “It was chopped down and razed on several occasions: by the Spanish in 1524, by the Dutch in 1674 and by the Vendée and republican armies in 1793 to meet their need for firewood during a very harsh winter.
The Jacobsens, who owned most of the wood, went on to plant pine trees before dividing the wood into plots.”
A listed site, the Bois de la Chaise witnessed the beginning of its tourist age with the island’s notables, who built more than 100 villas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The beach huts on the Plage des Dames, Plage des Sableaux and Anse Rouge cove marked the start of seaside tourism. Ladies would use them to slip into their swimming costumes at a time when sea bathing was fashionable and modesty still very much alive.