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Title: Ars-en-Ré  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Plus Beaux Villages de France, Claude Barma, Communes of Charente-Maritime, Arrondissement of La Rochelle, Saleignes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Coat of arms of Ars-en-Ré
Coat of arms
Ars-en-Ré is located in France
Country France
Region Poitou-Charentes
Department Charente-Maritime
Arrondissement La Rochelle
Canton Ars-en-Ré
Intercommunality Île-de-Ré
 • Mayor (1995–2020) Jean-Louis Olivier
Area1 10.95 km2 (4.23 sq mi)
Population (2010)2 1,330
 • Density 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 17019 / 17590
Elevation 0–15 m (0–49 ft)
(avg. 6 m or 20 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Ars-en-Ré is a French commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Poitou-Charentes region of southwestern France.

Formerly called just Ars, the commune changed to its current name on 8 March 1962.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Arsais or Arsaises[1] but they are nicknamed the Casserons: the casseron is a baby cuttlefish, a saltwater fish commonly found on the island.


  • Geography 1
    • Neighbouring communes and villages 1.1
  • History 2
    • Heraldry 2.1
  • Administration 3
  • Demography 4
    • Distribution of Age Groups 4.1
  • Sites and Monuments 5
    • Civil Heritage 5.1
    • Religious Heritage 5.2
    • Ars-en-Ré Picture Gallery 5.3
  • Notable people linked to the commune 6
  • See also 7
    • External links 7.1
  • Notes and references 8
    • Notes 8.1
    • References 8.2


Location of Ars on the île de Ré

Ars-en-Ré is one of 10 communes located on the Île de Ré off the coast of La Rochelle and is in the north-western part of the island some 8 km west of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. Access to the commune is by the D735 road which crosses to the island from the end of National Highway N237 at La Rochelle. The D735 passes along the north coast of the island through Saint-Martin-de-Re and continues north-west to the commune passing through the town and continuing north-west to the Baleines Lighthouse. Apart from the town there is the village of La Grange nearby on the coast and Le Martray to the east along the coast. The town occupies the centre of the commune and there are forests on the western side with the rest of the commune farmland including extensive Salt farms.[2]

Dyke on the edge of the Fier d'Ars

Its harbour is the largest on the Ile de Ré and is located at the bottom of the Fier d'Ars (a body of water penetrating the land from the north-east and bordered by marshes), which is reached by a channel through the Salt farms. A lock closes the tidal basin which has with 250 berths. A new basin with 130 berths is to be created in future at the channel entrance. There are 150 moorings on buoys in the outer harbuor and the channel has a capacity of 550 berths, mainly dedicated to the pleasure craft. A beach on the south coast of the island, bordered by a dyke to protect the land, extends to the Baleins Lighthouse at the western tip of the island.

Neighbouring communes and villages[2]


The Prince of Soubise was defeated here in 1624.[3]

The port was important during the "salt era" until the beginning of the 20th century.

The Gabelle or Salt tax was significant in the area.


Arms of Ars-en-Ré

Or, Semé-de-lis Azure with a galley of Gules.


The Town Hall of Ars-en-Ré
List of Successive Mayors[4]
From To Name Party Position
1959 1966 Jacques Moinet
1983 1995 Emile Gaudin UDF
1995 2020 Jean-Louis Olivier UMP

(Not all data is known)


In 2010 the commune had 1,330 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population Change
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
3,600 3,643 3,602 3,612 3,875 3,609 3,668 3,700 4,043
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
3,776 3,547 3,486 3,171 2,012 2,034 2,024 1,897 1,727
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
1,560 1,434 1,392 1,173 1,113 1,045 984 854 919
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -
913 915 961 1,023 1,165 1,294 - 1,330 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Population of Ars-en-Ré

Distribution of Age Groups

The population of the town is relatively old. The ratio of persons above the age of 60 years (40.2%) is higher than the national average (21.6%) and the departmental average (28.1%). As with national and departmental allocations, the male population of the town is less than the female population (45.9% against 48.4% nationally and 48.2% at the departmental level).

Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Ars-en-Ré and Charente-Maritime Department in 2010
Ars-en-Ré Ars-en-Ré Charente-M Charente-M
Age Range Men Women Men Women
0 to 14 Years 10.4 11.5 17.2 15.1
15 to 29 Years 12.8 11.5 16.4 14.3
30 to 44 Years 18.2 13.6 18.4 17.7
45 to 59 Years 22.1 19.6 20.8 20.6
60 to 74 Years 21.2 20.2 17.6 18.2
75 to 89 Years 14.8 19.1 9.1 12.5
90 Years+ 0.5 4.4 0.6 1.6


  • Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2010, INSEE.
  • Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2010, INSEE.

Sites and Monuments

The village is a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages in France).[5]

Since 2011 the commune has belonged to the network "Villages of stone and water", a label initiated by the General Council to promote exceptional sites with the distinction of being located near a body of water (sea, river, pond ...).[6]

Civil Heritage

Ars-en-Ré has a large number of buildings that have been registered as historical monuments by the Ministry of Culture. These are:

  • Windmills (17th-18th century)[7]
  • Houses (16th-20th century)[8]
  • A Guardhouse at Place Carnot (18th century)[9]
  • The War Memorial at Place Carnot (1925)[10]
  • The Jules Perrier Museum at Place de la Chapelle (19th century)[11]
  • A Salt Refinery at Rue de Mouillebarbe (19th century)[12]
  • 2 Salt Works on Rue Mouillebarbe (19th century)[13]
  • A Tower at Batterie-Karola (1942-1944)[14]
  • The Kora-Karola Artillery Battery which was part of the German Atlantic Wall (military area).[15][16]
  • The Fort of Le Martray (1674)[15][17]

There are a very large number of items in Ars-en-Ré that are registered as historical objects and in private collections. For a complete list of these items with links to descriptions (in French) and photos click here.

Other sites of interest
  • The Port with its new tidal basin at the entrance of the access channel.
  • Le Martray, the nearest place to the main island.
  • The Fiers d'Ars
  • Salt farms
  • The old station of the Petit train de l'Île de Ré (1898) at the port.
  • The surfing spot at Grignon Point.

Religious Heritage

Many religious buildings and monuments are registered as historical monuments at the Ministry of Culture:

  • The Priory of Saint-Étienne in the Place Carnot (11th-17th centuries)[18] The Priory contains a very large number of items that are registered as historical objects. For a complete list including links to descriptions (in French) and photos click here.
  • The Convent of the Sisters of Wisdom at Rue du Havre (1862)[19]
  • A Monumental Cross at the Port (1899)[20]
  • A Monumental Cross on the Route de Saint-Clément (1836)[21]
  • The Pinaud Cross on the Route de Saint-Clément (destroyed)(17th century)[22]
  • A Monumental Cross on N735 (1890)[23]
  • The Church of Saint-Étienne (12th century).[24] Its bell tower, painted in black and white, serves as a Daymark for sailors.
  • The Convent of the Sisters of Charity (18th century)[25]
  • The Protestant Church (destroyed) (1603)[26]

Ars-en-Ré Picture Gallery

The Church
Fishing and Boats

Notable people linked to the commune

  • Mathurin Renaud (14 October 1641 – 1676), born in Ars-en-Ré (parish of Saint-Étienne), an important historical figure: a pioneer of New France and one of the first inhabitants of Charlesbourg.
  • William Barbotin (1861-1931), painter and engraver.
  • Marie-Thérèse Dethan-Roullet (1870-1945), painter, was born here.
  • Lionel Jospin, former Prime Minister of France, had a house here where he stayed regularly.
  • Claude Barma, former Italian Film director, father of Catherine Barma, was buried here.
  • In the Narthex of the church there is a representation of John Vianney (1786-1859), the famous "Curé of Ars" although he was a priest in the commune of Ars-sur-Formans in Ain.

See also

External links

  • Ars-en-Ré official website (French)
  • Île de Ré on the official site of the department of Charente-Maritime (French)
  • Ars-en-Ré on Lion1906
  • Ars-en-Ré on Google Maps
  • Ars-en-Ré on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute (IGN) website (French)
  • on the 1750 Cassini MapArs
  • Ars-en-Ré on the INSEE website (French)
  • INSEE (French)

Notes and references


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002, the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force in 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ Inhabitants of Charente-Maritime (French)
  2. ^ a b Google Maps
  3. ^ Dezobry and Bachelet, Dictionary of Biography, t.1, Ch. Delagrave, 1876, p. 149 (French)
  4. ^ List of Mayors of France (French)
  5. ^ Ars-en-Ré on the most beautiful villages in France website
  6. ^ 13 villages unite for better or for worse, article by Thomas Brosset published in Sud Ouest, 10 February 2011 (French)
  7. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042975 La Boire (1) IA00042976 La Boire (2) IA00042977 La Boire (3) IA00042982 Moulin de la Fontaine IA00042978 La Grelière (French)
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042964 Rue d'Angleterre (1) IA00042962 Rue d'Angleterre (2) IA00042961 Rue d'Angleterre (3) IA00042967 Rue des Bardons IA00042970 Rue de la Boire IA00042950 Place Carnot IA00042963 Rue du Cinq Un IA00043324 Rue du Corneau IA00043329 Rue du Havre (1) IA00042952 Rue du Havre (2) IA00042951 Rue du Havre (3) IA00042955 Winemakers House at Ruelle des Marais IA00042960 Winemakers House at Rue Nationale IA00042969 Rue des Ormeaux (1) IA00042968 Rue des Ormeaux (2) IA00042971 Rue des Ormeaux (3) IA00042966 Rue du Palais (1) IA00042965 Rue du Palais (2) IA00042958 Rue Ravalante IA00042953 Rue Simon IA00042956 Impasse Thiers IA00042948 Le Graffaud House at Rue Thiers IA00042957 Rue Thiers (1) IA00042954 Rue Thiers (2) IA00042959 Rue Thiers (3) IA00042949 Seneschal House at Rue des Tourelles PA00104600 Manor at Rue des Tourelles IA00042981 Le Martray IA00042979 Le Boutillon IA00042940 20 Houses (French)
  9. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00043328 Guardhouse at Place Carnot (French)
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042973 War Memorial at Place Carnot (French)
  11. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042941 Jules Perrier Museum at Place de la Chapelle (French)
  12. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00105304 Salt Refinery at Rue de Mouillebarbe (French)
  13. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00043327 Salt Works (1) IA00042972 Salt Works (2) (French)
  14. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042974 Tower at Batterie-Karola (French)
  15. ^ a b Coastal Fortifications - Charente Maritime, R. Desquesne, R. Faille, N. Faucherre, and P. Prost, Éditions patrimoine et médias, ISBN 2-910137-03-1 (French)
  16. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA17000044 Kora-Karola Artillery Battery (French)
  17. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042980 Fort of Le Martray (French)
  18. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042943 Priory of Saint-Étienne at Place Carnot (French)
  19. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00043325 Convent of the Sisters of Wisdom at Rue du Havre (French)
  20. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042947 Monumental Cross at the Port (French)
  21. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042945 Monumental Cross on the Route de Saint-Clément (French)
  22. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042944 Pinaud Cross on the Route de Saint-Clément (French)
  23. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042946 Monumental Cross on N735 (French)
  24. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00104599 Church of Saint-Étienne (French)
  25. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00043326 Convent of the Sisters of Charity (French)
  26. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA00042942 Protestant Church (French)
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