Page 8 - Lifestyles in Palm Beach Gardens - November '22
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Page 8, Lifestyles in Palm Beach Gardens
      La Rochelle: Town Of Two Countries

      By Don Kiselewski, MCC,
      D.S., Palm Beach Gardens
      Travel Leaders
        Aquitaine is the traditional
      name for the southwestern
      province  in  France  where
      La Rochelle can be found.
      The area was first controlled
      and used by Julius Caesar in
      the first century B.C. Under
      the Romans,  the province
      extended from the Loire River
      in the north to a location south of the estuary known as Gironde.
        La Rochelle was born in the early 12  century. At that time
      the islands of Oléron and Ré, off the west coast of France, had
      already established their personalities. But La Rochelle was
      just a tiny dot on the map. The first references of La Rochelle   The Saint-Nicholas Tower (left) and the Chain Tower (right)
      mentioned its salt pans and fishing fleet. It was recorded
      in 996 A.D. among the archives of St. Cyprian’s Abbey in   of their marriage.
      Poitiers, and noted a small population of people who lived a   She   kept   he r
      fair distance from the coast, near the church of Notre Dame   possessions and two
      de Cougnes. Archeological excavations at the site revealed a   years later in 1154,
      Roman agricultural center as well as a treasure in Roman coins   she gave them to
      that were found in the area known as Benon.        Henry Plantagenet,
        The area was controlled by the Duke of Aquitaine, whose   Count  of Anjou,
      titles were held by the Counts of Poitiers from the 10th to the   who became King
      12th century. The last duke was William X who wasn’t as well   Henry II of England.
      known or powerful as his daughter, Eleanor. Whether it was her   Talk about working
      beauty or her land possessions, the fact remains that she was able   both sides of the
      to shape the nationality of that part of the world. In 1137, she   Channel!                          The Old Prison of La Rochelle
      inherited the duchy of Aquitaine from her father and the same     Some  16  years
      year became the queen consort by marrying Louis VII of France.  later, she convinced                 and free customs.” This made the town a place of refuge,
        When Eleanor accompanied her husband, the king, on his   her husband Henry                         attracting a major influx of people from France and abroad.
      second crusade to the Holy Land, it was rumored that she   to relinquish some                          During the following three centuries, no ruler could unite
      had committed adultery. The scandal, along with the fact that   of the gifts she had                 the countries that constituted the Kingdom of France and
      she had not given the king a male heir and a few other issues   given him and invest                 England. In reality it was the port that drove the influences of
      including blood kinship with the king, resulted in an annulment   them in her son,                   the time because it controlled the transport of wine and salt to
                                                         Richard “the Lion-                                England. The shallow-entranced channel restricted ships even
                                                         Hearted”…  this                                   at high tide. The quayside was flanked by splendid town walls,
                                                         included Aquitaine.                               while the entrance to the city was through a stone gate that
                                                         Richard and his                                   remains today. The gate was altered in the 18th century when
                                                         brother rebelled                                  a clock was added to the top of the tower; consequently, the
                                                         against Henry and  The Saint-Nicholas Tower was   structure is now referred to as the Clock Gate.
                                                         because Eleanor  constructed from 1372 to 1376 and     The Clock Gate is but one of the four large towers built
                                                         sided with her sons,  sits at the mouth of La Rochelle’s main   around the harbor. Most notable are the two towers built at the
                                                         she  was  placed  in  harbor on the south bank.   mouth of the harbor in the 14th century. The Saint-Nicholas
                                                         confinement where                                 Tower is located on the south bank, while opposing it on
                                                         she remained until Henry’s death in 1189. With Richard out   the north bank is the Chain Tower. These towers controlled
                                                         on the Third Crusade, Eleanor was left in charge and ruled as   shipping that entered the harbor. The Chain Tower controlled
                                                         regent for five years. This time in history was depicted by the   ships from slipping out of the harbor at night without paying
                                                         1968 movie Lion In Winter, staring Academy Award-winner   the port taxes.
                                                         Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor.                       The fourth large structure is the ornate Lantern Tower; also
                                                           La Rochelle was developing faster than other towns in the   known as the Garrot Tower. It’s located outside of the harbor
                                                         area. In order to expedite this growth, from 1132 to 1137, the
                                                         area between the old village and the sea was granted “liberties   La Rochelle: Town Of Two Countries on page 9

      Statue of Admiral Guy-Victor Duperré

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        The Strickland family had a memorable vacation in St. Lucia
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