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Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron (Municipality, Charente-Maritime, France)

Last modified: 2024-01-06 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: charente-maritime | saint-pierre-d'oleron | oleron | ship |
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Flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 March 2022

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Presentation of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron

Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron (6,627 inhabitants in 2021; 4,055 ha) is a commune in the department of Charente-Maritime, on the island of Oléron, of which it is the main town. The commune has twenty-nine hamlets, in addition to the two urban centers: the city center and the the port of La Cotinière.

The municipal territory seems to have been populated since the Paleolithic period, at a time when Oléron was not yet an island.
The Gallo-Roman era has left some traces in the town. The lack of documents does not allow us to know much about the period from the 5th to the 11th century.
In 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine, on which the county of Saintonge depended. After her annulled marriage to the King of France Louis VII, her almost immediate remarriage to the Count of Anjou Henri Plantagenêt, future King of England, submits Aquitaine to the English influence from 1154. Like the rest of Aquitaine, the island of Oléron drew a certain freedom from this situation, which was materialized by the granting of a communal charter in 1199. The commune of Oléron (which included the whole island) had a "mayor" elected, assisted by a college of aldermen. The parish of Saint-Pierre was organized under the leadership of the lords of Bonnemie, of which are found mention from the second half of the 13th century. Saint-Pierre was probably then a modest town taking advantage of fishing and trade with English ports. The Hundred Years' War disrupted this established order and the island was disputed between the French and English parties until 1372, when it finally passed under French control. In 1380, it entered the domain of the powerful lords of Pons.
The lordship of Bonnemie, until then held by the Fors family, passed to the de Céris family in 1376. The marriage of the family heiress, Marie de Céris, to Pierre Jourdain in 1508 saw the estate pass into new hands. In 1545 Pierrette Jourdain married Jean Le Berton, making the Le Bertons the lords of Bonnemie for 350 years.

After the Revolution, the 19th century saw some major transformations, including the creation of a major communication route linking Le Château-d'Oléron to Chassiron in 1837. On the west coast, the port of La Cotinière took its growth, facilitating the export of Saint-Pierre products (wine, eau-de-vie, vinegar, salt) to the continent. The arrival of the railway in 1904 allowed optimal service to the various towns on the island. The island of Oléron was occupied by German troops (44th division of the Wehrmacht) on June 29, 1940. Cores of resistance were gradually organized, while the Germans fortified the island. Operation Jupiter, aimed at liberating the Oléron pocket, began on April 30, 1945. On May 1, Saint-Pierre regained its freedom.

The second half of the 20th century was characterized by a considerable development of tourism, an activity which increased further with the construction of the bridge to the island of Oléron in 1966. Housing estates and commercial areas were built, mainly in the town of Saint-Pierre and in the fishing village of La Cotinière.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 March 2022

Flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron

[Flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oleron]

Flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron - Photo by Olivier Touzeau, August 2015

The current flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron is blue with thin white lines, a yellow stripe and the logo of the commune in white (photo, 2018).

Olivier Touzeau, 4 March 2022

Former flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron


Former flag of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 March 2022

The former flag of Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron, as reported by Pascal Vagnat (source: was white with the coat of arms, the name of the commune in an arch above, and the name of the island below.

The arms of Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron are blazoned: Azure a bend sinister reticulated Gules between a shining sun Or issuant from the dexter side of the chief and a small boat of the same, sails Argent, on a sea Argent issuant from the base, a chief Azure too chraged with three escallops Argent.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 March 2022