Île d'Yeu

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A satellite image of the island
A satellite image of the island
Coat of arms of L'Île-d'Yeu
Coat of arms
L'Île-d'Yeu is located in France
Coordinates: 46°43′30″N 2°20′49″W / 46.725°N 2.347°W / 46.725; -2.347Coordinates: 46°43′30″N 2°20′49″W / 46.725°N 2.347°W / 46.725; -2.347
Country France
Region Pays de la Loire
Department Vendée
Arrondissement Les Sables-d'Olonne
Canton L'Île-d'Yeu
Area1 23.32 km2 (9.00 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 5,001
 • Density 210/km2 (560/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 85113 / 85350
Elevation 0–32 m (0–105 ft)
(avg. 20 m or 66 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.

Île d'Yeu is an island and commune just off the Vendée coast of western France. The island's two harbours, Port-Joinville in the north and Port de la Meule, located in a rocky inlet of the southern granite coast, are famous for the fishing of tuna and lobster.

Administratively, the commune of L'Île-d'Yeu (with that spelling) forms part of the Vendée department and the Pays de la Loire region of France.

The island is reached by ferry from Fromentine or Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie. Air transportation is available at Île d'Yeu Aerodrome (IATA: IDYICAO: LFEY), with commercial service from Nantes Airport.


Carte ile d yeu.png
An aerial view of Port de la Meule

Neolithic markings in the native stone and an unusual concentration of megalithic dolmens and menhirs attest to the island's early sanctity.[1] Whether or not its inhabitants were evangelised at the beginning of the fourth century by Martin of Vertou and Saint Hilaire, Irish monks from Bangor, County Down, dedicated their monastery on the Île d'Yeu to Hilaire; Saint Amand, from Poitou received early training there, but it was destroyed by Viking raiders in the ninth century.

During the tenth century, monks from Marmoutier near Tours and monks of Saint-Cyprien at Poitiers built a new monastery and dedicated it to Saint Stephen. The castle built on an islet linked to the coast by a bridge is first mentioned in 1356.

Since the nineteenth century Île d'Yeu has attracted many artists, such as Jean Rigaud (1912–1999), official painter to the French Navy, who had a house there, and his friend Maurice Boitel (1919–2007). Jean Dufy(French) (1888-1964) is another famous painter who made about twenty paintings of l'Ile d'Yeu during several summer stays there, between 1926 and 1930.

The proclaimed hero of Verdun and the leader of France's wartime collaborationist Vichy régime, Philippe Pétain, died in prison on the island in 1951 and is buried there.

The poet Marc-Adolphe Guégan, an early French exponent of haiku, lived on the island until his death in 1959.

The island's seaweeds have been the subject of studies by the French marine biologist Françoise Ardré, and many notable scientists also summer there.

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