inauguration of the decorated alleys on Île Penotte

Vendée Les Sables d’Olonne 2019 – People gathered to inaugurate the decorated alleys of Île Penotte

Penotte Island in Les Sables d’Olonne
Penotte Island in Les Sables d’Olonne

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There were barriers to avoid the rush. But the many guests rushed to witness the inauguration of the new cobblestones, magnificent with drawings of fish, on Île Penotte.
The party was enlivened by the music of a beautiful orchestra, which gave a guinguette atmosphere adapted to the place with its small alleys and its rural air.
Not to spoil anything, a bright and burning sun accompanied the whole ceremony, which was marked by speeches by Dan’ Arnaud-Aubin, the former deputy mayor of Louis Guédon and Yannick Moreau, the new mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne.

Let’s briefly recall what we said a few days ago: Ile Penotte is a heavenly, wonderful, enchanting place, thanks to the “lady of shells”, Dan’ Arnaud-Aubin, who produced magnificent frescoes using seashells.
A tourist walk that has become a must for every hiker who comes to discover Les Sables d’Olonne.
But if the walls covered with frescoes were magnificent, the floor, made of pink and gray paving, lacked appeal. This paving dates from the 1990s.
Dan’ Arnaud-Aubin dreamed of replacing it with a pavement more appropriate to the site and its alleys. She had won her case with the former mayor and it was in September 2018 that the work had started. The work, which was completed in December 2018, took a little longer than expected because it was also necessary to repair the gas pipe (in the middle of the straits) and then the water pipes.

Dan ‘Arnaud-Aubin therefore thanked Louis Guédon, who has always supported him in his work of developing frescoes of shells, the former mayor Didier Gallot “who signed the municipal decrees for the realization of the new paving” and the last mayor, Yannick Moreau, who came to preside over the inauguration ceremony.

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Penot Island


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Click on the images to enlarge

The shells of exotic islands like those of local origin – mussels, clams, winkles and other scallops – can be considered while taking a walk on a much more decorative plot.
Remember that the name of Ile Penotte comes from the name of one of the streets in this district which bore this name but no longer exists today. And this name exists only since the 19th century, because before and especially during the revolution this small district was calledLost Island. It is true that in all these winding streets there is plenty to get lost in….
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Didier Gallot, Dan Arnaud-Aubin and Louis-Guédon in September 2017


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A party in September 2017 for the 20th anniversary

A similar party took place in September 2017 for Penotte Island’s 20th anniversary. Didier Gallot was the mayor at the time and was present at this little party (photo above).
Dan had then rolled out the story of this little island (Editor’s note: which regularly allows tourist office agents to smile when visitors ask them where the pier should go and visit it…).
She then thanked the owners of the houses on Île Penotte who had agreed to put the frescoes of shells on their walls. Then she wrote a little history about her, her arrival on Ile Penotte 20 years ago to live there as her main occupation. She then drew a nightmarish vision of the place at that time: pee, no lighting, a gambling hall not far away, which led to poor patronage of these alleys, a “deplorable neighborhood” as Dan then ventured to say to describe the neighborhood. that she had just invested.

The Mermaid’s House by Hippolyte Massé, in La Chaume


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Hippolyte Massé’s house as a model

It was a little later, during a meeting with Louis Guédon, Gérard Faugeron and Jacques Ruchaud, that he learned of an old house in La Chaume. that the owner had decorated with shells and which was called the House of the Mermaid (a shell mermaid appeared on the bottom of one of the sections of the wall).
It was Hippolyte Massé, a zinc worker living in La Chaume, who in the summer completed his activity by being one of the canal’s smugglers.
This is how the idea of ​​the Penotte Island shells was born. It was then February 1997.
The project is growing thanks to friends from Senegal sending beautiful shells from Senegal. And then also seafood from Tahiti thanks to his son who lives there.
We know the result: magnificent frescoes that attract tourists from all over France, a feat that is the subject of magazine and television reports. And a tourism medal for the author.
At the time, Dan was concerned about the preservation of his work. And the question of a Heritage listing arose.
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Click on the images to enlarge


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Party on Saturday 11 May 2019

Today the mood was for the party and everyone was happy with these new settings. Dan took the floor, thanked those who had helped him with this achievement, congratulated the company that worked on the laying of the paving stones and indicated that they were waiting for the hollyhocks…
Louis Guédon then took the floor and discussed the origin of the name “Penotte. He recalled the amusements of children of his age who popped the corks with their pocket money – collected as altar boys – and who then entered the exciting streets of Penotte Island, a privileged place for children in need. of nonsense thanks to its intertwining of alleys , especially to smoke in peace.
He praised Dan, his talent and his creativity, which was expressed over time. Referring again to one of the frescoes depicting Neptune, the God of living waters and springs (and the seas), he claimed that Dan was thus protected by the gods. One was entitled to the enumeration of the animals found on the frescoes as a pledge of their varieties.
In 2017, he brought a note of humor to the ceremony, showing at the same time a certain tenderness for the lady with the shells when she was worried about the durability of her work: “This work is bound to defy the centuries»
The assistance, good-natured, laughed happily. “Dan will thus be immortalized” he then continued.
Today he congratulated Dan for his work which brings so much to the town of Les Sables d’Olonne.
The mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne Yannick Moreau humorously indicated that not everyone had the same use of the cobblestones on Saturdays…
He also congratulated Dan Arnaud-Aubin for his achievements that made Île Penotte the tourist center of the town of Les Sables d’Olonne.

Louis Guédon was then invited to start the famous song “La mer est belle” picked up in chorus by the crowd and the personalities present: the senator Annick Billon, the department councilor Gérard Faugeron, Isabelle Gallot, vice-president of the Simenon festival and many others.

Video

The cost of the work for the town of Les Sables d’Olonne was €110,000.

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Philippe Brossard-Lotz

The sand reporter

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Launch of the 2022 donation campaign for “Le Reporter sablais”
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