|How Debby Solved the Puzzle
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1. Ile de Re, France
2. To keep them from being bitten by mosquitoes.
3. Eleanor of Acquitane.
It became the property of Henry II (Henry Plantagenet) of England
when she married him in 1154.
|Answer to Quiz #342
February 12, 2012
|1. These are symbols of what place?
2. For what practical reason are these animals dressed this way
(besides making money from tourists)?
3. Who did it belong to in 1153? Then what happened?
|Suggested by Quizmaster Emeritus Marilyn Hamill.
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Shirley Hamblin Milene Rawlinson
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|Comments from Our Readers
I could not reach an answer the last two weeks. This week I lost days chasing down
"burros". Had a human been standing beside these Donkeys, I would have
seen that they are much taller!. Hope this is right! Maureen O'Connor
Very interesting quiz, Thanks. Jim Baker
I didn't have much luck finding anthing at first. Then I looked a the filename of the
photo, anes sur ile. I searched that and found images of the donkeys. Gary Sterne
Your website is very interesting and I just couldn't resist the donkeys. I forgot to
answer the other questions but I didn't know the answer anyway. I would have
guessed somewhere on a tropical island but a Google search tells me they are from the
Isle of Rhe off the coast of France near La Rochelle. Sounds lovely. Surprising to
learn it was once ruled by the British. Wish I'd thought to make pants like that for my
donkeys when I had them! Tara Buckland
Friday, August 29, 2008 in Europe,
France, Ile de Re
Yesterday I was lolling about the harbor
of St-Martin, sitting on the thick limestone
walls near the little lighthouse, just
hanging out. It’s a great people-watching
Anyway, at some point I noticed that in
|The donkeys on l’île de Ré in coastal
France used to wear trousers for
practical reasons: to keep the
mosquitos and sea salt off their legs.
Now les ânes en culotte is bringing
back the fashion and, they hope, the
donkey, whose presence is dwindling.
|This one was easy:
I googled 'Donkeys + gingham".
This site was the 2nd link in the list and gave me my first clues.
'Baudets du Poitou, a type of purebred island beast of burden used in
the fields of Ile de Re a hundred years ago. And the reason they wear
pants is because of the salt marshes, where nasty flies and
mosquitoes were so abundant. The gingham pants were designed to
protect the donkeys from insect bites.'
Most of the sites I found after that were tourism sites but I was able
to learn from Wikipedia and a few other sites.
Île de Ré(formerly also Île de Rhé, Île de
Rhéaor Île de Rhea-in English Isle of
Rhé) is an islandoff the west coast of
France near La Rochelle, on the northern
side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait. This
island is completely flat; it is 30 km long
and 5 km wide. A 2.9 km bridge,
completed in 1988, connects it to La
Rochelle on the mainland.
Administratively, the island is part of the
Charente-Maritime département, in the
Poitou-Charentes région. The island is
also a part of the Charente-Maritime's 1st
constituency. Located in the
arrondissement of La Rochelle, Île de Ré
includes two cantons: Saint-Martin-de-
Réeastwards and Ars-en-Ré westwards.
The island is divided into 10 communes,
from East to West: Rivedoux-Plage, La
|Location of the Île de Ré
off the west coast of France
Flotte, Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, Saint-Martin- de-Ré, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré, La Couarde-
sur-Mer, Loix, Ars-en-Ré, Saint-Clément- des-Baleines, Les Portes-en-Ré.
In 1987, a 3 kilometer bridge was built to connect the island to the continent.
Heretofore, the island was connected through roll-on roll-off ferries (called "bacs"),
which could accommodate vehicles and passengers. In peak summer time periods, the
waiting time to board a ship could reach several hours. The bridge was built by
Bouygues. Since then, touristic activities on the island have developed considerably,
with real estate prices reaching very high levels. The easier transportation system has
stimulated the purchase of holiday homes by people from major cities from the French
West, and up to Paris, who can visit for week-ends, mostly in spring and summer. The
Paris-La Rochelle high-speed train (TGV) trip takes just 3 hours, and then taxis or
buses can be taken to the island.
The area is a popular tourist destination. It has approximately the same number of hours
of sunshine as the famous southern coast of France. The island is noted to have a
constant light breeze, and the water temperature is generally cool. The island is
surrounded with gently sloping, sandy
beaches, which are a real treat for families
and tourists.The island has a resident
winter population of approximately 20,000
residents and a resident summer
population of about 220,000. Since the
local population is distributed all over the
island, it seldom gets crowded.[citation
needed]The island is covered by bicycle
tracks, with many residents rarely using
cars for transportation. Camping grounds
and hotels abound on the island, as well as large supermarkets and all modern amenities.
Many families stay on the island for the duration of their vacations.
Night life consists of going to Saint Martin, the main port, or to La Flotte, to walk along
the quays and to potter around the shops, which are open late. Restaurants abound. At
night, visitors can watch the buskers, have a drink or enjoy the island's delicious
artisanal ice cream, all set in a family-friendly atmosphere.
As a famous holiday resort on the Atlantic coast, the island has its fair share of
celebrities, past and present. Among others, Jean Monnet, the father of European Unity,
singers Charles Aznavour and Claude Nougaro, actors Bernard Giraudeau and Claude
Rich, actress Carole Bouquet, writer Philippe Sollers and Princess Caroline of Monaco
used to or still spend their holidays there. Lionel Jospin, who was Prime Minister of
France from 1997 to 2002, retired on the island after his withdrawal from political life.
Johnny Depp has also been spotted there.
Oysters and fresh fish are always available. There is also a tradition in which the
fishermen, upon returning from the sea, sell a small quantity of their catch directly on
the quays, enabling them to buy a drink. Markets are open on a daily basis in the main
towns and are a popular place to shop, taste and chat. Even the vendors in the markets
come to the island on their holidays. Generally, they work only in the mornings,
enabling them to enjoy the remainder of the day. A large variety of items can be bought
at the market, such as comics, books, African articles, ceramics, clothes, artifacts,
food, local specialities, tools and
The island became English in 1154, when
Alienor d'Aquitaine became queen of
England through her marriage with Henry
Plantagenet. The island would be reverted
to France in 1243, when Henry III of
England returned it to Saint Louis through
a treaty.In 1360 however, with the Treaty
of Bretigny, Île de Ré would again become English until the 1370s.
Location: Sainte Marie
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very attractive rental in Sainte Marie, 23 sq
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the park there was a guy who had a bunch of donkeys and kids were getting on the
donkeys and riding them in a little loop around the park. Okay, no big deal. Lots of
parks have horse rides for kids, right? Here in France they do donkeys. Same-same.
Except there was something odd about these donkeys. They were all wearing gingham
pantaloons. Which, I’m sorry, is just not a natural look for donkeys (or anyone for that
matter). So I went over and talked to the donkey guy, whose name was Régis Léau,
and we had a very difficult conversation, half in broken English, half in broken French,
and I think this is what he told me:
These are a special type of donkey called Baudets du Poitou, a type of purebred (is that
even possible with donkeys?) island beast of burden used in the fields of Île de Ré a
hundred years ago. And the reason they wear pants is because of the salt marshes,
where nasty flies and mosquitoes were so abundant. The gingham pants were designed
to protect the donkeys from insect bites.
Okay, so that all makes sense. But they don’t use the donkeys in the fields anymore so
I don’t know why they need to put pants on these guys. Except the kids seem to like it.
“Hey, dad, can we ride the donkeys with pants?”
I wonder how long it takes a donkey to get dressed in the morning? And do donkeys
put on their pants one leg at a time? My French is not good enough to ask Régis these
questions. But one does wonder.
Poitou donkey is the tallest and the oldest donkey. It has been bred around Melle, Deux
Sèvres. This breed was primarily used to breed mules –(mare crossed with a donkey)
The Poitou donkey, known in France as Le Baudet de Poitou, is one of the most
endangered species in the world today.In 1978 there were just 44 registered pure bred
donkeys left in France and even today there are fewer than 500 worldwide.
Large head,and ears covered with long hair.The long shaggy coat of the Poitou is
always dark brown or black, and have a distinct curly yet silky appearance-known as
"bourrailloux".The donkey can be brush. It used to say that the long hair was supposed
to hide defects. His legs are strong and they used to say as bigger than coach horses.
Massive bone structure and a large foot with long hair.