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Photograph No. 15

Former landing stage bridge abutment, Marine de Bel Air in Saint-Louis, 2020



Historical and technical data


Located south of the city of Saint-Louis, the locality of Bel Air takes its name from Placide Didion, known as "Bel Air", one of the first concessionaires of land along the coast in the 18th century. Baptized "island of Benjoins", this plot belonged around 1803 to a certain Rougemont who led the water from the Saint-Etienne River to the water wheel of a wheat mill. This canal is the first established in the south of the island in the 19th century. ( Source :mi-love-a-ou)

Our historiographical research in the departmental archives of Reunion brought to our attention a plan of the Bel Air area from 1857. This plan gives us an overview of the projection of the wharf as well as the bathymetric points relating to the moorings of the boats.

St Louis bel air_carte_1.jpeg

Figure 1: Georeferencing of the Bel-Air landing stage, Saint-Louis

The website


The underwater archaeological prospecting operation, referenced OA: 4457, revealed the remains of a low wall. The structure is located below the coastal path of Bel-Air, a place formerly called "la marine" near the mouth of the Saint-Etienne river on a pebble beach. The low wall presents on the surface an inclined plane oriented West South-West facing the foreshore at about 12 meters by low tide.
The architectural elements observed on the site, the location of the structure and its method of construction, corroborate with the photographic and cartographic sources in particular the plan of geometric steps. These elements allow us to propose the hypothesis that we would be in the presence of the abutment of the landing bridge of Bel-Air (Saint-Louis). A declaration of discovery of maritime cultural property has been made to the Department of Underwater and Underwater Research.

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