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July 11, 2024

On the French Island of Ile de Ré, Donkeys Are Traditionally Dressed in Fashionable Trousers

In the past, donkeys were frequently used for agricultural work, collecting kelp from the coast, harvesting salt or transporting it from one village to another. Donkeys were an integral part of the community in Île de Ré and accompanied the daily life of its inhabitants.

The locals used to dress their donkeys in panties made of recycled fabric. Thus, old curtains with stripes or flowers were given a new life on their friends the Poitou donkeys. Tradition even tells us that a woman from Ars had the idea of using her husband's old shirt to dress her donkey. But why is that? The reason for this singular dress is not related to a particular desire to create a cute look, but rather the need to spare donkeys from the constant aggression from the flies and mosquitoes that are abundantly found in salt marshes.

If the donkey has gradually disappeared from the agricultural landscape with mechanization, you can still encounter some as you walk around. And if you feel like going for a walk with them, go to Saint-Martin-de-Réo n the Ile de Ré with your children! Parc de la Barbette is the ideal place to get to know them. 
Anyway, you can’t miss this famous mascot of the island. Indeed, the products bearing the effigy of the famous Rothic animal are numerous: postcards, plush toys, T-shirts, mugs, piggy banks, smartphone shells... the donkey is available in all possible and imaginable formats. In the commune of Loix, there are even soaps made from donkey’s milk made in Ile de Ré!

(via Villa Île de Ré)


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