Holidays in Charente-Maritime
France's second most popular tourist destination, the Charentes is a place steeped in history, with a soothing hinterland and an Atlantic coast offering some of the most beautiful beaches in France.
The richness of the heritage with its castles, forts, towns, Roman buildings, Romanesque churches (over 600), the diversity of places and emblematic events with the islands of the Charente channels, La Rochelle, Rochefort, Saintes, Cognac, etc. means that you have to make a choice, it is impossible to see everything!
So, naturally, your choice of holiday destination will depend on the type of Charente-Maritime holiday you are looking for, and there is no single answer to this question.
A holiday in Charente-Maritime is synonymous with the peace and quiet of the countryside, while still being able to visit a number of historic and emblematic sites.
It is preferable to look for accommodation close to the historic or emblematic sites you have chosen, a little way from the towns and at least 10 km from the coast. The advantage will obviously be the peace and quiet and the budget compared with a stay on the coast. Holidays in Saintes, Cognac or less well known Brouage will be rewarding destinations.
If holidays in the Charente-Maritime mean beaches, idleness and the ocean to you, a stay on one of the islands will be just the thing.
Even if the islands are well connected to the mainland by a bridge for Ré and Oléron, and a ferry for the Ile d'Aix, the time needed to reach the mainland will not be negligible. The risk of traffic jams is high in summer, making getting to and from the islands of Oléron and Ré a tricky business. Each of these islands will appeal to you:
The Île de Ré, with its wild salt marshes, oyster huts and parks, has managed to preserve its breathtaking landscapes and the beauty of its typical villages, while becoming a mecca for summer tourism, and even a magnet for socialites, in the Charente Maritime region.
The Ile d'Oléron, 30km long, is the largest island in France after Corsica. Oleron is nature at its most magnificent, raw and wild. With its long, magnificent beaches, dunes, forests and vast expanses of oyster beds, you'll discover a pastel osmosis of sky and water. Its typical villages and multicoloured oyster huts are set against these breathtaking landscapes.
The Ile d'Aix can only be visited on foot or by bike. On this small piece of land (2.5km long and 600m wide) you'll discover its village nestling in the shelter of fortifications, a typically wild Atlantic coastline looking out to sea and Fort Boyard, oyster-farming landscapes looking towards Fouras and a Mediterranean-style coastline looking towards La Rochelle / Châtelaillon. Highly popular with tourists in July and August, the coastline regains all its natural charm and wildlife-friendly tranquillity from September onwards.
If your holiday in the Charente Maritime is a well-balanced mix of beach, leisure, festive and cultural visits, a stay on the coast will be the most appropriate.
The location of this ideal holiday depends on your preferences for beaches, activities and ease of access to the places you want to visit.
The most famous seaside resorts:
La Rochelle, city on the beach or beach in the city, there's always something going on! La Rochelle, the gateway to the ocean, is best known for its architecture (old port, old town). It also offers its aquariumIts beaches are located near the old port and the marina. Its 2 beaches are located: one near the old port and the other near the marina.
Châtelaillon-plage is a seaside resort created at the end of the 19th century a few kilometres south of La Rochelle. Its period seaside villas, with their old-fashioned charm, stretch along the 3km long sandy beach. Ideal for fans of a large sandy beach close to La Rochelle. It's also a lively town in the summer months, well situated for visiting the Charentes region.
Fouras les Bains is also known as the green peninsula. The fishing village began its transformation into a seaside resort in 1860 with the arrival of the railway. It is both a balcony overlooking the islands, where you can take a boat to the Ile d'Aix and tour Fort Boyard, and a charming seaside resort with beautiful period middle-class villas. Best known today for the TV show "Fort Boyard", the town has been a mecca for seaside tourism since 1890, with its beaches and casino. Staying in Fouras means staying on an island and on the coast at the same time. A family seaside resort with 5 gently sloping beaches, its large seawater reservoir means you can swim at any time of day. It's ideally situated for visiting the region.
Holidays in Ronce-les-Bains,
This seaside resort was created in 1860, in a large area of dunes, close to La Tremblade. It has a lot of charm with its beautiful villas and chalets in so many different styles. La Cèpe beach at Ronce-les-Bains is located on the edge of the Coubre forest. A little way from the main roads, it's well situated for visiting the south of the Charente Maritime, the Saintonge and the Ile d'Oléron.
Holidays at La Palmyre Les Mathes,
La Palmyre is best known for its zoo. Les Mathes is famous for its long sandy beaches bordered by maritime pine forests. The Coubre lighthouse is just a few kilometres away. Les Mathes has some great cycle routes. It is also well situated for visiting the south of the Charente Maritime, Saintonge and Ile d'Oléron.
Holidays in Royan,
This elegant seaside town, with its pretty houses ranging from belle époque to 50s, is also known for its festival. "Un violon sur le sable. The festival that year after year brings classical music to all holidaymakers. Royan also has pretty little beaches nearby.
Holidays in Saint Georges de Didonne,
The seaside resort boasts a large, beautiful 3km sandy beach. Ideally situated for visiting the southern Charente Maritime, Saintonge and part of the Blayais vineyards. Take the ferry to the Médoc and its prestigious châteaux.
Whatever you choose, it will be the right one! We wish you a great holiday!