Atlantic coast

The French Atlantic Coast south of La Rochelle is packed with possibilities, whether you want a romantic break or a family holiday, a gastronomic weekend or heritage trip.

Rochefort on the Charente river was developed as the strategic dockyard for ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV.   Visit the royal rope factory; see the construction of a replica 18th century frigate; and visit the town’s exotic gardens and museums.

The Atlantic coast here is dotted with military defences such as the fortified salt port of Brouage, or take a cruise to see Fort Boyard which rises from the waves close to Ile d’Oléron. Home to the famous Marennes-Oléron oyster beds, the island offers family-friendly waters on the east coast and rolling breakers on the west, plus some seriously good seafood.

Take a boat to the traffic-free island of Ile d’Aix, home to just 200 people, or cross the causeway at low tide to the even smaller Ile Madame, to walk through carpets of wild flowers.

Royan and the neighbouring Atlantic coast resorts have been popular with tourists since the ‘Belle Epoque’ of the late 19th century.  Visit La Palmyre zoo, one of Europe’s largest ; walk or cycle the forest trails of La Coubre, and explore the small fishing villages of the Gironde estuary. 

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