The Charente-Maritime, one of the most attractive department of France.
The Charente-Maritime, located on the Atlantic coastline between Vendée and Gironde, formerly attached to the region Poitou-Charentes, is now part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Our department has a vast coastline and a wide opening onto the Gironde estuary, the largest in Europe.
A region full of discoveries
Pleasant climatic conditions, a preserved architectural and environmental heritage, a lively and diversified cultural life, all combined with the great attractiveness of the coast and its islands make Charente-Maritime the 2nd summer tourist destination in France (after the Côte d’Azur) and the leading tourist department on the French Atlantic coast.
An ideal climate
The Charente-Maritime is, with the Gironde, the sunniest west coast department in France. For the City of La Rochelle, the annual sunshine is close to the 2100 h ! What more could you ask for to spend your holidays by the sea !!! The oceanic climate offers sweet winter and temperate summers which makes our department one of the most coveted destinations for French people and foreigners alike.
Dream measurements !
Charente-Maritime stretches lengthwise over 6864 km2. She is bordering five departments (Charente, Vendée, Gironde, Deux-Sèvres and Dordogne). Its Atlantic facade is a dream with its 463 km of coastline, including 230 km on the islands alone. The island of Oléron, the island of Ré, the island of Aix facing Fort Boyard, and Madame Island contribute to its charm. We recently 150 beaches. So don't be surprised if you are not alone lying on the sand because 90% of visitors have chosen this destination mainly for the coastal attractions!
An exceptionnal historical and natural heritage
In another register, Charente-Maritime is also distinguished by its 6 UNESCO heritage sites : the citadel of Saint-Martin de Ré, the basilica of Saint-Eutrope in Saintes, the church of Saint-Pierre d'Aulnay, the paths of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, the Royal Abbey of Saint-Jean d'Angély and the Hospital of the Pilgrims of Pons. It also counts 5 villages classified as “Most beautiful villages in France” : Talmont-sur-Gironde, Mornac-sur-Seudre, Brouage, La Flotte et Ars en Ré et ses salines ainsi que 3 Small Towns of Character® : Talmont sur Gironde, Saint-Sauvant and Saint Savinien sur Charente.
A lot of Romanesque buildings, castles, abbeys, natural sites, archeological sites... also make up the richness of our territory.
The department also has a fifteen poles-nature so the Moëze-Oléron Nature Reserve, an interregional natural park, the Swamp Poitevin (which also extends over the departments of Vendée and Deux-Sèvres), and a bird sanctuary, the Marais d’Yves nature reserve. Many migratory birds stop over in our region. We observe many storks who have taken up residence for twenty years with us, more than 600 couples have been identified.
Thermalism and Thalassotherapy
The wealth of tourism in Charente-Maritime also lies in its multitude of activities which are not based exclusively on the coast. Thereby, health tourism is booming thanks to the development of hydrotherapy (spa resorts of Rochefort, Jonzac and Saujon), thermo-gaming and some balneotherapy.
Open to the ocean, the Charente Maritime has several thalassotherapy centers including in particular that of Oléron located at Saint-Trojan-Les-Bains at the southern tip of the island. Other centers are scattered along the coast, in particular at Châtelaillon-Plage, Royan and on theIle de Ré which has no less than 3 centres.
The first thing that comes to mind is oysters of course, from the basin Marennes Oléron and all the Charente-Maritime farms! This shellfish has always been cultivated on our coast, it carries within it the richness and diversity of the men and women who make it grow through their ancestral gestures. A know-how that is transmitted from generation to generation, a shared passion, and which offers an exceptional oyster. Of open sea or refined in the clear, the Charente-Maritime oyster has a unique taste, it is the reflection of each oyster farmer.
The department is also a mold producer, especially with the traditional culture on bouchots. These oak or chestnut stakes driven into the mud on the coast attract mussels at each tide and become their pillar of life. They grow there and then be picked up. Charente Maritime, first mythical department of France, concentrates its production in the Aiguillon Bay and the Yves bay but also on the islands of Ré and Oléron ! In the 17, the mussels are eaten in marinière but also in muclade and especially in burst (or églade), typical and spectacular flame cooking process offering a incomparable flavor to seashells.
The sea offers us a multitude of products that are very appreciated in our plates: shrimps, whelks, scampi, lobsters, scallops... as well as many species of fish.
On the land side, the people of Charente are lovers of " balaclavas By this I mean the snails, the little gray ones as they are nicknamed, eaten with parsley, in sauce or braised. We no longer present the charentais melon, this well-known variety is mainly grown in the hinterland of Royan and the country of Aunis. The vines also occupy a good part of the cultivated land of the department for the production of local wines but also of Pineau des Charentes and Cognac, this wine eau-de-vie with world renown. Gourmets also know the famous Galette Charentaise so characteristic. The department is also producer of salt and fleur de sel, from salt marshes are mainly present on the islands of the Pertuis Charentais.