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Maritime and military heritage
The Port of the Cotinière
Distinguished by the title of first fishing port of Charente Maritime (and 7th on the national level), the Port de la Cotinière is an essential stop during your stay on the Ile d'Oléron. If you literally fall under the spell of this picturesque and colorful port located in the town of Saint-Pierre d’Oléron, you will be charmed by the multitude of shops and small shops of all kinds (more than 70 shops and restaurants open from April to the end of October).
Throughout the year, La Cotinière has more than 25 shops and services, as well as a daily market (except on Mondays in winter). On the harbor, the Victorine market (also open in the afternoon) and the La Cotinière fisheries offer fresh products from the sea, landed directly from the boats.
Oléron Castle and its citadel
Oléron Castel Citadel is a must-see site located at the southeastern end of the island of Oléron. It was designed by Richelieu in the 17th century to protect the island and was enlarged and fortified by Vauban. The fortifications and remains of military buildings bring us back into history. The Château d’Oléron is also a seaside resort with many assets that will seduce you: its seafront, its Phibian water body renowned for welcoming families, its great diversity in the choices of water sports, festive and cultural activities.
For lovers of maritime and gastronomic heritage, the port of Oléron Castel and the richness of its channel that contains no less than 100 oyster farms. The Chenal d’Ors and its oyster port, an important place for oyster transit, play a major role in the Marennes-Oléron basin. The many oyster farms located on the site of former salt marshes, form an extraordinary coastal landscape. These light, rich in blue navicle, give their full flavor to the oysters that grow fat and acquire a unique tint and taste.
Our favorites: the port and the artists-designers’ corner installed in the old colorful oyster huts, the big Sunday morning fair market in the city center and of course the producers’ huts for oyster tastings at any hour!
Fort Boyard and Boyardville
A symbol of Charente-Maritime and Ile d’Oléron, Fort Boyard is a must. If you do not visit it, it is possible to get as close as possible by boat from Boyardville, many companies offer various services to discover this stone vessel built on a sandbank. Maritime shuttles are also convenient to reach the Ile d’Aix and La Rochelle.
Boyardville, located in the town of Saint Georges d’Oléron, is a small seaside resort and also a fishing and marina. Its name comes (of course) from Fort Boyard because the construction site facilities and the materials warehouses were built there and the workers lived there. Boyardville beach offers an exceptional view of the maritime building located a few miles offshore. To discover absolutely: the forest and the beach of the saumonards, the docks of the channel of the parrotine, the port, the shops, the market of day and night, the shaded bicycle tracks...
Saint-Denis-d'Oléron and its marina
On the Ile d'Oléron, there is only one public swimming pool: Iléo water park located in Dolus d'Oléron, which is sure to delight both adults and children with its facilities. Out-of-season sport and recreation pool with swimming pool, whirlpool pool and fun equipment (slide, massage jets, outdoor rivers open all year round), fitness area, wellness area (with sauna, hammam, whirlpool and jacuzzi), it is transformed in July and August into a huge water park in spaces outdoor fun and fun: pentagliss, buoyed rivers, wave pool, lagoon, artificial surfing wave, inflatable structures, vast swallowed beaches and trees...
The Chassiron lighthouse
Of course, as on any island, a large part of the heritage is oriented towards the sea. In the forefront is the Chassiron lighthouse, located at the northern end of the Ile d’Oléron, with its black and white lines and 224 steps at the bottom of an emblem of La Lumineuse. Commissioned in 1836, this 46 m giant made of Crazannes stone dominates the tip of the island to guide sailors and mark the entrance to the pertuis. If your climb is worth the detour (360° panorama), this corner deserves a lot more attention, you will appreciate the breathtaking scenery of this sea front carved in the cliff, of this "part of the world as" some people like to call the point of Chassiron. At low tide, you will have the chance to see the fish locks, a fishing technique introduced in the 17th century. Do not miss a visit to the museum housed in the old guardians’ apartments to discover the history of the lighthouse and the life of the sailors and peasants of the region. You will enjoy strolling in the French garden of Chassiron, organized in the shape of rose of the winds it consists of four basins, educational furniture, a contemporary garden part with grasses and other ornamental plants, and a more traditional garden part with more than 20 varieties of roses, a vegetable garden and vine feet.
The Port of Douhet
The Douhet port, at the northeastern end of the town of Saint-Georges d’Oléron, is nestled in Anse de la Malconche and is home to up to 350 boats. There are restaurants, a creperie, an atmospheric bar and even a disco, which make it a lively place during the summer season. In June, do not miss the Port and Sea Festival!
Located on the east coast of Ile d’Oléron, south of Boyardville, Fort-Royer is a century-old oyster village still in operation. This protected natural area, the cradle of oyster farming recommended by the Guide du Routard, is highlighted by the association of the Ostreicole and Natural Site of Fort-Royer, which offers visits to discover the world of oysters (birth at sea, breeding in oyster parks, work of cabana women, traditional refining in the clear...) but also of the fauna and flora of the oysters this exceptional site with oyster tasting as a highlight!
Nature, beauty and well-being characterize this seaside resort located in the south of the island. The Belle Epoque villas, along the seafront and in the village, mark the period of the beginnings of the sea baths and the democratization of the holidays. The port and its typical boats, the water activities (sea kayaking, surfing, sailing, fishing...), shuttle to the Tremblade, the city faces the sea while displaying a very rich heritage. It’s not for nothing that the only Thalassotherapy center of the Lumineuse is perched on the seafront of this lovely city. Saint-Trojan is also a place where fauna and flora are present, the Mimosa is the emblem of the city, the Mimosa Festival in February and a very important event for the region. On foot, by bicycle or by small train, the national forest is worth a visit, wild and fragrant, it offers wonderful walks. The beach of Gatseau, bordered by pine trees, is very famous.