Located on the Atlantic coast, the island of Oléron is the second largest island in France after Corsica. The island is an exceptional place where nature, authentic cultural heritage, leisure and gastronomy mix with ease. There are a variety of different landscapes and a good amount of sunshine resulting in an excellent quality of life for both inhabitants and visitors. With about 60 km of sandy beaches, the island of Oléron attracts no less than 200,000 tourists each summer all the while maintaining a peaceful setting. The beaches are sandy, well maintained with good facilities. Several of the beaches have lifeguards to watch over beach goers in the summer months.
Two of the towns on the island are worth exploring, one being Le Chateau which is located on the east of the island. It is fortified, has a castle and citadel and oyster beds. Saint Pierre is the island’s capital, and is located in the centre. It has beautiful churches and a museum with the history of the island and ancient artefacts. Activities that are available include all water-sports, cycling, horse riding, sailing and fishing. Treat yourself to one of the incredible local dishes served at the many restaurants and cafes on the island. The seafood dishes are fresh and delicious, and you must try some of the locally grown mussels. There are some local festivals such as the Fetes du Mimosa in February, Fetes du Chenal d’Ors and Fetes de Sel in August.
For a day trip you could go to La Rochelle, with its thriving port guarded by iconic towers, Tour de la Chaine and Tour Saint Nicolas. There are some lovely shops, restaurants and all the necessary services as well as historic sites and museums to visit. The maritime museum and large aquarium are fascinating and always a hit with children.
The bridge conveniently connects the island of Oléron to the mainland in less than 10 minutes, and it is just 20 minutes from the airport and the motorway to Rochefort, Charentes Maritimes.