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With its Atlantic coastline, pretty seaside villages and unspoilt islands, the Charente-Maritime has been a long time favourite with those seeking sun, sea and sand. But travel inland and the Romanesque architecture, cognac producing vineyards and gallo-roman remains will capture your imagination. Find out more about the attractions in the Charente-Maritime here.

We have gathered a number of our favourite features on the Charente-Maritime below...


Our pick of the top beaches in Charente-Maritime

Our pick of the top beaches in Charente-Maritime

With its long coastline, scattered islands and sunny climate, the Charente-Maritime is the perfect place for a beach holiday, whether you are after a tranquil stretch of sand for all the family or somewhere to ride the waves...


Many beaches are protected through the Conservatoire du Littoral (the coastal protection agency) so the beautiful scenery remains unspoilt. The most popular beaches will have lifeguards on duty and the safer places to swim are marked with flags. Here are a few to get you started...

Paddling beach

Saint Palais-sur-Mer: a curving, sandy beach northwest of Royan with very calm waters making it perfect for children. It also boasts clubs for different age groups, and just back from the sands are loads of cafes and restaurants and, of course, places to buy a refreshing ice-cream.

Surf beach

La Palmyre: part of the Coté Sauvage that's north of Royan, the five-kilometre long beach here is wonderfully unspoilt and known for its big waves - making it popular with surfers and windsurfers. It is not patrolled by life-guards.

Easy access beach

Chatelaillon-Plage: not far from La Rochelle, has a 'Handiplage' award of excellence for catering for people with disabilities, including the provision of amphibious wheelchairs. There are also lots of activities for children. Three kilometres long, it's set against the backdrop of the Belle Epoque architecture of this century-old town.

Island beach

Le-Bois-Plage-en-Ré, Ile de Ré: lay your towel down on the fine white sand of this seven-kilometre long beach found on the southern side of the island. During the summer months it's patrolled by lifeguards. The village, with its white-washed buildings and surrounding forest and vineyards, is picture-postcard pretty too.

Get-away-from-it-all beach

Grande Plage, Ile d'Oléron: backed by sand dunes and towering pines, the beach is 12 kilometres long so it's not difficult to find a tranquil spot. The southern part of the beach is nudist so if being in the buff gives you nightmares, stick to the northern section.

Originally published in the Living guide to Charente-Maritime