Chassiron cliff

 © Maitikava — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

13 May 2024  |  Nature , Holidays

A trip to the Isle of Oleron, the second largest French island

The Ile d'Oléron is the second largest island in France after Corsica, a place of escape and discovery. Located on the Atlantic Coast, this island is full of fine sandy beaches, pine forests and salt marshes. It is a popular destination for vacationers looking for relaxation, nature and heritage.

The Oléron Bridge connects the island to the mainland, providing easy access to its many tourist sites. Among the must-sees, we find the Château d'Oléron, a fortress built in the 17th century by Vauban, as well as the charming villages like Saint-Pierre d'Oléron and Saint-Gorges-d'Oléron, where you can stroll through the narrow streets and taste local specialties.

Access and Getting Around

The island of Oléron is connected to the mainland by a bridge of almost 3 kilometers, inaugurated in 1966. This permanent link facilitates access for visitors and contributes to the excitement of the island during the summer season. To get around the island, you have the choice between car, bike, or public transport, which serves the main tourist sites.

Beaches and water activities

The heritage of the island of Oléron is rich and varied. The Château d'Oléron was built in the 16th century by Vauban, it is a remarkable example of the military architecture of the time. The castle ramparts offer a breathtaking view of the port and the surrounding area.

You will discover many pretty little picturesque villages, such as Saint-Pierre d'Oléron, and Saint-Georges d'Oléron, with charming streets and old buildings that recall the maritime history of the island.

Nature and hikes

Nature lovers will be delighted by the varied landscapes of the island of Oléron. The national forest of Saint-Trojan-les-Bains, the dunes of Gatseau beach, and the Moëze-Oléron Nature Reserve offer superb hiking and cycling routes. These sites are home to a rich flora and fauna, perfect for birdwatching and photography enthusiasts.

Gastronomy and local specialties

Local gastronomy is another strong point of the island of Oléron. Oysters, raised in salt marshes, are renowned for their quality and flavor. Local markets, like that of Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron, are full of fresh produce, including seafood, local vegetables, and artisanal products. Don't miss out on tasting traditional dishes like mussels marinières, fresh grilled fish, and Charentaise pancakes.

Not to be missed on the Ile d'Oléron

Fort Boyard: a fortification located on a shoal formed by a sandbank called the “longe de Boyard”, which is exposed at low tide and is located between the island of Aix and the island of Oléron .

Chassiron Lighthouse: The Chassiron lighthouse, perched on a rocky cliff, is located at the northern end of the island of Oléron, near the town of Saint-Denis-d'Oléron. The lighthouse allows sailors to enter the waters of the Antioch sluice, a place strewn with reefs and renowned for its numerous shipwrecks.

Citadel of Château d'Oléron: The citadel of Château-d'Oléron, one of the most remarkable defensive works built on the Atlantic side of Charente-Maritime. Access is free all year round. Many guided tours are organized there during school holidays.

Fort Royer oyster farming site: Discover beautiful colorful cabins, with oyster beds and bouchots opposite.

The Port des Salines: it is a natural setting labeled "Echappées Nature", which aims to reveal to you the history of salt farming in Oléron and the know-how of the salt worker in multiple facets: ecomuseum, guided tours, boat trip.

The Marais aux Oiseaux: The Marais aux Oiseaux is a wildlife conservation center and a discovery park dedicated to the animal species of the island of Oléron.

Cabins of creators and artisans of La Baudissière: Discover artisanal products made from natural products.

Port of La Cotinière: The port of La Cotinière is the leading artisanal fishing port in Charente-Maritime with a tonnage landed and sold at auction which exceeds 5,000 tonnes.

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Amélie Roca

I am a Community Manager for Pure France as well as the host of Pure France TV, presenting high quality rental homes all over France.

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