Charente Maritime Beaches

Charente beachThe coast of the Charente Maritime has up to 100 beaches spread along the coastline and also on the easily accessible islands to be found just off the Atlantic coast. All of these have long stretches of clean, soft sand and many also have protected status with the Conservatoire du Littoral – the society for conservation of the coastline frequently adding to the number.
The French Ministry of Health analyses the water at beach resorts regularly publishing their findings. Because of this, beaches make a huge effort to improve the quality of their water and shoreline. The Blue Flag of the European Union is awarded every year to the communes which have the best beaches and cleanest water.

Some of the best beaches in the Charente Maritime

Children love the beaches in the Charente MaritimeLe-Bois-Plage-en-Ré

On the Ile de Ré many people believe that the best beaches are to be found on the south side of this beautiful island and this is certainly one of the prettiest and most popular with 7 km of very gently shelving white sand alongside clear blue water and with a very attractive village nearby. Like the beach at  Châtelaillon plage, because of the gently shelving sand, this is a very good beach for children.

Châtelaillon Plage

Officially classified as a resort in 1926, Châtelaillon plage offers one of the best beaches in Charente Maritime. A family resort par excellence, the town not only offers a beautiful beach but also an array of brightly coloured villas which are a great example of typical early 20th century French seaside architecture.  Châtelaillon plage is located on the Atlantic coast, not far from La Rochelle facing the Ile de Ré, Aix and Oleron islands. You can see Fort Boyard from the beach.

Here you will find 3 km of sandy beach. It’s interesting to note that 800,000 m² of extra sand were required to make the Grand Plage beach what it is today – quite possibly the safest beach on the Atlantic coast. The shore slopes extremely gently beneath small waves and you will not see any breakers and this means of course that it is very safe for children. In the summer there are plenty of activities for children of all ages.

Grande Plage

Ile d’Oléron. The southern part of the beach is designated as a naturist area so if you don’t like to be seen in the nude, stick to the northern section! This wonderful beach which stretches for 12 km is found on the southern tip of the island and is backed by sand dunes and the typical pine forests of the area.

La Palmyre

One of the beaches in Charente Maritime with a bunkerThis is north of Royan and is part of the Côte Sauvage. 5 km of beautiful sandy beaches backed by sand dunes and forest. As the name Côte Sauvage – wild coast – suggests, the waves can be pretty big here which is why it’s so popular with surfers and wind-surfers. It is usually not a crowded beach and is not patrolled by lifeguards so you must be careful. An unusual feature of this stretch of coast is that you will often see the remnants of WW2 bunkers such as the one in the photo (right)

Saint Palais-sur-Mer

To the north-west of Royan, this curved sandy beach is to be found in the estuary surrounded by a small but attractive seaside town.

The place really comes alive in the evenings with music to be heard in the numerous cafés and restaurants.

Grande Conche

In Royan itself. here you will find a 2km beach with pretty striped tents dotted along it.