L'île d'Oléron

L'île d'Oléron is the largest island on the French Atlantic coast.  The “luminous” island is famous for its wonderful fine sandy beaches but also for nature at its most enchanting.  Choose from excursions on foot, by bike, by boat, sporting activities, exploration and of course doing nothing very much!

From south to north, from east to west

The eight municipalities that make up the Ile d'Oléron have everything for the visitor: Saint-Trojan-les-Bains “the real seaside” and its forest, Le Grand-Village-Plage and its salt-farming port, Le Château d'Oléron and its imposing fortified citadel, Dolus d'Oléron and the ornithologists’ marshes, Saint-Pierre d'Oléron, with its pedestrianised street and the fishing port La Cotinière, Saint-Georges d’Oléron and its little villages, Chaucre, Domino, Boyardville… La Brée les Bains and its narrow streets and finally at the northern tip of the island, Saint-Denis d'Oléron where the 46m high lighthouse stands proudly at Chassiron.

Charm and authenticity of our villages

There are many delightful little villages to explore – leave the beaten track and enjoy the narrow streets decorated with hollyhocks and the architecture of our villages like Chaucre, Arceau, La Rémigeasse… And you’ll see fishermen’s houses with blue or green shutters and whitewashed facades.

Diverse landscapes

Of course Oléron means fine sandy beaches bordered by huge pine forests but that’s not all.  At Chassiron, in the north, can be found chalk cliffs overlooking the Atlantic or in the northwest, sandy beaches with just enough rocks to be ideal for shore-fishing.

Whether the visitor is on foot or two wheels, the island has a wide range of landscapes to enjoy: forests, marshland for bird-spotters and of course agricultural land for cereals and vines.

Activities and traditions

Oyster-farming is an age-old activity – the multi-coloured huts in the oyster ports have kept their authentic aspect.  Fishing is also an important activity – just think of La Cotinière, Charente-Maritime’s major fishing port.  Watching the return of the boats at high tide is a real spectacle.

Wine-making is also a traditional activity.  An excellent “Vin de Pays” is produced and our vineyards are in the “Cognac” appellation area; many of our wine-makers produce the increasingly well-known “Pineau des Charentes”.

A notable heritage

L'île d'Oléron has many renowned sites such as the citadel of the Château d’Oléron built to plans drawn up by Vauban or the 12th century lantern of the dead at St Pierre d’Oléron that is the highest in France.  The 11th century Romanesque church of St Georges d’Oléron is the island’s oldest monument. The iconic black and white striped lighthouse at Chassiron that guides sailors into the Antioche strait is the most visited site on the island.  Last but not least, the market at St Georges d’Oléron and the windmill at La Brée les Bains.