What to see in France

Charente-Maritime in a campsite: sea, walks, stones... history

Le port de La Rochelle
Le port de La Rochelle

Beautiful sandy beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean for almost 500 km, a multitude of architectural treasures bearing witness to a rich past and incessant reminders of an often tumultuous history, this is what awaits you if you choose to come and spend a camping holiday in Charente Maritime.

As you prepare for your camping holiday in Charente Maritime, it is clear that the sea and beaches will figure prominently, with over 300 listed campsites. You are lucky you should not be disappointed as the offer in this area is so rich. You will be spoiled with the Tremblade with its 25 km of Blue Flag beaches or Châtelaillon-Plage with its 3 km of white sand, not forgetting what awaits you on the islands of Ré, Oléron or Aix.

You may prefer to go for a walk and in this case too, the Charente Maritime may not be the worst choice. A few figures bear witness to this: 5300 km of itineraries and walking circuits (marked trails, the Way of Saint James, etc), 4200 km of cycle tracks as well as mountain bike and VTC circuits. Even horse riders will find their happiness with 1000 km of equestrian hiking trails.

At La Tremblade, nothing prevents you after a few hours on the beach from going on foot or by bicycle along the channel of the shoreline to discover the oyster huts and why not... stop to chat with the oyster farmer and taste some of these valuable shells on the go.

Fort Boyard
Fort Boyard© OC

 

Like a history book

From prehistory to the present day, whatever the period, history has made Charente Maritime a veritable history book often linked to military art. From Saint Cézaire to Fort Boyard via Rochefort or the Tours de la Rochelle, without forgetting some beautiful Renaissance buildings, there are many examples.

La Corderie Royale de Rochefort
La Corderie Royale de Rochefort© OC

In Rochefort, don't miss a visit to the Corderie Royale. If you go a little further back in time, stop off at La Rochelle to discover this port which Richelieu had this town besieged in the 17th century because he feared that it would become a stronghold from which, with the help of England, the Protestants could set off to conquer the kingdom. The ramparts of Saint Martin de Ré, built by Vauban and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, date from about the same period. The last example is the famous Fort Boyard, which Napoleon III wanted to be a prison, which it never was, and which was only saved from demolition by a television programme. It is not accessible to the public for the moment. On the other hand, it can be approached during sea trips organised from Fouras or La Rochelle.

Dream and party

Aquarium - la Rochelle
Aquarium - la Rochelle© Oso

It is possible that the old stones may leave you... marble. Under these conditions, treat yourself to a dream in high doses by visiting the Aquarium of la Rochelle. Close to the Vieux Port, it is one of the largest private aquariums in Europe. On a surface area of 8,445 m2, it exhibits more than 12,000 animals of 600 different species that are distributed in the 3 million litres of sea water in the aquariums. Every year, it welcomes more than 800,000 visitors, making it the largest and most visited aquarium in France. As it will take you a day to go around it, take a lunch break in the museum's panoramic restaurant... affordable and of high quality. Animal lovers can also spend a whole day at the Zoo de la Palmyre to discover its 1600 residents divided into 110 species.

But coming on holiday in Charente Maritime also means having the opportunity to party. Indeed, for the amateurs, many festivals mark out the four corners of the department to make you vibrate to the sound of music. All genres are invited: French music at the Francofolies de La Rochelle, classical music at the Festival de Saintes, etc.

A land of gastronomy

Enriching one's culture is one thing. Enjoying earthly food is good too. From this point of view, the department is rich. In the forefront of the proposed dishes, there is of course the oyster and more particularly the Marennes-Oléron oyster which is the only one in France to have the Red Label.

The only French oyster to have the Label rouge
The only French oyster to have the Label rouge

But that's not all. Indeed, the Charente gastronomy offers its inexhaustible riches and appeals to all tastes. To simmer a fish-based dish made from everything that wriggles in the estuary, lampreys, shad, sea bass, meagre... and eels from the neighbouring marshes will end up being cooked with delicacy and passion by local restaurateurs.

Pineau and Cognac, in moderation of course, are also part of the richness of this region. In short, there are many products that are generally only found in this part of France: various vegetables and fresh fruit such as melon, various varieties of goat's cheese, etc.

Sunbathing, walking, learning, eating out - this is the programme for your next holiday. Don't look any further, it's here and not elsewhere...

 

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