The city of La Rochelle, in Charente-Maritime: History lovers and discovery enthusiasts, La Rochelle welcomes you with open arms. This is a city with a unique character, combining a relaxed way of life and dynamism. It is a perfect marriage of modern development with historic heritage.
Take a stroll under the famous arcades that are more than 400 years old. Wander on the beaches and visit “port des Minimes”, the largest marina for pleasure boats on the French Atlantic coast. Or visit the towers (Chain Tower and Saint Nicolas Tower) which are gatekeepers for the entrance of this fortified city.
Immerse yourself into the marine life by visiting one of the biggest aquariums in Europe, or simply relax over a drink on the old harbor. With its nationally known attraction’s such as the Grand Pavois (International in-water boat show), the International Movie festival or the Francofolies, La Rochelle confirms its reputation of a lively cultural city.
As the third most visited city in France, La Rochelle will never cease to amaze you.
Thanks to a remarkable environment, the variety of activities and such a special art of living, thalassotherapy is exceptional in Île de Ré. After the treatments, you have the opportunity to explore the island by bike, experience a watersport, walk along the beach, watch birds, visit a historical site, do some shopping: the choice is yours! The pure air, the fine weather, the large natural spaces – there are so many ways to keep active in Ré! Roller, tennis, horse-riding… there is so much to choose from. Exhilarating, exciting sports are based throughout the island of Ré!
This curious region of France occupies not just its own space but seems to operate on its own timescale too. Perhaps it’s something to do with the water but as soon as you enter the Marais Poitevin you can feel life slowing down.
It certainly is a remarkable place. The ‘Marais’ or marsh as it means in English (Poitevin simply means that it’s in the Poitou area) stretches for miles and is made up of natural water channels and man-made canals as well as meadows, dykes and fens that are full of wildlife, from herons to deer. Little wonder that it’s often referred to as the ‘Venise Verte’ or ‘Green Venice’. At 970 square kilometres or nearly 375 square miles it is the largest area of marshland on France’s Atlantic coastline and the second largest anywhere in the country, stretching as it does from just west of Niort in the Deux-Sèvres through the south of the Vendée and the north of the Charente-Maritime just above La Rochelle towards the coast. One of the dominant features of this landscape – which can be a little eerie in winter – are the poplar trees, which bend and rustle in the wind. But man-made structures have made their mark too, and you can see church spires from miles away, jutting up from the flat landscape into the sky.
Oléron has an area of 175 sq km, making it the largest french island of the Atlantic coast. Its stunning beaches are a dream come true for kids. Several of these beaches boast the blue flag for their quality. Surf, windsurf, blokart, kayak, all these sports are well established on the island. On the ocean sailing and fishing take another dimension. You can also play golf, tennis or indulge at the spa.
Discover a rich and diverse fauna and flora at the heart of the forests and swamps. Walking, cycling or horse riding are all great ways to witness the beauty nature has to reveal. You will find out extensive information about this preserved environment at the two nature centres: “Le Marais aux oiseaux” (The birds marsh) and “Le Port des Salines” (Salines Harbour). These sites are not to be missed.
Marennes-Oléron is also exceptional as far as heritage is concerned with its fortifications, maritime monuments, churches and local architecture. A fantastic historical journey awaits you. There are the citadels of Château-d’Oléron and Brouage where Vauban made his mark, there is the Moulin des loges ( a windmill ) in the marsh of Saint-Just-Luzac and moreover the villages are typically quaint. We must also remember, facing Boyardville, the very popular Fort Boyard, a splendid “stone ship” built in the ocean.
A delightful day in Marennes-Oléron does not end here.. When the family gathers around a table full of oysters, mussels, fish and seafood, delicious local fruits and vegetables and wine, everyone will feel just great or “beunaise”! ( in the charentais dialect ).