Cradled in its coastal façade by the clear and clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Charente Maritime is bordered by 463km of coastline and surrounded by several islands known for their beauty and history: Île de Ré, Oléron, the Isle of Aix and the Isle Madame. The mild climate and its numerous rivers: the Gironde, the Charente and the Sèvre, make the Charente Maritime an exceptional zone of biodiversity welcoming salt marshes, oyster farms, white sandy beaches or the Marais Poitevin. Its hinterland contains many architectural and historical treasures due to its strong Gallo-Roman past. It is also an agricultural and wine-growing region, and is the cradle of pineau and cognac, both intimately linked to the terroir.
Presentation and Geography
The attraction of its beaches and seaside resorts, its harbors, its cities full of art and history, its festivals and its emblematic sites, make the Charente-Maritime a tourist destination very appreciated by the French. Alongside La Rochelle, a prefecture town and its old port, Rochefort’s royal ropewalk and its arsenal from which the Hermione re-emerged from its ashes and sail to America, Saintes and its arenas, Former fortifications of Vauban, Fort Boyard, several sites are inscribed on the world heritage of humanity by Unesco: the citadel of saint Martin-de-Ré, the basilica Saint-Eutrope of Saintes, the Pilgrims Hospital of Pons and the ” Church of Saint Pierre de la Tour d’Aulnay. Its spa and thalassotherapy centers also contribute to its attractiveness. Its sub-prefecture towns of Jonzac, Rochefort, Saint Jean d’Angély and Saintes are full of history. To the west, its huge oyster basin is renowned for its oysters known throughout the world. This department between sea and land, with varied landscapes invites to many escapades.
Charente Maritime benefits from a temperate climate, with relatively mild winters and dry, hot summers, refreshed by a pleasant maritime breeze. The department is marked by a high degree of sunshine and light rain. An ideal time, for sure, a successful holiday or weekend.
Discover Charente maritime
From the richness of local products, between land and sea
This territory rises on the podium of gastronomy, mixing products of the sea and the soil. To every lord, all honor, let us mention in the first place his oysters, fine and special of clear that make the reputation of the basin of Marennes-Oleron. They can be served with a shallot sauce, a lemon fillet and eat them with Surgères butter, which, like its neighbor of Echiré, combines dairy quality and tradition of taste. Another product of the sea: the mussels raised on bouchots, which, cooked with the needles of the maritime pines, make delicious strokes; They are also consumed in a mouclade. Charente-Maritime is also world famous for its Cognac and Pineau. It also produces a local wine, especially on the island of Ré, as well as the famous potato with a little iodized taste, and salt, harvested in the salt marshes. As for the specialty cheese, one will remember the Jonchée, based on curdled cow’s milk deposited on a mat of rush coming from the marshes. Another plant of the marshes, to be crushed in condiment in the vinegar or raw: the salicorn.
Sports and leisure in Charente Maritime
The Charente-Maritime is a huge playground for all lovers of sport and nature. You can practice at sea several nautical activities: sailing, surfing, kite-surfing, sea kayaking, paddle … The coastal path (50 km) is ideal for hiking as well as the inland and the national forests. You can go cycling, especially on the islands with their countless cycle paths. The high-Saintonge offers many circuits for horseback riding. Eight golf courses allow you to test several courses. The marshes represent a vast fishing territory, as are the many rivers, and of course the shores of the seashores.
Festivals, festivals, shows and events
A short overview of the many cultural, sporting and associative activities proposed in the department, which contribute to the fame of the dynamism of the territory.
- The Festival of the kites and the wind of Châtelaillon-Plage, from 15 to 17 April
- Festival 3 jours d’Avril, Saint-Martin-de-Ré, from 13 to 15 April
- Music festival, au Pays de Pierre Loti, Saint Pierre d’Oléron, from 20 to 27 May
- International movie festival, La Rochelle, from 30 Juin to 9 July
- Francofolies festival of La Rochelle, from 20 to 22 July
- Festival En Accords, Tonnay Charente, 20,21 and 22 July
- Festival Humor and salt water, St George de Didonne, from 28 Juillet to 4 August
- Summer Sound Festival, Rochefort, from 3 to 6 August
- Jazz au Phare, phare des baleines, Ars en Ré, 15 and 18 August
- Le Grand Pavois, (international in-water boat show) port des Minimes à La Rochelle, from 27 September to 2 October
- Adventure Film Festival, La Rochelle, from 15 to 19 November
Some links and practical resources
In order to prepare your stay well, here are different books and websites that we recommend: