The Atlantic coast boasts vast stretches of clean, family-friendly sandy beaches, the nearest of which is just a 45 minute drive from our peaceful, countryside location. From Ile de Ré to Royan and beyond, there are beaches to suit everyone within striking distance. Buckets and spades are optional!
NB- The beaches are tidal and the sea goes out a very long way here on the Atlantic coast; so before you pack your picnic and set off, check out the tide forecast at tidetime.org.
Our nearest beach, Châtelaillon-Plage, does not disappoint. Beautiful sands, a bustling little town and plenty of places to eat, drink or buy an ice cream for the children. With Belle Époque villas, a large promenade and activities for children and adults throughout the summer, it is a popular choice for families and has a ‘Handiplage’ award for excellence as it caters well for people with disabilities, including the availability of amphibious wheelchairs.
It was even glorious on New Year's day! Perfect for dog walkies between October and May, this beach is reserved for humans during the summer.
For information about dog-friendly beaches for summer 2016 in Charente-Maritime, take a look at the map here - (French site) The blue flags indicate beaches with areas authorised for dogs either on a lead (tenus en laisse) or not (sans obligation de laisse). The Patawouf Blog (English page) currently has details last updated for 2015, however it is always best to check any online information locally before you set off with your four-legged companion and a bucket and spade!
Ile de Ré
One of the group of islands off the coast of La Rochelle, Ile de Ré is often referred to as the French Hamptons, and it is here that the well-heeled French who prefer a quieter holiday spot than the Côte d’Azur, come in search of seaside fun. The island has an abundance of gorgeous beaches, none more beautiful than Le-Bois-Plage-en-Ré, which has an impressive seven kilometre stretch of white sand and a pretty village nestled among vineyards and the forest. It is usually very busy in the summer and patrolled by lifeguards.
A quieter beach, La Plage de la Conche, can be found between St Clements and Les Portes.
Grande Plage, situated on the southern tip of the island, boasts 12km of sand, edged by dunes and pine forest, making it a very attractive beach in a natural setting. With some good waves, it is popular with surfers. Please note: the southernmost part of the beach is designated as naturist, so best avoided if you or any of your party may be offended! Surf-lovers especially may like to visit Vert Bois and L’Acheneau , while a calmer, family-friendly beach that is more suitable for young children and is patrolled by lifeguards, can be found at St Trojan les Bains, Other family-friendly beaches include Boyardville on the north of the island and Saumonards on the southern side.
mainland beaches near la rochelle
On the mainland opposite Ile d'Oléron, Plage de Marennes is a lovely beach which is not tidal, so great to use all day long, since it is cut off from the estuary by sand dunes.
Fouras, close to La Rochelle, has five great beaches to choose from as well as a lovely town with a great pedestrian centre, lots of shops, restaurants and a market. From here you can also take a ferry to Ile d'Aix.
Côte Sauvage, royan & st georges-de-didonne
Not an exhaustive list, but a few ideas to help you choose your perfect location.
La Palmyre: near the Zoo, north of Royan and part of the Côte Sauvage, this beautiful five kilometre beach is backed by sand dunes and forest. The waves can be big here so it’s a popular choice for surfers and wind-surfers.
Saint Palais-sur-Mer: north-west of Royan, is an attractive, curving beach set in the estuary, with calm water and plenty to keep families amused. The pretty little seaside resort has lots of cafés and restaurants, as well as music in the evenings. It is a very child friendly choice, offering clubs for different age groups, and lots of entertainment.
St Georges-de-Didonne: a little way south of Royan, is a 2km beach with calm waters, set between cliffs at one end and its imposing lighthouse at the other. The beach is backed by pine forests and dotted at its ends with oyster fishing huts. Cliff top walks give an elevated perspective, breath-taking views and some great photo opportunities. The beach has a ‘Handiplage’ award as it offers disabled toilets and a shower.
Royan itself boasts a number of family-friendly beaches, including Grande Conche, Conche Foncillon, Plage de Pontaillac and Pigeonnier.