Water sports, culture, villas with an old-fashioned charm and delicious seafood: welcome to the Côte de Beauté!
In the heart of the Arvert peninsula, Royan is famous for its sun-drenched beaches, which are prefect for taking it easy... and much more! Having been destroyed by the bombing raids of the Second World War, the town was rebuilt in a modern style, which contrasts with the mellow lines of the lavish "Belle époque" villas in the Pontaillac and Oasis districts. These elegant buildings are a reminder of the glory days of this town of art and history, where Zola, Picasso and Sacha Guitry once lived.
The lively town centre is packed with restaurants, bars and shops and is easy to get around on foot, by bicycle and even on a little train! Start your visit at the amazing Notre-Dame Church, which was built entirely out of concrete in the 1950s and is considered a masterpiece of modernist architecture. To discover all the region's culinary treasures, continue to the Central Market, the avant-garde structure of which is reminiscent of a seashell. Inside, producers will let you taste Charente-Maritime specialities, such as jonchée (cheese), Pineau des Charentes or oysters. Treat your taste buds! History and culture buffs won't want to miss the Royan Museum, which tells of the town's history and hosts several art exhibitions throughout the year.
After a swim at the beaches of Grande-Conche or Pontaillac, try your luck at the casino, which looks out over the sea. Place your bets! Royan is also perfect for thrill-seekers, with sailing, surfing, jet-skiing and diving all available! If you can't resist the call of the sea, hire a catamaran or treat yourself to a sea-fishing trip with friends. This will also give you the chance to admire the fantastic 15th-century Cordouan Lighthouse, which boasts a stunning view over the Gironde Estuary and the Pointe de la Coubre. Once back on dry land, you can perfect your swing at Royan Golf Club or spend some quality family time at La Palmyre Zoo. And if you prefer a good Bordeaux, take the ferry across the estuary to Verdon, you starting point to discover Médoc wines.
Royan has a typical Aquitaine oceanic climate, which means mild winters and rather hot summers. But beware, the town is very popular in July and August!
To get to Royan, take the A10 motorway from Paris or Bordeaux, or the D77 from La Rochelle, which is also where the nearest airport is located, with links to several UK airports.
Ready for your holiday in Royan? What are you waiting for?