Royan is in an idyllic spot. Situated in the Charente Maritime region of France on the stunning Atlantic Coast, it lies just south of La Rochelle, north of Bordeaux and close to the northern tip of the Gironde estuary. Over the years, it has mastered the art of being a seaside resort par excellence, and is renowned for its sheltered beaches, glorious striped tents, and superb microclimate that rivals anything you might find on the Mediterranean coast. It’s a must-visit destination for all holidaymakers to France’s West Coast. Fortunately, Siblu campsite Bonne Anse Plage is on the doorstep, while holiday parks Les Charmettes and La Pignade are but a short drive away.
Beaches and the great outdoors
Terrific beaches abound on the nearby Côte de Beauté, Côte Sauvage and in Royan itself. There’s the main town beach, La Grande Conche, which has terrific family facilities and lifeguards in high season, and Foncillon, with its open-air seawater swimming pool opposite the Palais du Congrès. Energetic Pontaillac is great for surf enthusiasts and jet-skiers. Pigeonnier and Chay are smaller, quieter coves away from the main fray. Whichever beach experience you opt for, you won’t be disappointed.
Things to do and special events
Visit Planet Exotica, a botanical garden with bonsais, butterflies, Japanese garden, adventure trail and life-size dinosaur models to keep all the family entertained for hours! Royan’s Marina is packed with berths of mesmerising yachts, and under the archways there are chandlers, boutiques, galleries and restaurant terraces from which to watch the world go by. Surrender to the lure of the Atlantic and take a boat trip to Phare de Cordouan, France’s oldest, still-manned lighthouse – and open to visitors. And don’t miss Royan’s annual summertime extravaganza: Violon sur le Sable. It’s an unforgettably heady mix of beach, opera and fireworks that will surprise and delight.
Local discoveries and hidden gems
With its Belle Epoque mansions and 1950s design, Royan is an eclectic mix of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and modernism. A real feast for the eyes, and fascinating to stroll around. Take a trip to Ile d’Oléron, a charming island of golden beaches and quaint villages with castle, bird sanctuary and aromatic market. Indeed, in Royan and around, there’s no shortage of opportunities to taste the region’s delicacies: sweet mussels, delectable oysters and the freshest of fish. Or sip a Cognac and sample a chilled Pineau de Charente, the region’s refreshing aperitif. If you are feeling adventurous, eels are also a local speciality!
Places to go
Nearby Saintes is steeped in history from Roman times, and a trip to the amphitheatre will transport you and your family back to the days of togas and gladiator fights. The town offers fun cruises down the river Charente too. Rochefort, also close to Royan and holiday park Bonne Anse Plage, is a handsome 17th century port with elegant boulevards and great maritime museums and attractions.
Distance/driving time from Bonne Anse Plage
Distance/driving time from Les Charmettes
Distance/driving time from La Pignade