The Beaches near our Child Friendly
Gites in the Charente Maritime
in south west France
The peninsula of Fouras stretches
from Yves Bay to the Charente
River. It is also historically
interesting and has long been a
heavily, fortified area. Originally the
fortifcations were needed to fight
off the Normans and then the
British. Nowadays, the only
invaders are tourists. There is a
great view from the fort, along the
coast to La Rochelle and across to
the islands. This area also boasts
four large beaches.
The Charente Maritime has hundreds of miles of coast and safe, sandy beaches and they are all just an easy hours drive away
(and please note that this is a driving time within the speed limits !) There are sandy beaches all along the coast from La
Rochelle down to Royan. However if you don't want to drive that far, we have a swimming lake just 30mins away with a sandy
beach, it even has a lifeguard in the afternoon plus lots of trees for a shady spot and a kids playground !
Chatelaillon de la plage just south of
La Rochelle is a popular place for its
beaches and probably one of the
closest. In summer it has a fun fair
starting every afternoon, plenty of
restaurants, bouncy castles on the
beach, sunbeds to hire and always
lots of activities going on for the
children. You could spend a morning
and lunch in La Rochelle then head
down to Chatelaillon for a couple of
hours on the beach
The islands of Oleron and Ré are also
popular for their beaches. They take
slightly longer to get to particularly in
summer as traffic over the bridge -
particularly to Ile de Oleron, can be
quite heavy. Top tip - go early ! Oleron
is linked to the mainland by a road
bridge, so you can easily visit the
island and enjoy the beaches, the
fishing or the forest. There are
numerous footpaths in the forest where
you can explore or a favourite with
children - Le Petit Train Touristique
Forestier which will take you along the
dunes and the beaches and through
the forest.
To visit the Ile de Ré requires you to
pay a toll over the bridge. This makes
it a much more peaceful and slightly
less touristy island to visit. It has a
wide variety of flora and fauna and
boasts more than one wildlife park.

The Phare Des Baleines is one of the
tallest lighthouses in France (55
meters) and has 250 steps to the top,
where you have a great view of the
mainland and the islands salt
marshes. The island's still produces
around 2,000 tons of salt every year.
The islands also boasts some fine
churches and well preserved
fortifications from the Middle Ages.

St Martin de Re is gorgeous, a mini
La Rochelle and a wonderful place to
hire a bike (and tag along or child
seats too) and take a leisurely cycle
along the quiet cycle tracks and
lanes. The whole island is set up for
cycling with lots of places to hire
bikes and lots of cycle routes.
Just south of Royan on the coast
beaches. Far less touristy with fewer
facilities but quieter and also
because of the cliffs along that area
of coast, there is some shade, large
caves to explore and rock pools,
ideal for when the tide goes out.

La Palmyre coast line also has some
excellent beaches. Dunes have been
man made to provide salt water
lakes, so when the tide is out
(it goes out along way) there is still
water for the children to swim in and
the adults to cool down in.

We have the local high and low tides
listed on our noticeboard so you can
plan the best time to visit the beach.
Content by Wendy Blakeman
Just 30 mins away from our family holiday
cottages lies a lovely swimming lake with a
sandy beach - ideal if you don't want to make the
longer trip to the coast.

The lake is surrounded by trees so you can find a
shady spot to sit. There is a childrens playground
with slide and swings.

Each afternoon during the French school
holidays there is a lifeguard on duty.

There are two roped off swimming areas, one is
a paddling area, so ideal for the toddlers and
then the next is for swimming and reaches a
good depth of 3m deep. The rest of the lake is
for fishing.

There is also a café/bar serving snacks and
drinks and it serves lunch too (steak frites  and
an ice cream for about 9€ ) On Sundays it's really
popular with the locals so you'd need to book in
advance. All very French with paper plates and
plastic cutlery to keep the price down.