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Charente


Charente-Maritime is a area on the west coast of France named after the Charente River.

During the summer months, families flock from all over Europe to bask in the sun and enjoy the local seafood. Enjoy the upmarket resort island of the Ile de Ré and the smart boutiques of nearby La Rochelle.

Plages et baignades

At Royan meanwhile – La Rochelle’s local tourist rival – thousands of tourists enjoy a traditional beach-based summer holiday, making the most of some fine sandy beaches and a seemingly endless parade of waterside fish restaurants. La Rochelle also has a aquarium www.aquarium-larochelle.com and what is claimed to be France’s largest zoo. www.zoo-palmyre.com

Away from these two tourist hotspots, however, the area - which is one of the sunniest parts of France - still has plenty to offer.

The beautiful, wooded Saintonge area is full of history, and an important centre of Romanesque architecture. Scores of fine old churches can be found here, along the many walks and cycle trails that criss-cross the area

Plages et baignades

Just east of the Charente-Maritime is the famous town of Cognac in the Charente where a certain well-known alcoholic drink is made and where visitors can look round some of the old distilleries.

And just south of the department is the major city of Bordeaux which is well worth a visit – as are the surrounding vineyards that produce some of the world’s best and best-known wines.

Charente-Maritime is the headquarters of the major oyster producer Marennes-Oléron. Oysters cultivated here are shipped across Europe.

Sites in the Charente. "Click on the links for site details"

Domaine d'Oleron