Discover : the island of Oléron

One culture, one island...

places to see

On the same island, observe a remarkable architectural heritage, a wild nature, charming villages, fine sandy beaches, a fishing port, ...

Chassiron lighthouse

Chassiron at the northern tip of the island of Oleron, facing the ocean, regulates the maritime traffic close to the coast of the island of Oleron. It became important in the 17th century when it was necessary to increase the security of the channel. Its 46 m high tower can be seen up to 35 km during the day and its light up to 52 km during a clear night.

A beautiful staircase of 224 steps leads up to the lantern, which is lit by incandescent acetylene light. Initially painted white, in 1926 the three 6-metre high black stripes that characterise it today were added to make it more visible by day in the fog and to differentiate it from its neighbour on the Ile de Ré, the Baleines lighthouse.

The Chassiron site was completely rehabilitated in 2007. The gardens were redeveloped and a museum was created on the first floor of the lighthouse.

Useful information
Timetable :

From 1st April to 30th June: 10am to 12.15pm - 2pm to 7pm
From 1 July to 31 August: 10am to 8pm
From 1st to 30th September: 10am to 12.15pm - 2pm to 7pm
From 1 October to 31 March: 10am to 12.15pm - 2pm to 5pm

Rates :
  • Visit to the lighthouse: Adults: €3.00 - Children: €1.50
  • Visit of the museum - show trail: Adults: € 5.00 - Children: € 2.50
    (limited number of people with staggered timetables)
  • For adult or children groups, please consult the lighthouse reception.
Contact details:

05 46 75 18 62

17650 Saint-Denis-d'Oléron
2HWQ+MV Saint-Denis-d'Oléron

Marais aux Oiseaux

Discover the fauna of Oleron. The Marais aux Oiseaux, located in a sensitive natural area of some 130 hectares, is home to an educational discovery park and a rescue centre for birds in distress.

The park offers visits along a 1.5 km path, accessible to all, with information points on the life of the species encountered.
At the beginning of the trail, a mini-farm allows children to get close to some mammals and birds. Further on, several species of the region can be observed in their natural environment from a 9-metre high observatory which offers a panoramic view of the site.

Many of the animals that can be seen in the park are free-living, attracted by the tranquillity of the area, the sight of other animals, the abundance of food and the presence of fresh water.

Useful information
Timetable :

July and August: every day from 10am to 7pm
April, May, June and September: daily, 10am to 1pm - 2pm to 6pm (except Saturday morning and Sunday morning)
1 October - 14 November / 16 February - 31 March: During school holidays, every day (except Saturdays, New Year's Day and Christmas): from 2pm to 6pm.
Outside school holidays on Wednesdays and Sundays from 2pm to 6pm.
Annual closure from 15 November to 15 February.

Rates :
  • Individual rates: Adults: €4.50 / Children (6 to 14 years old): €2.80
  • Group rates (at least 20 people) : Adults: 3,70 € (1 accompanying adult free for 20 adults)
    Groups of at least 20 people can visit the park outside the opening period by appointment only
  • Guided tour of the park on reservation (2 h): Adults: 6,00 € / Children: 3,20 €
  • Group rate for students and the unemployed (on presentation of proof) as well as for holders of the CEZAM card or the Trésors de Saintonge card
Contact details:

05 46 75 37 54

17550 Dolus-d'Oléron
WPHG+36 Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron

Additional information :

- The ticket office closes 1 hour before the site closes.
- Dogs are not allowed, even on a lead.

Fort Boyard and Fort Louvois

Fort Boyard, also known as the "Stone Ship", is forever anchored on the Longe de Boyard (a long sandbank) between the islands of Aix and Oléron.

Even if it is now used as the set for the programme bearing its name, the Fort's project began in 1666 and its construction in 1803 to protect the harbour before becoming a prison and then being left to decay. In 1988, Jacques Antoine bought the Fort Boyard for 1.5 million Francs and sold it for a symbolic 1 Franc to the Charente-Maritime General Council, which rehabilitated it, thus enabling the television programmes you know to be filmed there every summer.

The programme does not allow an interior visit to Fort Boyard, instead you can visit Fort Louvois. Built only a few years after Fort Boyard, Fort Louvois is a listed building and has been restored as a museum.

Useful information
Fort Boyard :

There are a number of boats that sail around the fort every day. Please contact these service providers to find out their respective prices.
Times vary according to the season and the tide.

Timetable Fort Louvois :

Depending on the tides.

Rates Fort Louvois :
  • Individuals: Adult: 7 € / Child (6 - 16 years): 4 € / Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children): 20 € / Intrigue at Fort Louvois: 9 €
  • Groups of more than 15 people: Adult: 5.50 € / Intrigue in the Fort: 7.50 €.
  • Groups of more than 25 people: Adults: 5 €.
Contact details Fort Louvois :

05 46 85 23 22

65 bis avenue Jean Jaurès
17560 Bourcefranc-le-Chapus

Additional information :

- Access at high tide is by shuttle bus every 15 minutes.

Maxime Pinard Vineyard

It is a field rich in discoveries. Soothing for the soul, comforting for the body, it evokes plenitude. Winegrowers from father to son for 4 generations, the Maxime Pinard Group invites families, lovers and groups to discover their estate. Here, time slows down to the rhythm of the ocean's languor to better reveal its secrets.

It is in the heart of this postcard of more than 100 hectares of grape varieties and dʼappellations dʼorigine contrôlée that you will travel through this Oléronais country for the greatest pleasure of young and old. This is the secret of this family who, since 1889, has been using its know-how to serve the different terroirs of the island of Oléron, whose charm and voluptuousness can be found in the sensitive and delicate aromas of its wine, Pineau, cognac, etc.

An unforgettable experience of island living awaits you on a journey to the end of the world.

Port de la Cotinière

The Port of La Cotinière is the 5th largest fishing port in France. Yet it is also one of the most typical sites on the island of Oleron. Facing the open sea, the port welcomes the fishermen's boats, coming and going at the rhythm of the tides and unloading the famous species that are fished (sole, scampi, razor clams, sea bass, lobsters...).

The seafront is animated by the many bars and shops which encourage you to stroll or to rest facing the ocean. Many night markets brighten up the summer evenings.

The pretty chapel of La Cotinière pays homage to those lost at sea who are part of the history of the place. As for La Criée, it is no longer open to the public but guided tours are offered to discover this colourful place.

Useful information
Programme :

Guided tour of the La Cotinière fish market "From boat to plate
Visit the unloading dock and discover the port activity and the fish market of the fishing port of La Côtinière with a guide from the tourist office.

Timetable :

3pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

Rates :
  • 3,00€ per adult
  • 1,50€ from 6 to 16 years old
  • Free for children under 6
Contact details:

05 46 85 65 23

Quai René Delouteau, 17310 Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron
WM7C+W3 Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron

Additional information :

- Visits are by reservation only: 05 46 85 65 23

La Brée les Bains

Discover the fauna of Oleron. The Marais aux Oiseaux, located in a sensitive natural area of some 130 hectares, is home to an educational discovery park and a rescue centre for birds in distress.

The park offers visits along a 1.5 km path, accessible to all, with information points on the life of the species encountered.
At the beginning of the trail, a mini-farm allows children to get close to some mammals and birds. Further on, several species of the region can be observed in their natural environment from a 9-metre high observatory which offers a panoramic view of the site.

Many of the animals that can be seen in the park are free-living, attracted by the tranquillity of the area, the sight of other animals, the abundance of food and the presence of fresh water.

Useful information
Market hours :

From 01 May to 15 June & 16 September to 30 October: every morning except Monday
From 16 June to 15 September and during school holidays: every morning
From 01 October to 30 April: Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Discotheque opening hours :

Every evening from mid-April to mid-September

Contact details of the discotheque :

05 46 76 56 37

Port du Douhet
17840 La Brée Les Bains

Contact details for the tourist office :

05 46 47 96 73

17840 La Brée-les-Bains
20 rue des Ardillères

Sleeping in La Brée les Bains

There are three options to stay and discover the village and its surroundings:

Eating out & discovering culinary specialities

To discover the cuisine of the Oléronaise, there is nothing better than to stop for a meal at the restaurant La Chaudrée. Between two bucolic lanes, a stone's throw from the beaches and in the heart of La Brée les Bains, you can discover typical dishes cooked with passion.

And to bring back a souvenir, the Maxime Pinard cellar offers its wine products (wine, pineau, cognac, ...) as well as local 100% products (salt, biscuits, honey, ...).

Baudissière and Fort Royer

Along the Baudissière channel, along the route des Huîtres, walk between colourful and picturesque traditional huts.

In the oyster farming villages, the huts of the oyster producers were once painted with the remains of paint that had been used for the boats. Here, some huts serve the local oyster industry, others house artists or creators who practice their craft and open their doors to visitors.

Not far from there, the Fort Royer site offers a perfect view of oyster farming. The channels and oyster beds were created by dint of hard work in the 1920s in a natural area of mudflats enclosed by a dune belt. This painstaking work has given this site a unique charm to be discovered with the family.

Useful information
Programme for Fort Royer :

Guided tours on oyster farming
A beautiful walk with commentary in the heart of this small green area run by 7 oyster farmers, tells the story of the oyster, this curious animal and its funny history. On the working area of a professional, you will discover oyster farming: random birth at sea, breeding in the oyster beds, work of the women in the hut, traditional maturing in the oyster beds... Visit of the huts, a shipping establishment in activity and presentation of an oyster farming film dating from 1907.
Little games about oyster farming are given to the children during the visit.

Timetable :

For groups: all year round in French - Thursdays at 10.30 am from April to September in English
For individuals:
- February, March: 3pm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- April, May, June: 5pm Monday to Saturday
- July and August: 10am, 3pm and 5pm Monday to Friday - 10am and 3pm Saturday
- September: 5pm Monday to Saturday
- October and early November: 3pm Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
- Closed at the end of November, December and January

Rates :
  • Full price: 5,00 € / reduced price: 4,00 € - oyster farming, coastal plants 4.00 € - oyster farming, coastal plants
  • Full price: 6,00€ - Reduced price: 7,00€ - oyster beds, rocky foreshore
  • Reduced rates: 7 to 16 years old, students, large families, PASS, Guide du Routard...
Contact details:

05 46 47 06 48

17310 Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron
XQ55+H4 Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron

Additional information :

- Reservation required for groups, tailor-made visits possible: 05 46 47 06 48

The Moëze-Oléron Nature Reserve

On the land side, the Moëze-Oléron Nature Reserve extends over a polder which is incredibly rich in biological diversity: water birds, European eel, European otter, amphibian vole, European cistude...

On the sea side, it is a real larder for many species to be observed. It is located on the great water bird migration route, known as the East-Atlantic route. The Reserve participates in the conservation of species and biodiversity in a heritage site and a collective living space (shellfish farmers, breeders, professional fishermen, etc.).

If you follow the signposts, you can enjoy an authentic and magical walk.

Useful information
Programmes :

The museum area at the Plaisance Farm, which has been awarded the "Tourism and Disability" label, invites you to discover the protected natural site and many other places or atmospheres according to the temporary exhibition calendar.
Opening times and dates 2019
From 1 April to 30 June: every day from 3.30 to 5.30 pm (except Saturday)
From 1 July to 31 August: every day from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2.30pm to 6.30pm (including weekends and public holidays)
From 1 September to 31 October: every day from 2.30 to 5.30 pm (except Saturday)

Observation point :

From a fixed observation point, discover the diversity of species in the reserve, their way of life (feeding, resting, migration...) and the coastal landscapes (formation of the dune and dynamics).
All public - 1h30 - Prices: free participation
Different meeting places according to the dates

Guided discovery :

The guided tours of the reserve, which include a Winter Symphony, a Spring Concert and an Autumn Sonata, present the feathered and scaled biodiversity of the wetlands. Landscape, birds, history, a cocktail to be taken without moderation-3km.
All public - 3h - 15 people maximum - Prices: adult: 7€ / reduced: 5€.
Ferme des Tannes, GPS coordinates : Lat : 45,8864 - Long : -1,0788

Overview of the nature reserve :

Discovery of a polder sculpted by the hand of man and adopted by wild nature in situ, supplemented by the screening of a short film in the room. Accessible to people with disabilities.
All public - 1h30 - 20 people maximum - Prices: adult: 6€ / reduced: 5€.
Plaisance Farm, GPS coordinates: Lat: 45.8945 - Long: -1.0695

Twilight walk :

Tinta'mares of tree frogs, melody of blackbirds and other passerines, take part in a twilight walk to see differently. Depending on the opportunity, on different paths.
All public - 1h30 - 20 people maximum - One price: 5€.
Plaisance Farm, GPS coordinates: Lat: 45.8945 - Long: -1.0695

Exploration :

At the reception desk, pick up your explorer's kit and your logbook and set off to explore the Sablières trail.
Family - 1h00 - On request, all year round during the opening hours of the nature centre - 10€ kit rental
Nature centre at Plaisance Farm (GPS coordinates: Lat: 45.8945 - Long: -1.0695), last departure 1 hour before closing time.

Magic moment:

Each child creates a picture of the sea and discovers through this manual activity the great diversity of species in the reserve.
Children from 2 years old - 30 minutes - 6 children maximum - Price: 2€/session
Ferme de Plaisance, GPS coordinates: Lat: 45.8945 - Long: -1.069

Contact details:

07 68 24 70 23 - 05 46 83 17 07

Nature Centre of the Reserve
Plaisance Farm
17 780 Saint-Froult
GPS coordinates: 45.8945 - -1.0695

Additional information :

- Registration to the programmes is mandatory: 05 46 82 12 44

A culture too...

on the plate

Oysters Marennes Oléron

The history of Marennes Oléron oysters goes back to Roman times when the rich families of the empire brought them in at great expense for their banquets. Today, maturing, breeding and packaging are authorised in 27 communes, 8 of which are on the island of Oléron. Oysters are well known for being eaten at festive times with fleur de sel or a twist of lemon, but they are also a perpetual challenge for the creativity of great chefs.

Galette charentaise

Called the "Goulebenèze" cake, the Charentaise cake differs from its cousins, the Surgères cake or the Poitou crushed cake, in that it has a softer texture.
Gilded and decorated, it has been placed on festive tables for several centuries.
The little extra? It is flavoured with finely chopped candied angelica, vanilla or lemon extract.

Eglade charentaise

A typical Charentais dish, this local delicacy is a must in the whole region and is frequently offered at local festivals. Its curious name comes from the patois "sion"which means "spurgeon"This is a traditional way of cooking mussels, using maritime pine needles, which are widely used throughout the island. Eglade consists of burning mussels using local and natural materials to give them a unique taste.

Pineau des Charentes

Pineau des Charentes is a local product from the vineyards in western France. On the island of Oléron, production began several centuries ago (in 1589). It is the result of mixing 60% of Cognac at least 1 year old with grape must. Pineau des Charentes is aged for many months in oak barrels.
Pineau is served as an aperitif, chilled and without ice. Some people like it with a piece of Roquefort cheese, others with oysters.

Flower of salt

The white gold is formed in the salt marshes of Sauzelles, the historic salt village. In an area with exceptional flora and fauna, the flower of salt is harvested by hand and by craftsmen with a thousand-year-old know-how, respectful of Man and the environment.
The cleaning of the salt pans ends in April and the flower of salt begins to be harvested in June, then it is dried to end up on the plates and spice up all your dishes with finesse.

Fish & Shellfish

Langoustines, shrimps, razor clams, sole, lobsters, sea bass and other noble species are freshly landed from the fishing boats in the port of La Côtinière twice a day. Fresh products to be found on the market stalls, in the fish shops and directly on your plate at the restaurant La Chaudrée.

Need to sleep in?

homes for all tastes

Hands in pockets

2 hotels on the island of Oleron within walking distance of the beaches and ideally located for visiting the island

Just like at home

A family gîte in the heart of the island and a vineyard, a few minutes from La Brée les Bains, the beaches, the lighthouse, ...

On the road to holiday

A parking area open to camper vans, with a winegrower from Oleron welcoming them