Catamaran en mouillage près de Boyardville

Out at sea

Surrounding the île d’Oléron and bordering the bassin de Marennes is the ocean – a huge playground where there’s a range of fun things to do and discoveries to be made.

From boat trips to learning how to sail...

Several clubs have lessons for beginners and for those who want to improve their sailing skills. Whether you’re interested in the Optimist class of sailing dinghy, liveaboard yachts, other dinghies, windsurfing or sport catamarans, this area’s friendly, professional instructors are ready to help. You’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for in this amazingly beautiful place and no matter where you’re staying, there’ll be a sailing school close at hand – don’t miss out!

Promenade en mer sur l'île d'Oléron depuis Boyardville ou Saint-Denis d'Oléron

Anyone wanting to get around under sail power has the option of setting off into the open ocean or perhaps embarking on a trip to the île d’Aix onboard a catamaran, an old sailing ship, sightseeing ship or a traditional yacht. Freshwater sailors may prefer to embark on a speedboat or a sailboat for a guided trip focusing on iconic and historic maritime sites like Fort Boyard and the citadel of Château d’Oléron. You could also enjoy sunsets over the ocean onboard a sightseeing ship or a catamaran whilst sampling some local Charente specialities*. During the holiday period there are multiple motorboat connections daily to La Rochelle.

Did you know that it’s possible to go on a boat trip from Boyardville or Saint-Denis d'Oléron. You’ll be spoilt for choice – a trip around Fort Boyard, a stopover on the île d'Aix and La Rochelle or a peaceful end-of-day sunset cruise.

Deckhands will doubtless be delighted to head off on the conquest of the île d’Aix onboard an old Royal Navy lifeboat, built in 1935. These hearties can spend a day on a drifter or several days on a cabin cruiser designed just for this purpose and skippered by an experienced professional. Everyone onboard, run up the flag, hoist the mainsail and prepare to explore the Atlantic coast and its islands!

Captain for the day!

Master mariners and lovers of sea fishing and angling are particularly well catered for here. Set a course for the île d’Aix or the northernmost point of the island of Oléron in the early hours of the morning and enjoy the spectacle of Fort Boyard or the coast of the île de Ré looming out of the mist! Live bait fishing, the most popular approach, is good for catching numerous species of fish such as seabream and whiting. Drift fishing using lures will enable you to catch sea bass and pollock. Lastly, there’s deep-sea fishing, a more physically-challenging, yet still very enjoyable activity… Get your camera at the ready to make sure you don’t miss a moment of this trip, whether it’s for a day or a weekend and capture the spoils of your fishing trip for ever. Alternatively, whilst you’re wanting for the fish to bite, immortalize the incredible, almost other-worldly quality of the light.

For those with an explorer’s soul, head off to the lighthouses at ‘the end of the world’, caught half-way between sea and land, namely ‘Chassiron’ and ‘Antioche’. Keep a careful watch and make sure to have binoculars handy – you may spot dolphins in their favourite haunt, the open sea.

Port de plaisance sur l'île d'Oléron

If you decide to hire a boat, you’re free to travel up and down the eastern side of the island and the bassin de Marennes, which are largely sheltered from the worst of the weather. You could venture out into the open ocean, where you’ll encounter conditions that are a little more challenging. Experienced pleasure boaters can tie up in one of the ports (Marennes, Le Château, Boyardville, Le Douhet, Saint-Denis d’Oléron) or at one of the public mooring buoys at your disposal. St-Trojan-les-Bains and St-Denis d’Oléron have 3 each, there are two at St-Georges d’Oléron and La Brée-les-Bains, Dolus d’Oléron and Bourcefranc-le Chapus have 1 each. Marinas are great places to stop off, get back on land and go a little crazy with the gifts and souvenirs. Cast off again to head out to sea, hug the coastline or go for a trip somewhere. There’s no better way to get away from it all!

*To be consumed in moderation – the water is very cold if you were to fall in!