cheThe Marennes-Oléron region includes over 100 km of coastline. Much of this coastal strip is made up of numerous beaches. Whilst there is a diversity of beaches, they all share one thing – bathing water of very high quality. The île d’Oléron boasts several municipalities that have been awarded Blue Flag status. This means that all the beaches in a given municipality, along with the rest of the natural environment and the local waste disposal arrangements are of the highest quality.
From the south...
In the south of the île d'Oléron, the west-facing coast is almost entirely made up of a very long beach between Saint-Trojan-les-Bains and Vert-Bois. Adjacent to woodland, these large stretches of sand are perfect for rest and relaxation, as well as for sporting activities, with boardsports fans especially well catered to. At low tide, you can even try out land sailing on Saint-Trojan’s large central beach. Although it’s quite busy in high season, if you want to be by yourself you just have to walk a little to find some peace and quiet. For children or holiday-makers who aren’t so keen on big waves, the plage de Gatseau beach on the lee shore of the Pertuis de Maumusson is sheltered from the open ocean and protected by pine forest, making it ideal for kids.
The south-eastern coast, from Château d’Oléron to Boyardville is much less suitable for swimming because of the oyster farms located there. Moreover, as the tide goes out very far, it’s only possible to swim at high tide. Remember that dogs are not allowed in the Moëze-Oléron nature reserve and fishing is forbidden (shore fishing and angling).
... to the east...
The eastern side of the île d’Oléron, opposite the Pertuis d'Antioche, an arm of the sea separating the île d’Oléron from the île de Ré, offers the chance to enjoy beaches bordered by the forêt des Saumonards forest. From the plage de Boyardville enjoy amazing views of that must-see location, Fort Boyard. Sheltered from the worst of the waves and wind, this sandy beach is ideal for swimming with young children. It’s within easy walking distance of the village of Boyardville, so you can enjoy an ice-cream or quench your thirst with a lemonade at the port. Once you’re there, why not take the opportunity to go on one of the numerous boat trips departing from the quayside to Fort Boyard or the île d'Aix? A little further north lies the plage de Plaisance beach near the port of Le Douhet. It’s a very pleasant spot if you have very young children with the added advantage of swimming being possible at low or high tide.
And all the way up to the north!
Located on the west side of the island are the beaches of Sables Vignier, Domino, Chaucre and the Plages des Huttes, another mecca for boardsports enthusiasts. A famous surf spot, the plage des Huttes faces the Atlantic on the southwestern side of the pointe de Chassiron. All sorts of seaside activities take place here – surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and bodyboarding. On the other side of the island, for example at Boyardville, the sea is calmer. The northern part of this eastern side boasts a sandy foreshore with lovely sandy beaches such as that of La Brée les Bains or la Boirie with its rows of pretty, brightly-coloured beach huts – great for Instagram-perfect pics!