L'île d'Oléron

L'île d'Oléron is the largest island on the French Atlantic coast.  The “luminous” island is famous for its wonderful fine sandy beaches but also for nature at its most enchanting.  Choose from excursions on foot, by bike, by boat, sporting activities, exploration and of course doing nothing very much!

From south to north, from east to west

The eight municipalities that make up the Ile d'Oléron have everything for the visitor: Saint-Trojan-les-Bains “the real seaside” and its forest, Le Grand-Village-Plage and its salt-farming port, Le Château d'Oléron and its imposing fortified citadel, Dolus d'Oléron and the ornithologists’ marshes, Saint-Pierre d'Oléron, with its pedestrianised street and the fishing port La Cotinière, Saint-Georges d’Oléron and its little villages, Chaucre, Domino, Boyardville… La Brée les Bains and its narrow streets and finally at the northern tip of the island, Saint-Denis d'Oléron where the 46m high lighthouse stands proudly at Chassiron.

Charm and authenticity of our villages

There are many delightful little villages to explore – leave the beaten track and enjoy the narrow streets decorated with hollyhocks and the architecture of our villages like Chaucre, Arceau, La Rémigeasse… And you’ll see fishermen’s houses with blue or green shutters and whitewashed facades.

Diverse landscapes

Of course Oléron means fine sandy beaches bordered by huge pine forests but that’s not all.  At Chassiron, in the north, can be found chalk cliffs overlooking the Atlantic or in the northwest, sandy beaches with just enough rocks to be ideal for shore-fishing.

Whether the visitor is on foot or two wheels, the island has a wide range of landscapes to enjoy: forests, marshland for bird-spotters and of course agricultural land for cereals and vines.

Activities and traditions

Oyster-farming is an age-old activity – the multi-coloured huts in the oyster ports have kept their authentic aspect.  Fishing is also an important activity – just think of La Cotinière, Charente-Maritime’s major fishing port.  Watching the return of the boats at high tide is a real spectacle.

Wine-making is also a traditional activity.  An excellent “Vin de Pays” is produced and our vineyards are in the “Cognac” appellation area; many of our wine-makers produce the increasingly well-known “Pineau des Charentes”.

A notable heritage

L'île d'Oléron has many renowned sites such as the citadel of the Château d’Oléron built to plans drawn up by Vauban or the 12th century lantern of the dead at St Pierre d’Oléron that is the highest in France.  The 11th century Romanesque church of St Georges d’Oléron is the island’s oldest monument. The iconic black and white striped lighthouse at Chassiron that guides sailors into the Antioche strait is the most visited site on the island.  Last but not least, the market at St Georges d’Oléron and the windmill at La Brée les Bains.

La Brée les Bains

street la bree les bains
La Brée les Bains, on the north-east coast of the island is one of the smallest municipalities in the district.
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Le Château d'Oléron

chateau oléron
Situated at the southern end of the Ile d’Oléron, Le Château d'Oléron is the second largest town in terms of population. This multi-faceted “capital” of the oyster world has a richly important historical heritage.
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Dolus d'Oléron

dolus oléron
Dolus d'Oléron is the biggest municipality in the southern part of the Ile d’Oléron, (2,900 ha) and extends from the east to the west coast.
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Le Grand-Village-Plage

port salines grand village plage
Le Grand-Village-Plage lies between Saint-Trojan-les-Bains to the west, Le Château d’Oléron to the east and Dolus d’Oléron to the north.
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Saint-Denis d'Oléron

saint denis oleron
The visitor arriving at Saint-Denis d'Oléron, having crossed the entire Ile d’Oléron from south to north, is instantly charmed by this multi-faceted authentic village.
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Saint-Georges d'Oléron

boyardville saint georges oléron
Saint-Georges d'Oléron is the largest municipality on the island, being situated between Saint-Denis d'Oléron, La Brée les Bains to the north and Saint-Pierre d'Oléron to the south.
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Boyardville île d'Oléron Marennes
Situated in a beautiful spot, 8km away from Saint-Georges; Boyardville is a recent village, along-side the channel of the Perrotine
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Saint-Pierre d'Oléron

la cotinière saint pierre oléron
Saint-Pierre d'Oléron owes its nickname of “capital” of the island to the size of its population, much higher than in the other townships and its geographical position, in the heart of the island, has done much for its economic development. 
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La Cotinière

La Cotinière Oléron Marennes
A flotilla of brightly-coloured fishing boats, an incessant ballet of boats in the port, intense activity on the quayside at any time of year: this is La Cotinière!
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saint trojan les bains
Saint-Trojan-les-Bains is at the extreme south-west tip of the Ile d’Oléron, bathed by the Maumusson strait and the Oléron channel.
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