Between the vineyards and the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Sainte-Marie-de-Ré sets the tone for your stay in Charente Maritime.
It is here that our 4-star hotel Ile de Ré, les Grenettes welcomes you for unforgettable holidays in Charente-Maritime.
A soothing holiday, which you will experience to the rhythm of the tides and according to your desires.
Between discovering the natural riches of the island and diving into the historical treasures of the region, each day is unique, promising you 1000 pleasures, just a stone’s throw from our aparthotel on the Ile de Ré.
So, start by casting off and adopting the art of living à la rhétaise.
We have prepared for you a selection of the best things to do on holiday on the Ile de Ré.
Tourist destinations in Charente-Maritime
Nature and landscapes in Charente-Maritime
The Charente-Maritime is an area that is easy to fall in love with, a destination where you can reconnect with nature and cultivate a joie de vivre. Visitors are seduced by its coastline. Many go to the beach of Les Huttes, for example, to admire the magnificent sunset. The beach is a wild, wind-blown natural area that delights both young and old with its dense dunes and thousands of small shells.
Canoeing is also an interesting way to explore the Charente countryside. It allows you to discover exceptional natural sites such as the river of Chauvignac. Several rental services offer two-hour trips, for example to Fort La Pointe, the Charente estuary, Plage de la Vierge or Pointe de la Fumée; there are also three-hour trips (sometimes longer), from the Charente estuary to Fort Lupin or to the Bay of Yves, among others.
Hiking also allows you to get to know the Charente countryside better. The Eaux Claires valley is particularly worth a visit. Here, climbing enthusiasts can tackle the limestone cliffs, while families can walk along a flat interpretation trail in the shade of the trees.
The coastline and its islands
The Charente-Maritime coastline stretches from the Bay of Aiguillon to the Gironde estuary, over 460 km. Some of the region’s most beautiful seaside resorts, such as Royan or Fouras, but also Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Châtelaillon or Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, are located on this coast. The Charente coastline is also appreciated for the beauty of its preserved islands: Ile de Ré, Ile d’Oléron, Ile d’Aix and Ile Madame.
There are so many exceptional natural sites to discover on the Charente coast. Holidaymakers can enjoy fine sandy beaches and discover splendid “exotic” coves; they can also find cliffs, capes, peninsulas, marshes or large river estuaries.
The Atlantic coastline is a delight for lovers of the great outdoors and endless beaches just outside the forests. Fishing enthusiasts are not left out, and among the catches are sardines, sea breams, meagre fish, sole and oysters. Many other activities await holidaymakers on the Charente coastline, including several water sports such as sand yachting, water skiing, kitesurfing, sport fishing on board a catamaran, etc.
Festivals in Charente-Maritime
Several festivals in the Charente take place during the summer months, in July and August.
- The Cognac Blues passion festival: The festival takes place every year at the beginning of July in Cognac. Concerts with blues and Afro-American accents follow one another, given by several headliners but also by young talents.
- Les Francofolies : The festival also takes place at the beginning of July in La Rochelle. The event is essentially intended to disseminate current and French-language music. At the same time, it is a tool to support young artists, through the “Chantier des Francos”, and musical and cultural education, with the “Francos Educ” programme.
- The Confolens Festival: The event honours the popular arts and traditions of the Confolens world in August, featuring music, song, dance and folk customs from the five continents.
The gastronomy of Charente
The Charente’s terroirs offer a whole range of flavours to delight the taste buds. The gastronomy of the Charente is based in part on traditional know-how that talented men and women perpetuate or reinvent. It also owes its reputation to the quality of its vineyards. Visitors have the chance to discover the great trading house, to learn more about the distillation process of cognac and the subtleties of pineau and local wines; it is also an opportunity to exchange with the cooper craftsmen…
There is also so much to discover by the sea. For example, holidaymakers can sit down in an oyster house and enjoy a nice plate of seafood. Afterwards, they can explore the surrounding natural sites, for example by meeting the salt marshes’ salt workers and gold miners.
What to do in Charente-Maritime?
We have selected for you ten places worth visiting in Charente-Maritime:
- The Poitevin marshes: Exploring the Poitevin marshes in a traditional boat allows you to appreciate all the splendour of this “green Venice”. What’s more, you are far from the crowds, the landscape is as calm as can be.
- The island of Aix : Walking or cycling on the island is an opportunity to discover creeks and “carrelets”, taste oysters or fish…
- The colourful oyster huts of Oleron: These huts add a shimmering touch to the wild scenery of the island of Oleron.
- Stand-up paddle to discover the island of Oleron: It is a unique experience to go for a paddle ride in the calm of the marshes. It’s a change from the sea and the lagoons.
- The Courbe lighthouse: To reach the top of this 64 m tower, you have to climb three hundred steps in a blue opaline setting. The reward is a breathtaking view of a forest, a beach and an estuary.
- The village of Meschers-sur-Gironde: The village, on the side of the cliffs, offers a breathtaking view of the Gironde estuary, the largest in Europe. One also comes here to admire the troglodyte caves of Matata and Regulus
- Talmont-sur-Gironde: Talmont-sur-Gironde has been awarded several labels: Cité de caractère, Plus beau village de France, Village préféré des Français en 2013, Village fleuri, Village de Pierre et d’eau de Charente-Maritime, Terre Saine certified without pesticides…
- Sailing on the Charente : A river cruise is a relaxing experience during which you take your time to admire the beauty of the Charente countryside.
- Verteuil-sur-Charente and its brioche: This small Charentais town welcomes visitors in a peaceful setting. It is also a convenient starting point for family walks, among other things.
- Birdwatching with an ornithological guide: In Massignac, visitors have the chance to discover hundreds of breeding and migratory species. The best sites for birdwatching, and which the birdwatching guides know well, are the lakes of Mas Chaban and Lavaud.
Charente-Maritime, a children’s paradise
The Charente-Maritime is perfect for authentic family holidays. The territory includes several idyllic destinations such as the island of Ré or the island of Oléron, where parents can share several activities and emotions with their children. Treasure hunting is one of these activities, as well as “time travel” when meeting dinosaurs and prehistoric people or discovering medieval and Renaissance castles in princess and knight costumes… It is also an opportunity for children to learn about culture, for example how oysters grow or the process of harvesting salt in a Rhaetan salt marsh. Fun and thrills are also part of the programme, for example on the water slides in the water parks or during a ride on an authentic steam train.