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Beaches and the coast are an easy drive away
from our Family Friendly holiday cottages
in Charente Maritime, France
Child friendly
places to go

Beaches
Futuroscope
La Palmyre zoo
Aquarium
Fort Boyard
St Savinien
Le Chateau
des Enigmas
Vallaies des Singes
Paleosite
Karting
Swimming
To visit the Ile de Ré requires
you to pay a toll over the
bridge. This makes it a much
more peaceful and slightly less
touristy island to visit. It has a
wide variety of flora and fauna
and boasts more than one
wildlife park.
The Phare Des Baleines is
one of the tallest lighthouses in
France (55 meters) and has
250 steps to the top, where
you have a great view of the
mainland and the islands salt
marshes. The island's still
produces around 2,000 tons of
salt every year. The islands
also boasts some fine
churches and well preserved
fortifications from the Middle
Ages.
The coast and beaches are just an easy hours drive away (and please note that this is a driving time
within the speed limits !) There are hundreds of miles of beaches all along the coast from La Rochelle
down to Royan. The region is the second most popular beach holiday for the French after the south
coast. Great weather and amazing sandy beaches. There is something for everyone - bustling beach
resorts with restaurants, cafes, cycle hire, sunbed and parasol hire or hidden gems with rock pools, cliffs
and hardly any people even in peak season ! Calm mainland waters with gentle beaches or Atlantic
beaches with big waves, it's all here and all within a reasonable drive of our family friendly gites here in
the Charente Maritime region of western France.
The peninsula of Fouras,
stretches from Yves Bay to the
Charente River. It is also
historically interesting and has
long been a heavily, fortified
area. Originally the fortifcations
were needed to fight off the
Normans and then the British.
Nowadays, the only invaders are
tourists. There is a great view
from the fort, along the coast to
La Rochelle and across to the
islands. This area also boasts
four large beaches and lots of
woodland.
Chatelaillon de la plage is
another popular place for its
beaches and probably one of
the closest. In summer it has a
fun fair atmosphere with lots of
activities going on
for the children.
Our favourite beach is just
outside Meschers just south of
Royan - door to door its one
hours drive.  It's great, particularly
at low tide when the rocks create
fab rock pools full of tiny fish,
shrimp and crabs. Theres also a
small headland which when you
paddle around you discover an
amazing cave complete with blow
hole - brilliant for keping the
children entertained when the tide
is out.
Contact Chris and Wendy Blakeman on oo 33 546330902 or
email us at
wendy@childfriendlygites.com
La Rochelle has a nice beach - not
huge but big enough and when the
tide goes out there are loads fans
and an hour for the children will keep
them happy. tie it up with an
aquarium visit, nice seafood lunch
and walk around this historic city.

The islands of Oleron and Re are
also popular for their beaches. They
take slightly longer to get to
particularly in summer as traffic over
the bridge - particularly to Ile de
Oleron, can be quite heavy.
Top tip - go early !
toddlers would wish to drive for a day
out and the fewer times you need to do it
the better, so rather than having a full
beach day, tie up a few hours on the
beach with a trip to the aquarium or the
zoo.
Oleron is now linked to the
mainland by a road bridge, so you
can easily visit the island and enjoy
the beaches, the fishing or the
forest. There are numerous
footpaths in the forest where you
can explore or a favourite with
children - Le Petit Train Touristique
Forestier which will take you along
the dunes and the beaches and
through the forest.
It has been inhabited since
prehistoric times. The Romans
called the island "Ularius" which it is
thought to of developed into Oleron.
For a time the island was under
British rule, but it was returned to
France in the 14th Century and later
became a Protestant stronghold.
Like most of this part of the coast
the island was heavily fortified and
the Chateau Fort is a lasting
reminder of this time