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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!
Charente-Maritime is a department in France which covers the southwestern coast. If you are able to picture France, the department begins at La Rochelle and ends just before the large city of Bordeaux.
Many holiday makers tend to visit La Rochelle, a city on the coast, which is also the capital of the department. It boasts a seaport and stunning views across the Atlantic Ocean and is connected to the Île de Ré which is an island you are able to access from La Rochelle via a bridge of 1.8 miles. This island is a very popular tourist destination, as it is almost like a smaller version of La Rochelle, with its own port and beaches. There are also plenty of amenities seeing as the island relies on the summer tourists to boost its economy.
If you enjoy seaside destinations, the Charente-Maritime department is for you. Average temperatures in the summer are high with plenty of sunshine, and although you would typically assume that beaches along the Mediterranean coast would be warmer, this is not always the case. Particularly inland, often the weather is actually warmer than along the Southern coast of France. The beaches across the southwestern coast are picturesque, and I cannot encourage you enough to explore the surroundings when you visit a destination, because often it is not the most popular places which have the best views or beaches in this case.
Firstly, Royan is a seaside resort along the Atlantic coast and seems to be very popular with Parisian tourists, who have many holiday houses here. The commune actually has a micro-climate, meaning that the area of Royan has a warmer climate than its surrounding areas, with temperatures matching the climate of the beaches along the Mediterranean coast. The beaches stretch for kilometres, and here you will see the most amazing sunsets.
La Palmyre is the second beach that deserves a mention, situated on the coast of the Charente-Maritime department. My experience may be a little different to when the southwestern coast of France becomes a tourist destination in the height of summer. However, when I visited at the beginning of October, La Palmyre was so peaceful, with sand dunes. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see, and I encourage you to visit after the summer season, because you are still able to sunbathe as temperatures are around 20 degrees, and the beaches are so quiet and serene.
Saint-Georges-de-Didonne is another seaside resort slightly further south than the beaches of Royan, and here are located cliffs and a very pretty lighthouse! The beach does not have as clear waters because it is located on an estuary, but for this reason, fewer tourists will visit and you can soak up the sun more peacefully!
However, the cities and communes with vast beaches are not the only beautiful areas in the Charente-Maritime department. Read “The Charente-Maritime department part 2” for more details!
IMAGE 1 - personal image - La Palmyre
IMAGE 2 - personal image - La Rochelle