Royan - Lovely Seaside Town with Great Sandy Beaches

Royan is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department of South-West-France.

I really like the seaside resort of Royan as it is full of history, has some lovely beaches which are great for the kids, a massive Zoo and it has a lively town centre.

We do drive there a couple of times a year with the kids for a beach day and we normally go to a beach at a place called St. Georges de Didonne. It has lovely sand there and the kids love to go in the water, even I go in sometimes.

We take a picnic and in the early evening we drive in to Royan for some dinner. It's a great day out.


Let me tell you a bit about this lovely seaside town.

Capital of the 'Cote de Beaute', the city is located in the mouth of the Gironde Estuary, the largest Estuary in Europe.

It has five sandy Beaches, a Marina and a Fishing Port.

At one point Royan was a convalescence center for the soldiers of Napoleon's Grande Armee.

Because of the climate and the lovely beaches Royan attracted the first tourists around 1816 from the greater part of Bordeaux and that when sea bathing developed and the town was quite famous for it.

In July 1819 the mayor, Raymond Labarthe, signed the first regulation for sea bathing and this forbade nude bathing from beaches bordering houses and he reserved the Foncillon beach for women only.

In 1820 it was forbidden to wash pigs, horses and other cattle in the sea while people were bathing.

And rightly so, I think.......

Between 1850 and 1870 the number of tourists increased from 9000 to 17.000. It became a big regional seaside resort with businesses, a renowned casino and large cafes.

On the 28th August 1875 the first train arrived from Paris increasing the tourists by big numbers.

Between 1875 and 1895 the city became one of the sea resorts of the Ocean coast.

A casino, which was the work of Alfred Duprat, an architect from Bordeaux, was inaugurated in 1885 and dominated Foncillon beach.

10 years later the municipality asked the Parisian architect, Gaston Redon, to build another casino at the edge of Grande Conche beach. In August 1895 the biggest casino in France was inaugurated.

Unfortunatley in 1945 Royan was ravaged by terrible bombardment and most of the original town centre was destroyed.

As a result many buildings have only been built in the 1950's, which we now call modernistic architecture. It's one of these phases where you either like the design of buildings or I have to say like me, don't like them at all.

For example, the first monument that you will notice is the Royan Church of Notre-Dame, which is a tall construction that towers over the town and is very modern, in a 1950's way. If you like it or not, you should take a look inside as the theme is continued.

Once you had a good look at the buildings, why not take a nice walk along the Royan seafront which is very pleasant with gardens and trees planted along the route.

If you like gardens, be sure to head to the extensive 'Gardens of the World' at the north of the town, for a chance to see all types of garden - from Japanese to Mediterranean, carefully recreated.


Royan has a really big Zoo and it's well worth a visit.

I must admit that I am not really a person who likes to see the animals caged, but you can tell that all the animals are well looked after and are very well cared for.

If you have children it's a perfect place to show them all the animals they will not really see from day to day, unless you keep lions and monkeys as pets...........

Should you decide to visit the Zoo, just remember it's a day out and you probably will not have time to do anything else.

Remember to take some snacks and drinks for the kids as it is a long day but I am sure you will all enjoy it.

And then of course there is the harbour which is quite substantial in size.

You will see a great number of pleasure boats as well as an active fishing fleet.

If the weather is nice and warm, why not take a boat trip along the coast from the harbour.

But maybe you just don't want to do anything, then just find a nice Restaurant and soak up the atmosphere.

From Poullignac, if you were to stay at 'La Petite Maison', all this would just take 1h30mins by car and that's not bad for a great day out.

I hope you have enjoyed your day at Royan and maybe you caught some colour as well, which really will make you feel you are on Holiday.


Maybe tomorrow you feel like visiting some of the other villages that you find around here.

So, remember have a great time whatever you do.............

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