Charente-Maritime places to visit and attractions

Below you can explore some of the most popular highlights and places of interest in the Charente-Maritime department of Poitou-Charentes. See also our Charente-Maritime travel guide


photo of Ars-en-Re

Ars-en-Ré is one of the pretty villages to explore on the Ile-de-Ré

See guide


photo of Brouage

The town of Brouage is visited for the substantial fortifications and citadel, dating from the Napoleonic era

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photo of Chatelaillon-Plage

The seaside resort of Chatelaillon-Plage has a long sandy beach and a friendly atmosphere

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photo of Fouras

While the beaches are the main highlight here in Fouras, be sure to also visit the Vauban fortifications

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Ile d'Oleron

photo of Ile d'Oleron

It is usually the beaches that attract visitors to Ile d'Oleron, but allow time to explore the towns as well!

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Ile de Re

photo of Ile de Re

The Ile-de-Ré is an island with lots of sandy beaches and some attractive villages. Much loved by cycling families!

See guide


photo of Ile-d'Aix

Ile d'Aix is a small island, explored on foot or by bike, known for its association with Napoleon

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photo of Jonzac

Best known as a spa town Jonzac also has a small castle and other monuments to discover

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La Flotte-en-Re

photo of La Flotte-en-Re

The village of La Flotte-en-Ré is a pretty village on the Ile-de-Ré

See guide


La Palmyre

photo of La Palmyre

You will find a beach at La Palmyre but it is best known for its very popular zoo

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La Rochelle

photo of La Rochelle

The historic town and monuments and the vibrant harbour area make La Rochelle one of our favourite towns in France

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La Rochelle aquarium

photo of La Rochelle aquarium

The aquarium in La Rochelle features various parts, including a shark tank and many colourful sea creatures

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La Rochelle harbour

photo of La Rochelle harbour

The harbour area in La Rochelle is the liveliest part of the town, with numerous restaurants, street entertainers, artists and the aquarium

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La Rochelle Natural History Museum

photo of La Rochelle Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in La Rochelle contains an eclectic mix of items collected by 19th century explorers

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La Rochelle towers

photo of La Rochelle towers

These three fortress towers protect the entrance to the harbour in La Rochelle

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La Tremblade

photo of La Tremblade

Visit the beach and port at La Tremblade, and explore the sand dunes

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Marais Poitevin

photo of Marais Poitevin

The Marais-Poitevin is a region of canals and marshes, an unusual environment best explored by boat

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photo of Marans

Marans is a small town with a pretty section along the river in the town

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photo of Meschers-sur-Gironde

The beaches and rocky coast attract visitors to Meschers, and you can also see troglodyte cave dwellings

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photo of Mornac-sur-Seudre

Not far from Royan the centre of Mornac-sur-Seudre is attractive and very pleasant to stroll around

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photo of Pons

Pons is a quiet small town overlooked by a castle tower that is a pleasant place for a stroll

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photo of Rochefort

Rochefort is an attractive 18th century town with a famous corderie, where ropes and ships were made

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photo of Ronce-les-Bains

Ronce-les-Bains is a long established resort with several beaches nearby, and an important centre for mussel farming

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photo of Royan

At Royan you will enjoy the beaches and also the promenade along the seafront

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Saint-Jean d'Angely

photo of Saint-Jean d'Angely

The historic centre of Saint-Jean d'Angely has several notable monuments including the abbey church and some medieval houses

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photo of Saint-Martin-de-Re

On the north coast of Ile-de-Ré, the village of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is very pretty and has an attractive port

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photo of Saint-Savinien

In an attractive setting on the banks of the Charente River, Saint-Savinien also has a few historic sites of interest

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photo of Saintes

The town of Saintes is very interesting, with an extensive old-town to explore and a Roman amphitheatre

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photo of Surgeres

It is the cluster of monuments in the park in the centre of Surgeres that are the principal attraction in the town

See guide


photo of Talmont

Talmont-sur-Gironde is one of the prettiest villages in Charente-Maritime, well known for the imposing roman style church

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For more information see the Charente-Maritime guide


Market towns & days in Charente-Maritime

all markets in morning unless otherwise stated

Ars-en-Re: Tuesday
Ars-en-Re: every day except Tuesday (high season only)
Arvert: Wednesday & Saturday
Aulnay: Sunday
Aytre: Friday
Bourcefranc-le-Chapus: Wednesday (high season only)
Bourcefranc-le-Chapus: Sunday
Breuillet: Thursday & Sunday
Chatelaillon-Plage: Tuesday & Friday &
Courcon: Wednesday
Cozes: Wednesday
Dolus-d'Oleron: every day except Wednesday & Thursday (high season only)
Echillais: Wednesday
Fouras: Tuesday & Friday
Jonzac: Tuesday & Saturday
La Bree-les-Bains: every day (high season only)
La Couarde-sur-Mer: every day (high season only)
La Rochelle: every day
La Tremblade: every day except Tuesday
Le Bois-Plage-en-Re: every day
Le Chateau-d'Oleron: every day (high season only)
Les Mathes: every day except Monday
Marans: Tuesday
Matha: Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
Meschers-sur-Gironde: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (high season only)
Montendre: Thursday
Pons: Wednesday and Saturday
Rivedoux Plage: Monday and Friday
Rochefort: Tuesday and Thurday
Royan: every day except Monday
Saint Denis d'Oleron: Monday
Saint Georges de Didonne: all days exc. Thursday (high season only)
Saint Georges de Didonne: Sunday and Monday
Saint Marie de Ré: every day
Saint Pierre d'Oleron: every day
Saintes: every day except Monday
Saujon: every day except Monday and Friday
Surgeres: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Vaux sur Mer: Monday
Vaux sur Mer: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday (high season only)

Tourist attractions to visit in Charente-Maritime

The following sites have received official "tourist classifications"...

Zoo or wildlife park

Zoo de la Palmyre

4* Towns in Bloom

Marans: Tourist guide

Royan: Tourist guide

Saintes: Tourist guide

Towns of Art and History

Rochefort: Tourist guide

Royan: Tourist guide

Saintes: Tourist guide

Secteur Sauvegardé (protected historical town centre)

La Rochelle: Tourist guide

Saintes: Tourist guide

Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'

Jardins de la Boirie

Jardins du phare de Chassiron

La Roche Courbon

Parcs et jardins du château de Beaulon

Religious Monuments

Abbaye aux Dames de Saintes (Saintes)

Abbaye de Fontdouce (Saint-Bris-des-Bois)

Eglise de Genouillé (Genouille)

Eglise de Saint Germain (Varaize)

Eglise de Saint Pierre et eglise de Saint Hérie (Matha)

Eglise de Saint Vivien (Bagnizeau)

Eglise de Saint-Brice (Saint-Mande-sur-Bredoire)

Eglise de Saint-Pierre (Dampierre-sur-Boutonne)

Eglise de Saint-Savinien (Fenioux)

Towns classified as Recommended Detours

Jonzac: Tourist guide

Villages classified as "most beautiful villages"

Ars-en-Re: Tourist guide

La Flotte-en-Re: Tourist guide

Mornac-sur-Seudre: Tourist guide

Talmont: Tourist guide

UNESCO world heritage sites

Aulnay église St Pierre (monuments on French pilgrim routes)

Pons ancien hopital des pèlerins (monuments on French pilgrim routes)

Saint-Jean-d'Angély, abbaye royale (monuments on French pilgrim routes)

Saint-Martin-de-Ré citadelle (Vauban fortifications): Tourist guide

Saintes basilique St Eutrope (monuments on French pilgrim routes): Tourist guide

Grand Sites of France

Brouage Fortifications: Tourist guide


Aquarium de La Rochelle: Tourist guide