Drive, or cycle, across to Île d’ Oléron – the largest island on the French Atlantic coast – and explore its colourful fishing villages. Motor down to the historic port of La Rochelle and take a boat trip around Fort Boyard (of tv game show fame), you can’t land, but you can get close. Spend a day in brilliant Bordeaux with its gothic Cathédrale Saint-André and futuristic Cité du Vin. Escape, to another world, at the stunning Bassin d’Arcachon.
Camping Holidays in Gironde & Charente-Maritime
At a Glance
Culture vultures, beautiful people, outdoor types, sun worshipers and peace lovers are all guaranteed the perfect camping holiday on France’s west coast.
The Charente-Maritime stretches from La Rochelle down to Royan and beyond, encompassing the ever popular Île de Ré and the Île d’ Oléron. Catch the little car ferry across the Royan estuary (or drive the long way around) and you’ll discover a land of vineyards and pine forests, not to mention wide open beaches. And talking of beaches, how about the Dune du Pilat – the highest sand dune in Europe! Step away from the coast and discover the wine city of Bordeaux, naturally visiting a wine cellar or two to sample the famous regional wines.
Loose yourself in endless golden beaches and wide open horizons, and then meander through peaceful villages surrounded by vineyards. Fly like a bird as you kite surf at Lac Hourtin-Carcans, and peddle away along pine scented forest paths, or challenge yourself on the 480km long Tour de Gironde. Unwind, relax and drink in the local culture along the 86km Medoc Castles Route, its the wine lover’s equivalent of Route 66!
Ah, the food! Where to begin? And when to stop? The region is bursting with delicious fresh food and fine wines – from tender steaks in Bordeaux wine sauce, to wonderful cheeses. Top of the list must be the freshest oysters from the oyster capital, Cap Ferret. The Arcachon Bay produces over 10,000 tons of oysters every year, so don’t worry, there’ll be plenty to go round! And what better way to wash them down than with a glass of Pauillac, or Saint Julien?
Two miles long and 374 feet tall (and still growing), this is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It’s the ideal location for taking in the view of the coast and the pine forests. And when you’ve had your fill, hop onto your body board and surf back down.
This elegant city boasts some wonderful architecture – the whole of the centre is a World Heritage Site. Visit the Triangle d’Or for its top end shops and great restaurants, but don’t miss the iconic Water Mirror – covering a massive 3,450 m², it even has an artificial fog!
Spend a fascinating (and delicious) day among more than 600 square miles of vineyards, home to some of the most prestigious chateaux in the world, including Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Margaux.
Sheltered by the Île de Ré, La Rochelle has a bustling old port guarded by two massive towers and great seafood restaurants. The old town centre is full of stately historic landmarks like the Hôtel-de-Ville. Don't miss the Aquarium, the Musée Maritime and the Tour de la Lanterne lighthouse.
Take your pick from two lovely islands lying just off the coast. Both the Île de Ré and the Île d’ Oléron offer gorgeous family friendly beaches and are perfect for cycling; on the Île d’ Oléron there’s more than 160 km of cycle paths alone! No boats required - there are bridges to the islands.