Visit of Château-d’Oléron
At the entrance of the island, facing the continent and the nature reserve of Moëze-Oléron, take advantage of the camping at Château d’Oléron to visit an important oyster port of the Marennes basin. The ancient city fortified by Vauban, a major stake during the wars of religion, became the residence of the governors of Oleron under Richelieu. It is at this period that its citadelle Vauban was built, on the site of the castle of the Dukes of Aquitaine. The oyster farming, already practiced in the 17th century, experienced a real boom in the basin during the 19th century, with the beginning of the maturing in “claire”.
The citadel of Château-d’Oléron
Not to be missed on the Ile d’Oléron, the citadel has a star structure which can be seen in particular through a flying over the island by plane.
Built at the initiative of Richelieu in 1630, it will then be enlarged and fortified under the orders of Vauban until 1700. The citadel of Château-d’Oléron is part of a set of fortifications on the Charente coast intended to protect the arsenal of Rochefort. In the 20th century, it was used as a prison until the Second World War. Bombarded by enemy armies, it remained abandoned for a long time before being restored and opened to visitors.
The site can be freely discovered and offers beautiful viewpoints on the pertuis charentais, the oyster port and the bridge of the island. Some temporary exhibitions are to be discovered in the arsenal and in the powder magazine. The visit of the citadel is integrated in a pleasant discovery circuit proposed by the tourist office through Château-d’Oléron, from the alleys of its historic center to the fortifications through the oyster port and pleasure port. It is also possible to enjoy guided tours during school vacations and night tours with theatrical historical visits in July and August.
Stroll on the port
Important oyster transit site since the 17th century, Château-d’Oléron is, today, one of the oyster ports unavoidable in the Marennes-Oléron basin. D’ancient salt marshes were transformed in the 19th century into refining basins for clear oysters which owe their particular taste and their unique tint to the blue navicule, a microscopic algae.
The oyster farmers of Château-d’Oléron are present on the port and on the channel of Ors, inside the citadel itself. Longest oyster channel of the island with its 1 500 meters, it is bordered by colored oyster beds which form a picturesque scenery. Several of them house the workshops of creators in various artistic and craft trades: cutlery, painting and sculpture, ironwork, ceramics or woodwork. A real artists’ village that opens its doors to the public along the water.
Swimming in Château-d’Oléron
In the preserved environment of the Moëze-Oléron reserve, the beach of the citadel is family oriented and appreciated by parents of young children for its low waves and the absence of dangerous currents. Fishing is forbidden.
Nearby, the water level of the Phibie offers a salt water bathing area that can be used even at low tide, accessible to people with reduced mobility thanks to a tiralo and a duckboard path built on the sand.
In summer, swimming is supervised from the end of the morning to the end of the day.
Visit Château-d’Oléron by tourist train
Ideal way to treat yourself to a family walk and discover the essential sites of the city, the little train of the Castle takes you to the citadel, its fortified gates and ramparts, the picturesque streets of the historic center, and the oyster port. In all, a 5-kilometer circuit is covered in about 35 minutes, with fascinating commentaries punctuated with historical anecdotes.
Strolling through the market
Around the covered market, the streets of Château-d’Oléron come alive every day in summer and from Tuesday to Saturday the rest of the year, a market of products of the soil.
On Sundays, the event is enlarged by a fairground market. To stroll in the evening, there is nothing like the night markets of Château-d’Oléron, on Wednesday in the streets of the city center and on Friday on the port.
During your vacations in Pays Marennes-Oléron, on the Atlantic coast, don’t miss the visits of Saint-Georges-d’Oléron, Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron, Dolus-d’Oléron, Saint-Trojan-les-Bains, Fort Boyard, and strolls on the bicycle paths along the Atlantic Ocean and the fine sandy beaches.