Posts Tagged With: Atlantic coast

Unexpected find

During our drive along the Atlantic coast, and after we had visited the dunes of La Coubre, we happened upon a small fun fair in Ronce-les-Bains. Unfortunately we got there just at closing time, so weren’t able to do much other than to admire the ferris wheel.

Grande Roue De Ronce-Les-Bains

Grande Roue De Ronce-Les-Bains

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Phare de La Coubre – great sunset by the lighthouse

Phare de La Coubre

This is the Phare de La Coubre, the lighthouse that sits on the northern end of the Gironde Estuary in the Charente Maritime in France.

To get here, you have to drive/cycle/walk through the La Coubre forest, which runs along the coast. We arrived at the dunes in the eveing as the sun was setting over the Atlantic. We took a path through the forest which eventually led to a rather steep dune (walking uphill in sand was much harder than I remembered!). Once on the top though, we had a wonderful view!

I have since found out that you can actually climb up to the lighthouse for a small fee, in return you get 300 steps to climb! For opening hours and entry fees visit the lighthouse website.

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The carrelets of the Charente Maritime

The carrelets of the Charente Maritime

All along the Atlantic coast of the Charente Martime in France you come across these “sheds on stilts” with square nets hanging off them. These are the carrelets locals use to catch anything that happens to pass by. Their distinctive spidery appearance is due to the timber poles having to be tall enough to account for the highest spring tides and any other sea conditions that may occur.

The current design dates back to just after WWI, prior to this round smaller nets were used. Over the years a large number of them had to be reconstructed due to storms taking their toll on them. There was a period when the carrelets were considered an eyesore; in the way of people’s enjoyment of “unspoilt” nature, however, this tide of opinion has turned and the surviving carrelets are now valued as part of the areas heritage.

As ever in France, there is a lot of red tape around these structures. Firstly, the number and location of these are tightly controlled; secondly, you don’t actually own the carrelet, instead you rent it from the state for an annual fee and any reconstruction is at your cost. There are a lot of hoops to jump through if you want to build a new carrelet in place of a previously demolished structure, which again, you will not own, but the cost of building is yours to bear! There are regulations with regards to size, shape, materials to be used and even colour.


We found these wonderful structures on our drive along the coast north from Royan to the La Coubre lighthouse and I was lucky enough that we had a wonderful sunset that evening.


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Royan – a beautiful seaside town

Our trip to France started in Royan, a seaside town just 1.5 hours drive north of Bordeaux. Royan sits on France’s Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Gironde estuary and has a population of just under 20,000. We visited in September, and while there were still tourists in town, it was not as busy as I am sure it must be in the height of the summer months. Our hotel, the Brit Hermitage, was a wonderful little place that served a really great breakfast. Sitting right by the water it was the perfect base for us.

We had been to Royan before, on a day trip, so we were excited to be back for longer this time around. We couldn’t wait to get to the beach, living in Alberta, where the nearest coast is a 12 hour drive away, it was the number one priority for us. It did not disappoint!

The photos below are from our walk along the main beach, La Grande Conche, which, aside from the beach, showcases a number of different architectual styles, from traditional to modern, and everything in between.

La Grande Conche, Royan, France

Royan’s harbour

Looking back at the harbour from La Grande Conche

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