About a 40 minute drive along the coast south of Royan is the beautiful village of Talmont-sur-Gironde. Talmont used to be an island and in the Middle Ages was a citadel, today it is a peninsula where no cars are allowed, with the exceptions of some locals who navigate the small winding roads with care.
As a visitor you are required to park your car in the visitors car park for a fee (€3 at time of writing) and then walk across to the entry of the village. We went for a day trip, but Talmont does have some small hotels/B&Bs for an overnight (or longer) stay.
As you enter the village look out for some of the original ramparts, which were built in 1284 on the orders of King Edward I.
The most striking view is that of the church of St. Radegonde, a Romanesque church built in the 12th century by the monks of the abbey of Saint-Jean-d’Angely. The inside of the church is as imposing as the outside.
We walked along the outer edge of the village before we slowly made our way down the wonderful narrow roads. Around each corner a pretty view could be found with traditional houses, shutters, and wonderful flowers and gardens.
There are a number of cafes and restaurants as well as gift shops, artisan workshops and galleries, catering to almost every taste. Additionally, the fact that the village juts out into the Gironde estuary means that you should be able to enjoy the views of some wildlife; we were lucky enough to see a white egret and a kingfisher, plus a few crabs.
Be aware, as always, that this village can get very busy during the height of summer, so either travel outside of July and August (we went in September), or plan to be there early in the morning to beat the crowds.