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Royan - City Gems and beaches

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Oct 20, 2022

Royan – discover the main city of the beauty coast and enjoy good times with your family

Royan – is a pretty town located on the coast of beauty, in Charente Maritime. It is part of a community of municipalities, is a well-known family seaside resort.

The town is known for its long beach, the Grande Conche de Royan, along which there are houses with remarkable architecture. Royan is located at the entrance to the Gironde estuary. It is a well-known family seaside resort.

Royan was partially destroyed during the Second World War, but there are still interesting houses for their architecture. The reconstructions of the 50s are now known.

Various districts of Royan are remarkable: the district of the markets, and all the trade; the waterfront, where you can find many restaurants; The park district, calm and relaxing, with the Grande Conche nearby, and the well-known Pontaillac district.

The districts and monuments of Royan

The Pontaillac district

Pontaillac located in Royan is one of the districts of the city of Royan which is between the central city of Royan and the city of Vaux Sur Mer. In the district, you will have the beaches of Pontaillac in Royan and is considered a beach for families which is also a possibility to go surfing. It is one of Royan’s best-known surf spots. However, Pontaillac is also famous for its casino, which is located in the middle of Pontaillac beach in Royan, with its feet in the sand. The promenade has been renovated and restaurants and bars with terraces are located near the beach.

Cordouan lighthouse

The lighthouse is located in the town of Verdon sur Mer, not far from Royan, at the entrance to the Gironde estuary, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, in Charente Maritime, opposite the beautiful wild coast and from Pointe de Grave. It is the oldest lighthouse in France still in operation, a monument of the past which is part of the French State, which entrusts its maintenance.

It is located on the cliffs of Cordouan It is located on the rugged plateau of Cordouan which is more than 6 km from the coast located on the property of the municipality of Verdon sur Mer, in the department of Gironde.

It is now 68 meters high and is the most visible landmark of the Gironde estuary. Its diameter is 16 meters, and it is one of the ten most impressive lighthouses in the world. It is white and built of limestone. It is located in Saintonge and along the Charente coast.

The Church Notre Dame of Royan


The Notre Dame de Royan church is a church located in Royan in Charente Maritime, on the coast of beauty.

It is distinguished by its elliptical shape, 45 m long. It is easy to recognize because it is compared to ships. It is also distinguished by its modern style, with the widespread use of raw concrete.

It is located right next to the site of the old neo-Gothic Notre-Dame church built in 1874. It was destroyed during the bombings of 1945.

After the Second World War, the architect Guillaume Gillet was chosen to build the new church with two engineers, Bernard Lafaille and René Sarget.

Royan Convention Center

The Palais des Congrès de Royan is one of the most important monuments on the Royan seafront. It has been listed as a Historic Monument since 2011. The architect Claude Ferret designed the Palais des Congrès. The architect was assisted by Pierre Marmouget and André Courtois.

The Palais des Congrès is located on the seafront, right in the middle of Foncillon beach located between Pointe du Chay and the port of Royan (boating and fishing) near the Royan ferry, which spans the estuary of the Gironde, which connects the Pointe de la Grave, and the Ferris wheel.

The Palais des Congrès was built in the 1950s, from 1954 to 1957. It was renovated in the 1970s under the direction of architects Marc Quentin and Michel Legrand. The new stairwell fresco was commissioned from artist Nadu Marsaudon in 1977.

The monument has a reinforced concrete cubist shape and also has stairs outside of an oblique shape. The glass wall in place was built in the 1970s. A cube with a transparent surface was added at the same time.

Royan market


The central market of Royan is an extremely well-known place in Royan in Charente Maritime and renowned for its architecture, its past and the fresh products it offers. The market is open all year round and you can be surprised by the architecture of the 50s.

It is possible to get lost for a few minutes on foot in this lively district, especially in the alleys, where the vendors are located. You can have a coffee in the surrounding area or go shopping along Aristide Briand Boulevard. The central market is located at 72 rue Pierre Loti, in the center of the city and close to the seafront.

Planet Exotica


Planet Exotica or Exotic Planet in Royan is a zoological and botanical garden, which is an animal park with exotic animals, according to the official website which is located in Royan in Charente Maritime, not far from the stadium, the swimming pool and the train station. The park extends over more than 7 hectares and was created following a development plan that was initiated by the Pousseau marshes.

The park was once known as the “Gardens of the World”. It is home to over 250 species of reptiles and a wide variety of plants. The park is made up of different areas, each with its own theme like the Reptile Greenhouse, Dinosaur Park and Indian Village as well as the Garden and Plants and Mini Farm. There are also the outdoor and indoor spaces for the children and the museum, the collections, as well as the laboratory and the nurseries.

Planet Exotica in Royan is the ideal park to visit as parents of young children. It is an excellent alternative to the long hours spent on the Grande Conche beach or on the beaches of the wild coast. It is also a good alternative to La Palmyre Zoo. Educational programs are held throughout the day, and a fast-food area provides on-site dining.

To find out more, do not hesitate to consult the site of the park as well as that of its partner institutions. The park is accessible every day from February to December.

Things to see in Planet Exotica


The park has three areas dedicated to the study of animals including the area of ​​amphibians and reptiles as well as the areas of invertebrates and insects and the area of ​​mammals.

Both areas are indoors and offer the opportunity to observe and learn about the best known and strangest animals. The Mammal Zone is located outside and allows you to explore Planet Exotica in a new light.

The spaces dedicated to plants at Planet Exotica are diverse. There are many spaces to explore: the Japanese garden; the desert garden; the bamboo maze; the tropical greenhouse; etc… Nature lovers are sure to explore!

The dinosaur park is located outside, near the animal park and the plant area (Japanese garden). There are many fake dinosaurs (be careful not to scratch them) of almost real size that will delight young and old alike. The Indian Village is located outdoors, opposite the animal areas. In addition to the tippies, you can also watch the horse show during the season. The park also has a nursery where you can observe the animals that have just been born. Great fun for kids and adults too.

The park has two areas for children: an indoor area and an outdoor area. Both will entertain children, whether through indoor games or the outdoor trampoline.

The Beaches of Royan

Discover the Royan Beaches on the Conches beauty coast, coves, long sandy beaches, hidden beaches. This section will make you discover the most beautiful beaches of Royan and its surroundings. Here’s what you’ll find there:

The long sandy beaches

The best known beach is that of Grande Conche in the town of Royan. St Georges de Didonne beach is also a long sandy beach which is suitable for families.

Grande Conche Beach

Royan beach called Grande conche beach is located in Royan, in Charente Maritime, and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the city for families. There are many beach activities such as sand yachting, for example… Grande Conche beach stretches for 2600 meters, and in high season there is room for everyone.

It is the ideal place to relax and sunbathe, alone or with family. It is easy to get there in the city of Royan by walking or by parking in the many car parks nearby.

From the beach, you can walk to St Georges de Didonne, and relax on its family beach. You can also walk to Royan town center and go shopping or enjoy an alcoholic drink. You can also go to Meschers sur Gironde.

The beach of Saint Georges de Didonne

St Georges de Didonne Beach is a long sandy beach located in Saint Georges de Didonne, in Charente Maritime, on the beauty coast. This beach is perfect for families. There are not many waves. It is perfect for children who are young. There is the possibility of practicing sailing sports and water sports. On the beach, you can have aid stations and toilets. Also, in the immediate vicinity, you will find the St Georges nautical club, a carousel and shops (ice cream bars, restaurant bars, etc.)

The shoreline of Saint Georges de Didonne extends from the Pointe de Suzac, with the old tree climbing, located near the parks of the estuary and in the center of the sea near the lighthouse of Vallieres and the marina of Saint Georges.

The beaches north of Royan

Further north, there are small conches – beaches framed by cliffs and rocks such as Foncillon beach, Chay beach, Pontaillac beach, Nauzan beach as well as Offices beach located in St Palais sur Mer .

Pontaillac beach in Royan

Pontaillac beach is an excellent fine sandy beach 400 meters long. It is frequented and admired by locals and tourists alike. It is located in the commune of Pontaillac located just north of the town of Royan and is within the boundaries of the commune of Vaux Sur Mer.

It is located in an urban area including the Casino de Royan and two catering establishments located in its central part and on either side of the houses with impressive architecture and the rocks that form the cliffs. It is possible to swim in the area, bathing being supervised during the months of July and August. But it is also possible to try your hand at bodyboarding or surfing, the place being recognized by surfers as a place of refuge in the event of big waves. The promenade which runs along the coast of Pontaillac has been renovated and offers a spectacular view of the region.

There’s also a kids’ club as well as a sailing and surfing club, and loungers are available to rent during the season. There is also a petanque court to the west. Across the road is an 18 hole mini golf course.
On the opposite part of the road, which runs along the beach, you can walk and enjoy the terraces of restaurants, bars and ice cream parlors. Please note that animals are not allowed. It is easy to reach the seafront of Royan from the beach of Pontaillac or Vaux Sur Mer.

Nauzan Beach


Nauzan beach in Vaux sur Mer is located along the beautiful coastline of Charente Maritime, also called Vaux sur Mer beach is located in the towns of Vaux sur Mer and Saint Palais sur Mer. It is the most long and widest in the town of Vaux sur Mer.

It is a family beach which is very popular during the summer months. It is actually an uninhabited cove that is surrounded by rocky cliffs.

It is famous for its waves and the surfers are numerous when the swell becomes too important on this wild coast. The beach is supervised during the season and also has a sailing school. In addition, the left part of the beach is reserved for activities on the water. An activity for children is also planned during the high season.

The beach also has a promenade, where night markets and concerts are held. On the beach, you can discover the famous restaurant and bar “la maison blanche”, appreciated for its festive atmosphere. Les Conches is surrounded by a footpath which was previously the customs road.

Beach of Saint Palais sur Mer

The beaches of Saint-Palais sur Mer on the beach of splendor located in Charente Maritime, also called the beach of the office is located in the center of the city, it is recognized for its perfect place for shopping, leisure and shopping , but also for its landscape of cliffs, rocks, and amazing houses, impressive for their architecture, which dates back to the Belle Epoque in the majority.

The beach is a beautiful sandy beach which is supervised during the summer months and offers all the facilities accessible to the disabled: showers, toilets, swimming pool and children’s club, for example… However, dogs are not allowed and water sports are not permitted.

Close to the office beach are the Platin beach and the Devil’s Bridge, but also the Concie beach, also called the immense coast. You will have a great time with your family at the beach of Saint Palais sur Mer.

The beaches of the wild coast

Then there are the beaches of the Grande Cote: the long beaches, which are more vulnerable to the elements and the swell. To the north are the shores of the wild coast where swimming can be more risky.

The wild coast is the part of the coast which starts from the Pointe de la Coubre, near the limit of the municipality of Les Mathes La Palmyre and which extends and continues to the tip of Spain, near the town Ronce les Bains, in the town of La Tremblade.

This coastline is made up of a beach whose length extends over 20 kilometers, and in the background, many dunes as well as the immense forests of La Coubre.

The wild coast is at the western end of the Arvert peninsula, which makes it more vulnerable to swells and sea currents. It is a popular place for windsurfing and kite surfing. It is important to mention that the wild coast is a dangerous area, especially for swimming which is not recommended as well as for surfing, such as the beach near the La Coubre lighthouse.

The sandy beach that runs north to south along the coast of beauty is divided into numbered sections and is located about 15 kilometers north of the town of Royan. It is accessible by the cities of Ronce les Bains, La Tremblade and also Saint Palais sur Mer or Vaux sur Mer. In the cities of Meschers sur Gironde, or Saint Georges de Didonne, the journey will be a little longer, especially in high season , when there is tourist abundance.

To go to the coast in its wild state, it is possible to use the cycle path which crosses the Coubre forest and runs along the coast, or to take advantage of the departmental road 25, which offers many views of the coast.

The wild coast

In reality, we should talk about the beach of the wild coast because the beach extends over more than 20 kilometers between the town of La Palmyre and the town of Ronce-les-Bains.

The beautiful beach is segmented into sections, which are numbered, making it easy to find. The beaches are well known to locals for their distinct features. For example, beach 46 has a parking area and is easily accessible by the dune. You don’t need to travel far. 46 is also known to be a popular surf spot, as is 44.

You can reach the beaches of the wild coast from the towns of Ronce les Bains, La Tremblade and Saint Palais sur Mer or Vaux sur Mer. If you leave from the town of Meschers sur Gironde, or Saint Georges de Didonne, you will have a little more travel time, and in the height of summer with tourists, it can take a little longer.

The Wild Coast is set in the ocean and is not protected by islands or the entrance to the estuary like other Ryan beaches. It is therefore subject to currents and swells.

It is therefore a place renowned for the practice of windsurfing, kite surfing or windsurfing (to a lesser degree).

Be aware that swimming on the wild beaches of the coast can be risky due to the current and the waves.

South of  Royan – The beaches of the Gironde estuary

To the south, the beaches of the Gironde estuary are also located between troglodyte caves and cliffs, ideal for families.

The Gironde estuary is an estuary located in the south-west of France and constitutes the dividing line between two departments which are Charente Maritime in the north and Gironde in the south. The Gironde estuary shares a common border with two rivers which are the Garonne and the Dordogne. The banks of the Gironde have a rich and varied history and constitute an important heritage, in particular historic buildings and sites and preserved natural areas. However, the estuary is alive, thanks to fishing activities and the transport of boats in the port of Bordeaux and tourist activities such as beach and pleasure boats…

Nuns beach

Nonnes beach is one of the most famous beaches in Meschers. It is located between the beaches of Les Vergnes and the Conque de Cadet and has a sailing center as well as two bar-restaurants, including the famous Bikki Beach which was previously Tina’s Cafe. There are also nautical activities, including the circle of the sea of ​​Meschers.

Around Plage des Nonnes, we find Plage des Vergnes, and the smaller Plage de l’Arneche, as well as Anse de Cadet, where legend has it that Cadet was a pirate who was able to lure ships onto the rocks to steal their treasures.

A few minutes from the beach it is also possible to visit the center of the town which is centered around the local church of Meschers in which you can find the market as well as some shops and restaurants within walking distance. The place is very lively during the summer months.

From the church, it is easy to get to the port of Meschers and also to climb the cliffs of Meschers to find the famous carrelets. Nearby is the Plage des Nonnes as well as the Plage des Vergnes and the small Plage de l’Arneche.

Arneche beach

Arneche Beach is located near the coastal road that crosses the Gironde estuary between Meschers and Sainte Georges. It is a small cove, and access is not easy.

The beach is a tiny sandy beach, set in a cove that is surrounded by the limestone forest cliffs that are typical of the shores of the Gironde estuary.

It is located near Vergnes beach and Suzac beach, at the end of the Suzac forest.

Near this cove, you will discover the famous beach of Suzac. If you head towards Meschers, you will find Plage des Nonnes and its famous bikki beach as well as Anse Cadet which is literally surrounded by soaring cliffs.

The path to the beach is not easy, but you can get there by an uphill path, and you have to climb the steps to access the sandy beach or the rocks.

Cities near Royan

La Palmyre

La Palmyre near St Palais sur Mer is a tourist area that is part of the municipality of Mathes- La Palmyre is located in Charente Maritime, north of Royan and at the entrance to the forest of La Coubre.

In summer, it is a very lively region, which benefits from an ideal position in the bay of Bonne Anse, at the beginning of the wild coast and its long sandy beaches renowned for their waves. La Palmyre is also the ideal place to start mountain biking in the forests of La Coubre.

It is possible to visit the zoo of La Palmyre, but also to take advantage of the leisure facilities: the golf course of La Palmyre, the nautical club, the beach, etc…

From La Palmyre, you are a few minutes from St Palais sur Mer, Pontaillac, Royan as well as the towns of St Georges de Didonne, Meschers sur Gironde, Talmont and the Gironde estuary.

Nearby is the famous lighthouse of La Coubre, easily accessible by bike – taking the cycle path towards Ronce-les-Bains which crosses the coast and the forest area of ​​La Coubre -, or by car, with the possibility of park in the parking lot provided for this purpose. La Coubre lighthouse, you can visit the museum and then relax on the nearby beach.

La Palmyre zoo near Royan is an animal park located in Charente Maritime.

The zoo of La Palmyre is located in the municipality of Mathes, and more precisely in the district (the city) of La Palmyre, between the municipalities of Saint Palais sur Mer and the city of La Tremblade.

From Royan, you can take the coastal road then cross Pontaillac, Vaux sur Mer and Saint Palais sur Mer then the D25 and choose the D25 G which bypasses the town of Royan.

When you arrive on the island of Oléron, La Tremblade, or Ronce-les-bains, you can take the coastal road which follows the wild coast and crosses the forest of La Coubre.

There are two large car parks near the zoo: the first is located near La Palmyre and the second near Saint Palais sur Mer. Parking is free.

The zoo is home to over 1,600 animals of 110 species, including 28 primates. The zoo boasts over 200 births a year. You can see reptiles, mammals and birds. It is difficult to describe all the species of animals you can see, but we will mention the Poitou alpaca and monkey, the American bison and the cheetah, as well as the western lowland gorilla, the hippopotamus, lynx and wild dog, and so on…

Among the avifauna, let’s not forget the macaw, the ostrich, the cockatoo, the stork, the crane, the flamingo, the ibis, the Cape penguin, etc…

In the reptiles section we will mention the boa constrictor as well as the green anaconda, the Nile crocodile, the green iguana, the royal python…

La Palmyre an ideal place to take parents with young children. It is a pleasant alternative to spend a long time on the beaches of Grande Conche or on the beaches of the wild coast. It is also a great addition to the Planet Exotica park. Educational activities are planned throughout the day and fast food establishments allow customers to eat on site.

To find out more, do not hesitate to visit the park’s website or one of its partners in the establishment.

La Palmyre Zoo is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. the zoo is open all year round, including public holidays.

In 2022, to go to La Palmyre zoo near Royan, the cost is 19 euros for an adult and 15 euros for children aged three to twelve. Free for children under three years old


St Palais Sur Mer is a charming town on the water’s edge, with a view of the famous Cordouan lighthouse, and ideally located between Royan, Pontaillac, Vaux-Sur-Mer and La Tremblade, Ronce-les-Bains. From St Palais Sur Mer, you can easily access the wild beaches of the coast, and relax on the natural beaches as well as on the waves of the ocean.

The town of Saint Palais sur Mer is distinguished by its typical houses preserved from the Second World War, as well as by its quiet and wooded districts. It is endowed with small lively town centers in summer and is located near the beach which is the ideal place for the office.



Vaux sur Mer is a small coastal town located between Royan and more precisely Pontaillac and St Palais Sur Mer. It is located at the end of the Gironde estuary, in the “cote de beauté” and has many beaches which are extremely popular in summer and some of them are popular as surf spots.

You can walk along the coast by taking the coastal path, or the Vélodyssée. There is also the market, which is located on Place François-Courtot every Tuesday and Saturday in low season and all day in August and July.


The town of Meschers is famous for its spectacular cliffs and troglodyte caves; its small beaches typical of the region, and its lifestyle for families. Gateway to the Gironde estuary in France, the coast of beauty, near Royan, St Palais Sur Mer, and ideally located a few streets from Talmont sur Gironde, and Saint-Georges-de-Didonne , you can enjoy its small beaches framed by the cliffs, its family amusement park, its small daily market in summer… But don’t leave before you have visited the carrelets, small cabins affixed to the cliffs and spanning the Gironde estuary, which were once used for fishing.

Talmont Sur Gironde

Talmont sur Gironde is a village located on the right bank of the Gironde estuary, near the towns of Meschers sur Gironde and St Georges de Didonne. It is remarkable because it is located on a peninsula. It was once a “walled” city. It is a pleasure to stroll through the streets lined with hollyhocks.

You will be able to enjoy the small typical port which overlooks the residence of the customs officers but also the Ste Radegonde church which dominates the Gironde estuary and the cemetery which is full of hollyhocks in season.

Talmont sur Gironde is an ideal place for a relaxing holiday, and also an entry point to explore the Gironde estuary and discover small villages like Mortagne sur Gironde, or visit the fortress of Blaye.


Locations de vacances près de la Plage

Royan, est une jolie petite ville du sud ouest de la France qui borde l’atlantique. Elle est située à l’entrée de l’estuaire de la Gironde, et entourée de stations balnéaires

Photos de Royan

Around Royan

Suzac beach in Meschers Sur Gironde

Suzac Beach at Saint Georges de Didonne- Discover Suzac Beach , and enjoy a nice walk and the nice surroundings by the sea

Vallières Lighthouse at Saint Georges de Didonne

Discover the nice beach of St Georges de Didonne

Louis Simon Art Gallery in Royan

The Louis Simon art gallery  (former Royan bus station) is an art gallery located on Boulevard de l’Europe in Royan, between the seafront and the train station.