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Royan is a port city and seaside resort in Charente-Maritime, southwestern France. It's along with La Baule, Arcachon and Biarritz one of the most famous resorts on the French Atlantic coast.

Understand[edit]

View of the harbour and the modernist church Notre-Dame.

Regarded as the capital city of the Côte de Beauté, Royan is at the Arvert peninsula at the mouth of the Gironde river estuary, the largest estuary in western Europe (and the largest in Europe left in its natural state). Royan has been a popular destination since the 19th century. Although the town was bombed several times during WWII it was quickly rebuilt in the 1950s in modernist style with tropical influences, and for this it received the status of Ville d'Art et d'Histoire (Town of Art and History) in 2010. Some notable buildings include the massive conctrete Notre Dame Cathedral and shell-shaped central market. Due to its architecture it's also nicknamed France's most 1950's town, though it still has some traces from the time from before the war.

The town has around 18000 inhabitants, and is at the heart of an important conurbation with a population of almost 50000 inhabitants. That conurbation also includes the resorts of Vaux-sur-Mer, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, Meschers-sur-Gironde and La Palmyre with its famous zoo, as well as the spa town of Saujon.

Royan is about more than just the town, it features five beaches with fine sand. Royan directly faces the wine region of Médoc and is in the middle of the Cognac region so it's also a destination for wine and cognac enthusiasts. Three green "lungs" surround the town – the State forest of Coubre and the forests of Combots d’Ansoine and Suzac – these pine forests are a continuation of the Landes de Gascogne opposite the river. The coastline of Coubre is known as the "wild coast" because of its great swell and waves and is popular with surfers. The Seudre estuary to the northwest of Royan is known for its oyster farms, whereas the southeast of town is agricultural famous for melons and wine.

Climate[edit]

Royan (France)
Climate chart (explanation)
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
83
 
 
9
3
 
 
 
66
 
 
10
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57
 
 
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46
 
 
24
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57
 
 
22
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82
 
 
18
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92
 
 
13
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82
 
 
9
4
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Source:w:Royan#Climate
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
3.2
 
 
47
38
 
 
 
2.6
 
 
50
39
 
 
 
2.2
 
 
54
42
 
 
 
2.1
 
 
58
45
 
 
 
2.4
 
 
64
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75
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60
 
 
 
2.2
 
 
71
57
 
 
 
3.2
 
 
64
51
 
 
 
3.6
 
 
55
43
 
 
 
3.2
 
 
49
39
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Royan's climate is a mix of oceanic and Mediterranean, and this can be seen in the vegetation too - you can encounter pines and oaks as well as eucalyptus and olive trees.

There are around 2250 hours of sunshine every year, comparable to Perpignan much further south. It rains relatively little, with yearly precipitation rarely exceeding 800 mm, but some years it rains considerably less (especially in summer) leading to droughts. The wind usually comes in from west with warm breezes in the summer, and stronger winds during autumn and winter. The average sea temperature ranges from around +10°C in February to around +20°C in August.

History[edit]

The region has been inhabited since the Neolithic period at least, but the town started developing during the Middle Ages. Aquitaine became part of the English realm through the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II in 1154. The region profited from the trade with the British Isles (especially wine and salt was exported) and from the fee charged from ships going to and from Bordeaux known as the Royan customs. In 1242 during the Saintonge War with France, Henry III landed at Royan with his troops. He was defeated at the Battle of Taillebourg but the region remained in English hands until the end of the Hundred Years War. What was left standing of Royan became controlled by the French in 1451.

Henry III, King of England and Duke of Aquitaine, landing in Royan on 20 May 1242

Under French rule, the town was quickly rebuilt. Warfare took place in the region again during the French Wars of Religion in the latter half of the 16th century. The heavily fortified Royan became dominated by Protestants, rebelled soon again against the national authorties, and in 1622 king Louis XIII personally laid siege to Royan. The town was eventually taken, the rebels were killed and Royan was again razed to the ground to prevent it become a bastion for rebels in the future.

This time it wasn't rebuilt but turned into a sleeping fishing settlement and would remain so for almost two centuries. After the Napoleonic Wars, beach holidays had become a thing in France, first among veterans from the Grande Armée and later among the bourgeois of Bordeaux. Royan got paved roads as early as 1816, and beaches were laid out in 1819. Much thanks to the railway, Royan turned into a full-fledged beach resort during the Second Empire (1852-70) with villas, cafés and casinos being built and numbers of tourists increasing quickly, indeed in 1895 the biggest casino in France was opened here. Royan became the resort of choice for the upper class of Paris, as well as artists and foreign heads of state. The French actor Sacha Guity, painter Pablo Picasso and Soviet refugee Leon Trotsky were some people who spent time in the town.

The Germans invaded the city in 1940 and Royan would become a German stronghold for much of the Second World War. On 5 January 1945 the RAF bombed Royan with 354 planes in two raids. In April 1945 when the area was liberated, the Americans bombed the city from the air and the sea for five days - this was the first time when napalm was used in Europe on a large scale.

After the war, with Royan reduced to ashes once more, architect Claude Ferret was assigned the task of designing a new city. Royan was rebuilt in a modern style with "tropical" influences inspired by the works of Oscar Niemeyer (the architect behind Brasilia). During the 1950s, Royan as it looks like today was built, including some large concrete monuments like the Notre-Dame church. With around 300,000 visitors from all over Europe it's again one of the most popular resorts on the French Atlantic coast. In addition, more than 4000 students, many of them from abroad, study different languages at the Centre d’étude des langues (Carel) and keep the city lively year-round.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The main roads in are the N150 and the D733. The former is considerable busier, coming in from Saintes which is next to the A10 motorway between Paris and Bordeaux. D733 connects to Rochefort and La Rochelle along the coast.

By train[edit]

Gare de Royan, the stop for trains and the regional Cara'Bus buses

Royan is served by a couple of regional express (TER) trains from Angoulême and Niort every day, and intercity trains in the high season.

  • 1 Gare de Royan, 7 place de la Gare. The stop for trains and buses, this station is open every day with the ticket point open roughly between 9:00 and 19:00 with a break around mid-day (the opening times vary slightly every day). Royan (Q3097454) on Wikidata Gare de Royan on Wikipedia

By plane[edit]

In nearby Médis there's an airfield for general aviation. The closest airports with passenger services are La Rochelle-Île de Ré (70 km away, about 1 hour 15 minutes by car) and Bordeaux-Mérignac (100 km, about 1 hour 45 minutes by car).

By boat[edit]

TransGironde ferries sail across Gironde from Le Verdon-sur-Mer. The crossing takes about 20 minutes.

By bus[edit]

Local buses connect from La Rochelle, Rochefort and Saintes. The latter has train connections from for instance Bordeaux and Nantes.

By bike[edit]

The city is on the long-distance biking route EuroVelo 1 between Norway and Portugal. The route comes in from north and goes to the pier and continues by ferry across the river (see by boat above).

By foot[edit]

Long distance hiking route (grande randonnée) GR4 connects Royan with Grasse near Cannes.

Get around[edit]

Map of Royan (France)

By foot[edit]

Many points of interest are around the marina or a few hundred metres away from it and as such walking between them wouldn't take long.

By bus[edit]

Carabus operates local buses with dozens of lines going to the surrounding countryside and a couple in the city. The website has a route map.

Bus tickets (single tickets, valid for one hour from validation €1.40) can be bought in-app, on the bus, and from the vending machine on the railway station. As per the bus operator's website there are also day, 10-trip, 2-week, month and year passes with discounts for minors and seniors, some of which can be bought at sales points around town (in supermarkets and the like), some at the railway station, in-app or on the bus.

By bike[edit]

In the 21st century the city has built a biking route network and has been promoting this form of transport. So biking is also a feasible way for getting around.

By car[edit]

Getting around by car is generally hassle-free but traffic jams are certainly possible in central Royan, around the beaches and in the Pontaillac district from mid-June to mid-September when there's a lot more traffic. There's a bypass, numbered D25 taking you around central Royan.

On the market place and along adjacent streets you need to pay to park, elsewhere you can park for free. There are many large parking lots in the city, for example outside the Notre-Dame and the railway station.

See[edit]

Secular buildings[edit]

  • 1 Seafront (Front de Mer). The seafront is a 600 m long built extension of the Grande-Conche beach, a transition between the city and the beach, and the liveliest part of the city during summer. This set of buildings were built in the "tropical modernist" style described in Understand above. The ground floor of the buildings forms a long shopping arcade with a variety of shops, restaurants, bars and cinemas. In the bar Le Regalty, famous French rock singer Alain Bashung (1947-2009) performed for the first time in 1963. (Q3088448) on Wikidata Front de Mer de Royan on Wikipedia
The port and its shops by night
  • 2 Royan Port (Port de Royan), 1 rue de la Vieille-Jetée (régie du Port)., +33 5 46 38 72 22. After being destroyed in WWII, the port was rebuilt in 1965, enlarged in 1983 and 1993, and renovated in 2008. It's one of the most important marinas between Nantes and Arcachon and has space for 1000 boats, a fishing port and is the starting point for ferries across the river. It's lined by shops, restaurants and bars making up the Les Voûtes du Port mall. Port of Royan (Q3398550) on Wikidata Port de Royan on Wikipedia
  • 3 Central market (Marché central). high season (mid-June to mid-Sep) daily 7:00-13:00, low season (rest of the year) Tu-Sa 7:00-13:00. The central market, in the shape of an inverted seashell, was designed by Louis Simon and André Morisseau and opened in 1957. It served as a model for the CNIT building in the La Défense district of Paris. (Q3289838) on Wikidata Marché central de Royan on Wikipedia

Lighthouses[edit]

  • 4 Cordouan lighthouse (7 km out in the ocean outside Royan), + 33 5 56 09 61 78, . France's oldest lighthouse, constructed between 1584 and 1611, and the tenth-tallest traditional lighthouse in the world. It's been nicknamed the "Versailles of the sea" and the "King of lighthouses and lighthouse of kings". In 2021 it was listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. You can get in by your own boat or by tour - see the Do section for tour operators. Cordouan Lighthouse (Q199234) on Wikidata Cordouan Lighthouse on Wikipedia
  • 5 Coubre lighthouse (Phare de la Coubre), Allée de la Plage La Tremblade (20 km northwest), + 33 5 46 06 26 42. The Coubre lighthouse was built in 1905 at the mouth of the Gironde estuary. At a height of 64 m, it's the highest lighthouse on the Charente coast. More than 300 steps lead up to the top, from where there are fantastic views over the Coubre pine forest, Royan with surroundings, Oléron island and the coasts of Médoc. Lighthouse of La Coubre (Q3378474) on Wikidata Phare de la Coubre on Wikipedia

Churches[edit]

  • 6 Église Notre-Dame. Royan's Church of Our Lady was inaugurated in 1958 as the masterpiece of architect Guillaume Gillet. A "cathedral of concrete" both literally and figuratively, with a height of 36 metres it's higher than its more famous namesake in Paris. The building seats 2000 persons and is completely made of reinforced concrete and features modernist stained glass windows, including the work Assumption of the Virgin by Claude Idoux. It's organ is one of the largest in western France. Église Notre-Dame de Royan (Q3580651) on Wikidata Église Notre-Dame de Royan on Wikipedia
The Saint-Pierre church from the 11th century is the oldest monument in the city
  • 7 Église Saint-Pierre. The oldest building in Royan, built in the 11th century. While it has not been entirely ruined during the times the town was destroyed, it has been damaged, repaired, rebuilt and modified. First built in Romanesque style, when it was repaired after the WWII bombings it became more simplified as there was a lack of money to reconstruct the finer details. The crypt below the bell tower houses an ossuary. Église Saint-Pierre de Royan (Q3584073) on Wikidata Église Saint-Pierre de Royan on Wikipedia
  • 8 Église Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. Another example of the "tropical" style, the church was designed by Jean Bauhain in 1952 who was inspired by the Saint-François de Pampulha in Belo Horizonte. Interesting features include the large ceramic tympanum depicting Virgin Mary and the stained glass windows by glass master L.Gouffault. église Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption de Royan (Q3580302) on Wikidata Église Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption de Royan on Wikipedia
  • 9 Temple protestant. Protestant church designed by architects Marc Hébrard, René Baraton and Jean Bauhain and built between 1953 and 1957. This church too received its inspiration from Saint-François de Pampulha in Belo Horizonte. It houses an organ built by the Schwendekel factory. temple protestant de Royan (Q3517698) on Wikidata Temple protestant de Royan on Wikipedia
  • 10 Église Notre-Dame-des-Anges (Pontaillac district). A Neo-Gothic church built in 1891, that miraculously escaped the bombings of the Second World War. The interior is in mostly "Belle-Époque" style (statues, frescoes, organ) and it has an Art Deco high altar. The stained glass in the choir represents Virgin Mary surrounded by angels. Église Notre-Dame-des-Anges de Royan (Q3580368) on Wikidata Chapelle Notre-Dame-des-Anges de Royan on Wikipedia


Beaches[edit]

  • 11 Grande-Conche beach (Plage de la Grande-Conche), Boulevard Frédéric Garnier.. A 2.6 km long magnificent beach of fine sand, this is the largest and most central of Royan's beaches. It ranges from the marina to the tip of Vallières, and is shaped like a shell, hence its French name translates to the Great Shell Beach. In season beach chairs and tents in yellow, blue and white (the colours of the city) are set up along the beach, and lifeguards patrol the beach from mid-June to early September from 11:00 to 19:00. Also events take place on the beach, most notably the "Un violon sur le sable" festival and the fireworks show on August 15. free access, there's a fee to use the beach chairs. Plage de la Grande-Conche on Wikipedia
Foncillon Beach and the Palais des Congrès
  • 12 Foncillon Beach (Plage de Foncillon). Right in the heart of the city below the congress palace. In 1819, when Royan first became a resort, this beach was assigned as a beach for ladies only. Nowadays it's open to everybody, and popular with families as there are hardly any currents. Here too there are beach chairs and tents for rent. free access. Plage de Foncillon on Wikipedia
  • 13 Pontaillac Beach (Plage de Pontaillac), Esplanade de Verthamon.. Once upon a time this was the beach for the upper class who went there wearing suits and gloves. After WWII however it has become a beach among the others and can get really busy. It's also popular with surfers, and there's a surf school and surf shops nearby. The casino sits right on the beach. Tents and beach chairs for rent. free access.
  • 14 Chay Beach (Plage du Chay), Boulevard de la Côte d'Argent. A small and intimate beach with extremely fine sand set between two cliffs. The path leading to the beach from the centre has nice views over the Garonne estuary. free access.

Nature[edit]

The main greenhouse of the Jardins du Monde
  • 15 Parc des Jardins du Monde, 5 avenue des fleurs de la Paix, +33 5 46 38 00 99. A botanical park of 7.5 ha near the Carel university. It has an impressive collection of orchids in a huge greenhouse, perhaps even the most extensive in Europe. The exterior comprises an English, Japanese and a Tuscan garden. Other exhibits include a large 1800 year old olive tree, a "labyrinth" of rainforest vegetation, an aromatic garden and a rose garden. €5 for children, €8 for adults. Parc des Jardins du Monde on Wikipedia
  • 16 Parc de l'estuaire, 47 avenue Paul Roullet, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne (5 km southeast), + 33 5 46 23 77 77, . The Estuary Park is an extension of the protected Suzac Forest, and presents the fragile ecosystem of the region. There's a museum and guided parks tours. Set on a cliff, it offers amazing views of the surroundings. Parc de l'estuaire on Wikipedia
  • 17 Grottes de Matata, 67 boulevard de la Falaise, Meschers-sur-Gironde (9 km southeast), + 33 5 46 02 70 02, . The town of Meschers is famous for the Matata and Régulus caves. Dug out in cliffs next to the river, they were inhabited until the early 20th century. The Matata caves feature a museum showcasing underground life throughout the centuries, and a hotel and a crêperie. Grottes de Matata on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

Festivals[edit]

  • Festival Escale d'Humour (Salle Jean Gabin). February. Stand-up comedy festival going on for several weeks in February with both known and unknown talents performing. The shows seem to be just in French, though.
  • Festival des sports urbains (Skate park). May. An event dedicated to skateboarding, BMX biking, inline skating, street football and similar "urban sports".
  • Un violon sur le sable (Grande-Conche beach). July. One of the biggest events in town, the "violin on the sand" festival can be considered the Woodstock of classical music, big enough to be broadcasted on national television. Established in 1987, it takes place in July for three days when up to almost 100 000 visitors come to sit on the beach to enjoy classical music. Performances include a wide range of music from baroque pieces to traditional songs. Un violon sur le sable on Wikipedia
The 15 August fireworks show may draw up to 100 000 viewers
  • 15 August fireworks (Spectacle pyrosymphonique du 15 août) (Grande-Conche beach). 15 August. On 15 August each year, the biggest fireworks show on the French Atlantic coast takes place here, likewise gathering up to 100000 viewers on the beach. Each year the show is accompanied by a different music theme. Spectacle pyrosymphonique de Royan on Wikipedia
  • Fête de la Lumière (Église Notre-Dame). December. A local version of the fête des lumières in Lyon, ongoing since 2008. Light art and shows light up the streets of the town at nighttime. The main light and sound show is shown on the walls of the Notre-Dame church.

Boat tours[edit]

  • 1 Croisières La Sirène, Quai de Monastir, + 33 6 81 84 47 80, . Tours to the Cordouan lighthouse, the lighthouses in the north of the Gironde estuary (Saint-Georges-de-Didonne passing Cordouan, Le Verdon and La Coubre) and discovery tours of the estuary.
  • 2 Royan Croisières, Quai Amiral Meyer, + 33 5 46 06 42 36. Different circuit tours on the estuary, some with and others without stops. There are tours to the Cordouan lighthouse, Pointe de Grave and Port-Médoc, Meschers and its caves, Saint-Georges Bay and just to see the sunset on the sea.

Wellness[edit]

  • 3 Thalazur Royan, 4 Allée des Rochers, + 33 5 46 39 96 96. Thalassotherapy (sea water therapy) center with massage, sea water bathing, solarium, spa, hammam, and gym.
  • 4 Hammam - Les bains de Royan, 8 rue François Arago (Royan II), + 33 5 46 22 42 68. Decorated in Middle Eastern style, the hammam offers warm baths and warm rooms and different treatments such as scrubs, wraps and massages.
  • 5 Fish Spa - Les pieds dans l'eau, 20 rue Paul Doumer (Centre-ville), + 33 5 17 82 47 46. Spa and "fish pedicure" (ichthyotherapy).

Sports[edit]

Stadiums[edit]

  • 6 Stade d'Honneur, 45 boulevard Franck Lamy (Centre-ville), +33 5 46 05 13 79. The main stadium, seating 7500 people on the grandstand is another grand building from the 1950s, nevertheless it was left partially unfinished. Its football field is the home of the local team RVAFC, moreover there are many indoor halls where handball and basketball games and boxing matches take place.
  • 7 Stade d'Aquitaine, Avenue Aliénor d'Aquitaine. Two fields, used mainly for football, rugby and archery.
  • 8 Stade Matet, Avenue du Gouverneur Delsalle. The home of the local rugby team RSR (Royan Saujon Rugby).
  • 9 Espace Cordouan, 26 rue Henri Dunant. The heart of the Toutvent sports campus, the Espace Cordouan features a sports field, a boxing ring, and a weightlifting room.

Tennis and squash[edit]

  • 10 Garden Tennis, 4 allée des Rochers (Le Chay), +33 5 46 38 45 77. One of the most important tennis complexes in the region, set next to the sea on the Chay cliff. It has 14 tennis courts (three of which are covered), lodging and a conference room.
  • 11 Tennis de L'Hippocampe, 18 rue Henri Dunant (Proximité lycée Cordouan), +33 6 14 32 16 45. Part of the La Triloterie sports campus, it has three clay courts.
  • 12 Tennis de L'Orangerie, 29 avenue Émile Zola (Quartier du Parc), +33 5 46 05 27 01. Has three courts with artificial grass surface, three with acrylic Greenset surface, and two clay courts.
  • 13 Espace Squash Royan-Atlantique, 18 rue Henri Dunant (Quartier de Toutvent), +33 5 46 06 77 77. Squash center founded in 1983 with seven courts, three of which has movable walls.

Golf[edit]

  • 14 Golf de Royan, 7 rue de la Palmyre, +33 5 46 23 16 24. Set in a pine forest, it's one of the largest golf courses in southwestern France. It features a 6-hole practice course, a 9-hole pitch and putt course and 18-hole green.
  • 15 Mini-Golf du Parc, Jardin du Parc (Quartier du Parc), +33 5 46 06 61 02. A mini golf course right in the middle of a public garden.

Pelote basque[edit]

  • 16 Fronton de Royan, Jardin du Parc (Quartier du Parc), +33 5 46 23 84 31, . The Basque Country isn't far away and Royan has a fronton (court) for the Basque sport pelota, inaugurated in 1933.

Swimming[edit]

  • 17 Piscine municipale, 1 boulevard Georges Clemenceau (Centre-ville), +33 5 46 05 67 70. Covered swimming pool, 25 m long and divided into 6 aisles.

Water sports[edit]

Like elsewhere on the French Atlantic coast, surfing is popular among people of all ages. The main spot for surfers are in Pontaillac. For some more challenging surfing, head to the beaches of Grande-Côte about 10 km to the north. Still another 10 km northwest is the "wild coast" directly exposed to the ocean where the most experienced surfers go to surf on the biggest waves. There are also many calmer water sports to enjoy; SUP boarding, kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing and the like.

On Côte de Beauté, windsurfing is very popular
  • 20 Oyat - École de Surf, 142 avenue Gambetta, +33 6 32 31 41 38. Surfing school with certified teachers. You can learn surfing, bodyboarding and stand up paddle boarding here.

Urban sports[edit]

  • 21 Skate Park, Rue Henri Dunant (Quartier de Toutvent). Opened in 2012, the city's skate park has a surface of about 870 m2 and a lot of different surfaces.

Fitness[edit]

  • 22 Edenya Royan, 7 rue Jacques Cœur (Zone commerciale de Belmont - Royan II), +33 5 46 05 04 23. Part of the national Edenya gym chain.
  • 23 Street Gym Royan, 11 rue François Arago (Zone commerciale Royan II), +33 6 72 78 60 82. Gym with equipment for weight lifting and muscle building as well as cardiovascular training, plus different fitness courses.
  • 24 Gym Club, 1 bis rue du Phare du Chay (Proximité Hôtel de Ville), +33 5 46 38 61 57. Gym, fitness and bodybuilding.

For children[edit]

  • 25 Grande roue de Royan, Esplanade du Bac (Port de Royan), +33 5 46 05 04 23. A 40 m high ferris wheel in the port, first set up in 2010 (and set up there every year), with 144 seats. Offers great views of the city, its landmarks and the estuary.
The merry-go-round of Royan with a Belle-Époque touch
  • 26 Carroussel de Royan, Port de plaisance (Port de Royan), +33 5 46 05 04 23. A merry-go-round built in the same style as the rides that visitors could enjoyed in Royan's former version (before WWII). It's decorated with pictures of famous sites on southwestern France.
  • 27 Parc-aventure Coolongalook, 9 allée des chèvrefeuilles (Sortie nord-est en direction de Saint-Sulpice-de-Royan), +33 9 83 48 61 94. A park with different activities for children, such as tree climbing, adventure trails where one can learn about nature and plants, orientation and survival.
A waterfall and pink flamingos at the entrance of Zoo de La Palmyre
  • 28 Zoo de La Palmyre, 6 avenue de Royan, Les Mathes (Les Mathes, 12 km northwest), + 33 5 46 22 46 06. Covering more than 18 hectares of pine forest, it's one of the largest private zoos in Europe with 130 species and more than 1600 anilmals. The zoo is in the nearby resort of La Palmyre in the commune of Les Mathes. Zoo de La Palmyre on Wikipedia
  • 29 Luna Park, Route de Dirée (Les Mathes, 15 km northwest). Amusement park open every evening during high season.

Casino[edit]

Casino Barrière at the Pontaillac beach
  • 31 Casino Barrière, 2 Esplanade de Pontaillac, +33 5 46 39 03 31. A distant successor to the La Restauration casino established in 1880, it's the only casino in Royan nowadays. It features gambling machines, poker and table games. There are three restaurants (with sea views), four bars and a disco. Casual clothing during the day, more formal in the evening.

Theatre[edit]

  • 32 Salle de spectacle, 112 avenue Gambetta, +33 5 46 38 37 06. Different shows all around the year.

Cinemas[edit]

There are two cinemas in central Royan below the arcades facing the sea. More cinemas can be found in the communes of Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Les Mathes and La Tremblade.

Buy[edit]

The four main shopping streets are Avenue Gambetta, Boulevard de la République, Boulevard Briand (where the central market is) and Cours de l'Europe. Each of this features many small shops. The same goes for Place Charles-de-Gaulle (also known as Place Rouge, ie. the red square), the seafront and the marina (with the Voûtes du Port shopping arcades). In addition you can find many shops in the Parc and Pontaillac districts. In addition, the commercial zones Royan II, Belmont and Val-Lumière feature big box stores.

Supermarkets and hypermarkets[edit]

Eat[edit]

Cuisine[edit]

Oysters from Marennes-Oléron is a regional specialty

Local meat specialties include Saintongeaise rabbit, Saintongeaise beef stew, grillons (rillettes of meat cooked in its own fat), gigourit (offal and blood stew), cagouilles (snails cooked with breadcrumbs, garlic and white wine), and also snail eggs (caviar de cagouilles). Like in much of southwestern France, foie gras prepared with with Pineau des Charentes and different confits are also common on menus.

There are also local fish and seafood dishes: mouclade (mussels with cream), éclade (mussels grilled on pine needles, a specialty of île d'Oléron), chaudrée (fish soup, a local variant of the bouillabaisse), and velouté trembladais (another fish soup). Specialties from towns near Royan are the oysters of Marennes-Oléron at the Atlantic coast and the pibales (juvenile eel) of Mortagne-sur-Gironde upstream.

On the dessert side, the region is famous for its beignets (fritters) and chichis (beignets in the form of churros) and millas (a kind of cheese cake)

Local strong drinks are cognac and Pineau des Charentes, and wine is also produced in the region. Across the estuary is the Médoc wine region, part of the world-famous Bordeaux wine region.

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Amigo Pizza Kebab, 7 rue des Cormorans, +33 5 46 08 02 14. Pizzas, sandwiches and kebabs. House special pizzas include Périgourdine (with foie gras), Tropicale (chicken and pineapple) and Kebab (kebab meat, pineapple and mozzarella).
  • 2 BB Snack, 209 Bis avenue de Pontaillac, +33 5 46 39 89 00. Pizzas and other snacks. Decorated with football paraphernalia and is a meeting place for Girondins de Bordeaux fans.
  • 3 Bella Vita, 63 front de mer, +33 5 46 05 00 39. Sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and kebabs. Discounts for students.
  • 5 Pizza Lulu, Boulevard du Colonel Baillet. (Centre commercial Super U), +33 6 09 20 51 69. Takeaway pizza.
  • 6 Twinburger, 70 front de mer, +33 5 46 38 60 46. Burger place at the seafront.
  • 7 Confiserie Lopez, 16 Front de Mer, +33 5 46 05 78 11. In business since 1977, serving different sweets from nougat to licorice and lollipops.
  • 8 Le Régent, 12 Front de Mer, +33 5 46 05 27 70. Artesanal ice cream, crêpes and waffles.
  • 9 Le Taj Mahal, 126 avenue Gambetta, +33 5 46 39 83 16. Indian and Pakistani restaurant - curry, tandoori, samosas, chicken and lamb tikka and similar dishes. €8-15.

In addition global fastfood chains are also present in Royan.

Mid-range[edit]

Outdoor seating of cafés and restaurants in the port
  • 10 Le Marrakech, 40 avenue de Paris, +33 5 46 38 03 03. Moroccan restaurant with couscous and tagine dishes. €15-30.
  • 12 Le Portique, 7 Front de mer, +33 5 46 05 01 78. Facing the sea with a large outdoor seating area, this place is a bar, brewery and restaurant. Seafood and local dishes on the menu. €15-30.
  • 13 La Nona, 82 rue du Front de Mer, +33 5 46 38 39 86. Italian restaurant; mainly salads, pasta and pizzas on the menu. €15-30.
  • 14 Les voiles blanches, 17 Quai Amiral Meyer, +33 5 46 38 08 88. Restaurant, brewery and ice-cream parlor. It specializes in moules frites, prepared in many different ways as well as many different salads. Outdoor seating with direct view to the marina and its boats. €15-30.
  • 15 Le Tiki, 1 place du Maréchal-Foch, +33 5 46 05 39 15. On the Grande-Conche beach, divided into a Tiki-Nord and Tiki-Sud part and has outdoor seating. There's a buffet of vegetables and appetizers, and entrecôte, seafood and pizzas on the menu.
  • 16 Au meilleur siècle, 25 rue Jacques Cœur, 17600 Médis (Zone commerciale de Belmont - Royan II), +33 5 46 02 61 57. Asian buffet where you can eat as much you like of Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes. €16-22.
  • 17 Au palais gourmand, 66 rue du Front de Mer, +33 5 46 08 29 95. Seafood restaurant with local seafood specialties and moules frites.
  • 18 Buffalo Grill, 8 rue Jean Monnet (Rocade sud, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne), +33 5 46 22 05 05. Part of a national chain, this restaurant specializes in barbecued meat, ribs and hamburgers. €10-25.

Splurge[edit]

  • 19 Le petit bouchon, 8 Quai Amiral Meyer, +33 5 46 22 08 82. Both "land food" and "seafood" - the menu changes daily according to the day's catch and the mood of the chef. €20-40.
  • 20 L'avocette, 100 Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny, +33 5 46 02 15 30. Experimental takes on traditional cuisine with dishes such as spinach tiramisu with smoked salmon and filet mignon confit with garlic milk. €30-50.
  • 21 Le Carrelet, 56 rue du Front de Mer, +33 5 46 38 60 40. Mainly seafood from mussels to oysters but also has barbecued meat dishes on the menu. Outdoor seating option. €15-40.

Drink[edit]

Most discos in the region are in neighbouring communes (Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Breuillet et Saint-Georges-de-Didonne). There are three in Royan but outside of downtown to minimize nighttime noise.

  • 1 Le First Floor, 8, 9, 10 quai Amiral Meyer, +33 5 46 39 01 10. One of the main night spots of Royan, in the shopping arcades with view to the marina. Different theme nights, sushi bar.
  • 2 Iguana Café, 205 Avenue de Pontaillac, +33 5 46 02 78 81. At the Pontaillac seafront, this is a bar frequented by youth, tourists and surfers. Large outdoor seating, lot of drinks, and ice cream too.
  • 3 L'Orangerie, 37 Avenue des Chênes Verts, +33 5 46 05 93 47. Small bar in the Parc district, near the public gardens and tennis club. Varied clientele.
  • 4 Le Xobam, Esplanade de Verthamon, +33 5 46 39 03 31. The nightclub of the casino with eclectic atmosphere and themed nights.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

Campings[edit]

  • 2 Camping Le Royan, 10 rue des Bleuets (near Vaux-sur-Mer), +33 5 46 39 09 06. Three-star camping area. There's an "aquatic space" with a solarium, artificial lagoon, a heated pool and toboggans.
  • 3 Camping Clairefontaine, 18 rue du Colonel Lachaud (Pontaillac), +33 5 46 39 08 11. Four star camping area in a small forest of 4 ha. Heated pool, tennis and sports area. The Pontaillac beach and the casino are 300 m away.

Hotels[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

  • 9 Thal Azur (formerly Grand Hôtel de Cordouan (ex-Novotel)), 6 allée des Rochers (facing Chay beach), +33 5 46 39 46 39, . A few metres from Chay beach, this hotel has 83 air-conditioned rooms with balcony, three of them adapted to disabled guests. It has a restaurant, bar and swimming pool. rates from €200.

Connect[edit]

  • 1 Poste centrale, 83 boulevard de la République (En centre-ville). The central post of Royan.
  • 2 Poste du Parc, 27 avenue Émile Zola (Quartier du Parc). The post office in Parc.
  • 4 Cyberatlantys, Avenue des Congrès, + 33 5 46 23 47 97. Internet café in the basement of the Palais des Congrès. Twelve workpoints.

Radio stations[edit]

Local radio stations include France 3 Royan, Demoiselle FM (102.2 Fm), Vogue Radio (103.1 Fm), and Sud-Ouest.

Stay safe[edit]

  • 5 Police office (Commissariat de Royan), 13 rue du Château d'Eau (opposite Notre-Dame church), + 33 5 46 39 40 10.
  • 7 Clinique Pasteur, 222 Route de Rochefort (east exit of Royan, near Saint-Sulpice-de-Royan), + 33 5 46 22 22 22. Private clinic with maternity and emergency services.
  • 9 Allô Garde, 1 rue docteur Paul Metadier, + 33 5 46 02 14 30. Medical clinic for non-emergencies.

Go next[edit]

Nearby[edit]

  • 10 Mornac-sur-Seudre (12 km northeast), + 33 5 5 46 22 92 46. A medieval village in the marshes of Seudre that has been listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France. Here you can see whitewashed buildings, narrow alleys with hollyhocks, medieval halls, the Saint-Pierre church and a fishing port. Mornac-sur-Seudre on Wikipedia
  • 11Soulac-sur-Mer (12 km south, by ferry), + 33 5 56 09 86 61. Across the estuary is the resort of Soulac-sur-Mer, the northernmost on the Côte d'Argent. Its vast beach is directly exposed to the ocean and it has a basilica partially immersed in sand. From nearby Pointe de Grave there's a beautiful panorama across the estuary to Royan. Soulac-sur-Mer on Wikipedia
  • 12 Talmont-sur-Gironde (15 km southeast). A bastide (fortified planned town) founded in 1284 by the Edward I, King of England and Duke of Aquitaine. It sits on a peninsula in the estuary. Talmont too is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, featuring whitewashed houses and the 12th century Saint-Radegonde church. Talmont-sur-Gironde on Wikipedia


Further away[edit]

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