Royan is the most "fifties" seaside resort in France. Between the Atlantic and the Gironde estuary, the capital of the Pays Royannais is famous for its fine sandy beaches. City standing, city phoenix, it opens its doors to you for a convivial moment on vacation or to settle there.
A city you thought you knew...
Royan is the very example of the city with many faces with:
- 2 styles of architecture that clash and complement each other
- 5 fine sandy beaches, from the small cove to the large cove
Strolling around Royan: each district has its own beach
The Royan beaches are first of all friendly and everyone has their own habits. There proximity to the city allows you to put down your towel for a simple moment and come back to it several times in the same day. Ice cream break or shopping break? It's up to you. They also serve as a meeting place for regulars or even a meeting place. On the sand as in the water, it is also the kingdom of children! The atmosphere is family and the activities can be numerous. There urban beach reassures parents and grandparents alike.
The atmospheres of the city vary according to its districts. Of the conch of Foncillon to that of Pontaillac via those of Chay and Pigeonnier, we walk along the coast. With each step, a new look and with each look, a new discovery.
La pointe du Chay can be explored like an open-air history book. THE blockhouse bear witness to Atlantic Wall. The memorial work "Le Souffle" pays tribute to the victims of the bombings of January 5 and April 15, 1945. thalasso, take care of yourself in front of the Cordouan lighthouse.
Do you have a detective soul? Go in search of the smallest lighthouse in Royan (and perhaps even in France?) which is hidden nearby...
Pontaillac beach with squares and the casino
City within the city, born from the sea bathing fashion, surfers spot, Pontaillac offers its visitors and its inhabitants a simple and chic living environment. We sit on the terraces of bars and restaurants facing the ocean. The evening continues at Casino, built on stilts above the beach like a ship facing the high tides. A little remote, in the old market of the Pontaillac district, a stone's throw from the Notre-Dame-des-Anges chapel, the Royan Museum tells the great and the small history of the city. If we take the time to get to know it better, we will better understand its dual-faceted architecture.
The Foncillon district presents itself as a catalog of villas 50 sometimes with evocative names such as Villa Grille-Pain or Villa Spirou.
Discover the history of Royan through its architecture
Royan is “City of Art & History”: its label announces the program!
With its architectural singularity (both Belle Époque and 50s), the seaside resort is committed to an active approach to promoting heritage.
With the fashion for sea bathing, the 1900 and 1930 villas left their mark on the city. Almost 85% destroyed during the Second World War by the allied bombings of 1945, Royan, which has become a blank page, is being renewed. The architects who rebuilt Royan were inspired by the modern movement. They are influenced by the Brazilian architecture of the 40s, in particular by the works of the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
The reconstruction offers Royan new iconic monuments:
- The Notre-Dame church, symbol of the rebirth of the city.
- The market central, with a shell-shaped roof for some or a parachute for others.
- Le Congress Palace, built in such a way that, from the garden, you can see the sea and vice versa.
- And also: the Protestant centre, the auditorium, the seafront, the Botton galleries, the Louis Simon gallery...
Public chat Boulevard Garnier, facing the Grande Conche (known for its blue and white striped tents), a succession of Belle Epoque villas and 50s villas. Admire, for example, the villas “Les Campaniles” and “Ombre Blanche” which are nicknamed the Videographer.
The Park district
Behind this boulevard, the park district conceals unusual constructions. We then take pleasure in getting lost and randomly discovering the alleys:
- The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, imprint of the Brazilian model.
- Villa Kosiki, inspired by colonial conquests and the discovery of oriental art.
- The Boomerang villa, raised on stilts and with colorful elements.
- The pediment of Basque pelota, recalling that Royan was a mecca for this sport during the Roaring Twenties.
The port of Royan, place of fishing and pleasure
Heart of activity of the city, we walk there to the rhythm of the tinkling of the masts of the boats, to the end of the Quai des Sabliers for the most beautiful panorama of Royan. Depending on the time, the fishermen return to port with their cargo of noble fish sold at the Auction.
The vaults of the port shelter galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. And if we took a break on the terrace while waiting for the time of the cruise?
From here, boats set sail for excursions on the Gironde estuary or to the Cordouan lighthouse, a visit like no other.
How to cross the Gironde estuary?
By the ferry, of course! On the opposite shore, there are three cranes, "the giraffes". They belong to port of the Verdon, the closest starting point for criss-crossing the Médoc Wine Route. The crossing is a small adventure in itself and another way of apprehending the immensity of this estuary. It's also a way to take a step back to admire Royan as one would with a painting, why not by Picasso...
Activities in Royan, for young and old
Royan, the memory factory…
Royan and the beauty coast can also be discovered by bike, whether to the north with the Vélodyssée® or south on the 2 Seas Canal®. From conche to conche, the urban route presents no difficulty and allows the family to enjoy this seaside resort on a human scale.
Day and night, the halt at the arcades of the Beachfront is a must. We have a drink, we treat ourselves to an ice cream… The children take a ride on the merry-go-round… And then, there is the Ferris Wheel for an unobstructed view of the city, its architecture and its large beach.
Sunset over Royan and the Notre-Dame church
Where to see fireworks in Charente-Maritime? The Royan Sea Front is the place for the pyrotechnic evenings of July 14 and August 15. Over 3 evenings, the festival A Violin on the Sand takes place on the Grande Conche de Royan. This event is unique in France thanks to the symphony orchestra and guests as prestigious as they are unexpected. Unique moments that remain in memory and make the identity of the seaside resort.