Île de Oléron


Ile de Re in europe map

Île de Oléron

While the Ile de Re is very much a sophisticated holiday centre for Parisians, and the rest of us out of the high season, the Île d'Oléron is a little less developed and little less sophisticated with only some 35km of bike path on the island.  However it offers a slightly more rugged version of the Ile de Re.  You can get here via the train or plane as described in on My Bike Guide .  It is very easy to ride a bike here from the La Rochelle airport.  The Château-d'Oléron is a particularly fine fortress from the 1700 and the rest of the island has fine sand beaches and small fishing ports.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle is over 1000 years old and has been French, English and a free city.  It acted as the Knight Templar's Atlantic base and was foughtOleron map over during the French Religious Wars.  In the last few hundred years it passed into some decline while continuing as a fishing harbour.  This lack of funds has ensured that many old building have survivied the ravages of development and this includes the massive german U boat pens.  The result is that a pretty little harbour makes up the town centre surrounded by fine buildings with a large commercial harbour, France's largest marina and a big aquarium not far away.  La Rochelle is on a main railway from Paris and its airport is close to the centre.  All in all a good un-spoiled holiday centre.

Rochefort

A small town south of La Rochelle, due to its position it was the main source of ropes for Napolean's navy and a massive rope and cord factory was born which has just been developed into a fine business centre with a local Maritime museum.  From here it is easy to find the fine bridge which leads to Île d'Oléron.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux and the wine districts which florish around it are to the south and are easily reached by car, bus or train.
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