The Côte de Beauté (Beauty Coast) is located on the Atlantic Ocean in the department of Charente-Maritime, in Nouvelle Aquitaine. It is the coast of the Arvert peninsula on the right bank of the Gironde estuary, from Marennes-Oléron to Meschers.
The shore is lined by wooded dunes with a large rocky area around Royan. There is a pleasant choice of beaches facing south, large sandy beaches or creeks more or less extended called "conches". The west-facing beaches on the Atlantic have remained wild. They are loved by kitesurfers. The beaches located on the mouth of the Gironde are more sheltered with calmer waters.
It is a very wooded area, with pine forests that offer great opportunities for family walks or bike rides. A footpath runs along the coast from Royan to Saint-Palais with beautiful views of the ocean and the Medoc coast, on the other side of the Gironde. The Cordouan lighthouse sits in the middle of the estuary. Completed in 1611, it is the oldest lighthouse in Europe still in operation.
The Côte de Beauté enjoys a good sunshine and a mild climate as evidenced by southern species such as holm oak and cyst. The heat remains bearable in summer thanks to the oceanic flow. The bathing water is cooler on the Atlantic, warmer on the beaches of the estuary.
The local cuisine is largely dedicated to seafood, including oysters and mussels in their version "mouclade charentaise" with curry and pineau (a local specialty, blend of cognac and wine).
The Côte de Beauté is a pleasant destination for holidays or short stays, with a choice of seaside resorts for all tastes, family, lively or more secret.
Ronce-les-Bains is the seaside resort of La Tremblade located facing the Oléron island. There is a casino and a nautical base. It is a preserved destination with old seaside villas in a wooded environment. The Strait of Maumusson forms a sort of small interior sea which evokes the Arcachon bay. La Cèpe beach is very pleasant in a wooded area. The Pointe Espagnole, on the Atlantic Ocean, is a popular surf spot. The Coubre forest offers a beautiful background to the shore.
La Palmyre is the seaside resort of the municipality of Les Mathes, in a beautiful forest environment. There is a long sandy beach facing south. On the Coubre headland there is a lighthouse and the remains of a semaphore. The adjacent beach, on the Atlantic, is a famous surf spot. La Palmyre is famous for its zoo. It is a family destination with several campsites and a Club Méditerranée resort.
Saint-Palais-sur-Mer is a residential area located at the mouth of the Gironde estuary. A coastal path offers beautiful views of the Atlantic and views of the Gironde dominated by the Cordouan lighthouse. By the sea there are 5 sandy beaches separated by rocky headlands. The Bureau beach, in the city centre, is lined by a pleasant walk. Further to the west, the "Grande-Côte" is a long beach lined by a pine forest.
Vaux-sur-Mer is a small seaside resort located on the outskirts of Royan. At the seaside are four small sheltered beaches (conches) along a rocky coast facing south. A pedestrian walk lined with holm oaks runs along the coast and offers beautiful views of the Gironde estuary. The Saint-Etienne church is a former Benedictine abbey of the 12th century.
Royan is one of the main seaside resorts on the Atlantic coast with a casino, many restaurants, a thalassotherapy center and a lively seafront. At the seaside there is a marina and a fishing port, a large sandy beach facing south and sandy coves (conches) dug into the cliffs. Pedestrian paths follow the seaside. The Pontaillac area has kept beautiful old villas. A ferry connects Royan to the Pointe de Grave on the other side of the Gironde estuary. Mostly destroyed during the Second World War, Royan offers testimonies of the modernistic architecture of the 50s / 60s.
Saint-Georges-de-Didonne is located on the outskirts of Royan and shares a beach with its neighbor (Vallières beach). It is a seaside resort labeled "family plus". By the sea there are sandy beaches facing south. The Suzac headland is protected by the conservatory of the littoral. A large pine forest offers good opportunities for walks in nature.