Poitou-Charentes has a great coast line with some wonderful destinations, but for those of us who live on the eastern side of the region it is a long haul over to the coast. Over the years the roads have improved and we no longer have to trail round St Jean d’Angely and there is a short stretch of motorway which enables you to avoid Tonnay Charente. The use of the sat nav has arguably made the route more straightforward. Ours will save us 5 miles by cutting across from Sauze Vaussais to Aunlay, thus avoiding the aromas of Melle. However it is a wonder to me that in Chef Boutonne, a commune little bigger than a village, the sat nav makes takes a route through involving a seemingly endless series of right and left turns. Nevertheless with all the improvements in navigation and roads we can now get to our nearest bit of coast in about two hours at Fouras. We have visited many times over the years and like it very much for a number of reasons, See my blog……https://poitoucharentesinphotos.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/fouras/
If you want to explore a bit further afield, then to do it in a day involves quite a lot of driving. I like Ile d’Oleron. I prefer it to Ile de Re partly because the bridge is free and partly because I feel that on the Ile de Re they are bicycle friendly to the point of being car unfriendly. whereas on Ile d’Oleron I think they have the balance right. This week we went to La Cotiniere, and so as to avoid the drive there and back in one day we booked into a hotel for the night.
I would highly recommend the Hotel de la Plage. It is about 7 minutes walk from the harbour and town area – although it took us 10 minutes to walk in as I am suffering from a torn calf muscle due to an over exuberant game of squash a few weeks ago. The hotel is modern, charming and clean, and the rooms are fine. The hosts are very friendly, breakfast was excellent, with a decent choice and there is a nice clean swimming pool with loungers all round in the garden which also offers table tennis and table football -and to top it all it is only 30 seconds walk to the beach which is, or was when we were there, virtually deserted and long and sandy. The price is very reasonable so give it a go! There are several other attractive looking hotels nearby. Click here for the Hotel de la Plage web site, and here is a photo I took of the front which is not terribly inspired – it’s the inside of the hotel and its grounds which are its best feature.