Phare de Cordouan Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO

The Cordouan Lighthouse

Also known as the Versailles of the Seas, Cordouan's lighthouse built in 1611, has just been inscribed on the prestigious Unesco list.

Cordouan lighthouse staircase

Have you ever heard of the Cordouan Lighthouse? Seen a documentary on this architectural feat? For the past 400 years the Cordouan Lighthouse has stood proudly at the entrance to the Gironde Estuary, off the Verdon headland and the town of Royan. It is now on the Unesco World Heritage List.

Set off on an adventure through history! Let yourself be carried away by the amazing experience of a maritime gem, which has been classified as an Historic Monument for the past 150 years!

Before we go any further, here are the keys to help you plan your visit and get to the heart of the most incredible secrets.

When can we visit the Cordouan Lighthouse?

Cordouan Lighthouse

You can visit the Cordouan Lighthouse from April to Halloween guided by the keeper of this extraordinary building.

How can we visit the Cordouan Lighthouse?

Entrance to Cordouan lighthouse

Before you leave, remember to book your crossing with one of the cruise boat companies (ticket from €43/adult). Allow half a day, either morning or afternoon, to visit “The Versailles of the Seas”. Once you land, all you need to do is purchase an entrance ticket from the lighthouse keeper, (entrance ticket for the visit €7 to €15). Then you're all set for an unforgettable experience!

How can we get to the Cordouan Lighthouse?

Foot of Cordouan lighthouse

To get to the Cordouan Lighthouse, you need simply to board a cruise boat for a 40-minute crossing. The boat will drop you off as close to the lighthouse as possible, then you'll have a 10-minute walk to actually reach the building itself.

Be careful! Search for information about access to the site. This changes depending on the tides. Departure times for all the cruises are regularly updated. We also recommend you wear appropriate clothing for the outing because sometimes the water can rise to mid-thigh level during the last 10-minutes’ walking.

What will we find at the Cordouan Lighthouse?

From the top of Cordouan lighthouse

The visit to the Cordouan Lighthouse takes you through various different levels: the Girondins hall; the royal chapel and its fabulous stained-glass windows; the royal apartment... not to mention the breathtaking view once you get to the top of the 301 steps.

At the top of the Cordouan Lighthouse, you'll be able to enjoy an impressive view over land and sea - one of the most spectacular in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

Every moment of the day gives you a different vision of the Cordouan Lighthouse and enhances it, thanks to the changing colours of the sky which mingle with the sea, from sunrise to sunset. Please enjoy this video of an evening musical set at the Cordouan Lighthouse, and we hope to see you there soon!

Phare de Cordouan 

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Fort Boyard

The Fort Boyard is a key element of the Naval Dockyard of Rochefort which extends all along the estuary of the Charente.
If the construction of this fortification on the "Longe of Boyard" was considered as early as the seventeenth century, the project only really started in the course of the 19th century. Built with the aim of protecting the harbor, the mouth of the Charente and especially the large dockayrd of Rochefort from the assaults of the English navy, the Fort was transformed into a prison a few years after its completion.

The Fort has been classified as an historic monument since 1950.

The Fort is 68 metres long on 31 metres large, for a total surface area of 2689 square metres. The surrounding walls peak at 20 metres. The fort is also built on a sandbak called "Longe of Boyard" which gave its name to the Fort itself.

Since 1990, Fort Boyard has been the location of a television game of the same name.

Located between the islands of Aix and Oléron, the Fort Boyard is part of the territory of Rochefort-Océan. Many departures of cruises are possible to bypass the Fort (from Port-des-Barques, Fouras-les-Bains or the Island of Aix).
The cruise

Longe de Boyard 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Batterie de Jamblet

The Jamblet battery helped to protect the Rochefort arsenal and the harbour. The fortification presents a museum space to discover the military role of the island of Aix in the defence of Rochefort and its arsenal.
The Jamblet battery helped to protect the Rochefort arsenal and the harbour where the warships anchored. A simple 2-gun battery in 1756, the battery was destroyed by the English in 1757. Under the Consulate and the Empire (1799-1815), the whole defence of the Aix harbour was rethought and the Jamblet battery was rebuilt. In use until 1926, it was abandoned after the Second World War.


The fortification presents a museum space to discover the military role of the island of Aix in the defence of Rochefort and its arsenal.

Jamblet 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Île d'Aix

The island of Aix, classified as a remarkable natural site, is an invitation to travel and get away from it all. It is only accessible by boat, all year round, from the Pointe de la Fumée in Fouras-les-Bains.
The insular charm of a military land: peacefull island, you will discover it on foot, by bicycle or in a carriage. With its fortified village, its coastal batteries, its forts, including the famous Fort Boyard, the island is a place out of time, charming lovers of history and children dreaming of adventures. The only "true" island of Charente-Maritime, Aix Island draws a great pride in its imperial past. Under the First Empire, it was transformed into a fortress island and became the cornerstone of the defense of Rochefort. After a first visit in 1808, the Emperor Napoleon I went to the island again in July 1815 and settled for four days in the house of the Governor, his last residence on French land before his exile in St. Helena. It is also on the Aix Island that you will find one the last workers of the Mother-of-pearl in France. A remarkable natural site: The Aix Island, 3 km long and 700 m wide, concentrates all the diversity of the coastal landscapes of the Charente-Maritime. Classified on the list of "Remarkable Natural Sites", it is a fragile place that one must respect. Advice: The sand dunes protect the coast. Participate in saving them by respecting the walking paths. Preserve the flora and do not pick the flowers. Keep the island clean and you can collect garbage bags free of charge from the Tourist Office to put your waste in. The fortified village by Vauban is located on the southern part of the land, bordered by beaches, creeks and rocks. The island, accessible only by boat, is in the heart of the pertuis of Antioch, between the island of Oléron and and the peninsula of Fouras.

17123 Île-d'Aix
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Orientation course Île d'Aix

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses to do on the on the island of Aix. Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

Office de tourisme Île d'Aix 6 rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Orientation course Port-des-Barques

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses on the Port-des-Barques peninsula with you! Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

Office de tourisme de Port-des-Barques place des Blagueurs 17730 Port-des-Barques
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Rochefort Océan Tourist Office - Ile d'Aix Tourist Information Office

The Tourist Office offers the following services:

- reception and information

- free wifi internet access2

- ticketing for museums, guided tours and events, cruises, transport

- The Rochefort Océan Privilege card free of charge for the discounted purchase of 2 services simultaneously : Activities, visits, cruises, bike rental, bus, boat ...


This site is labeled Tourisme & Handicap (mental, auditory) and classified category 1, labeled Quality Tourism.

8 rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 10/04/2022 au 06/07/2022
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The House of the Mother-of-Pearl

Discover the one and only know-how of one of the last nacre makers of France, the unique handmade speciality of the island with more than 60 years eperience.
The House of the Mother of Pearl has been existing since 1954, and is specialized in the transformation of shells into various objects, including jewels.

A sales and exhibit area
- An illustrated museum featuring twenty display cabinets
- A workshop and a meeting with a mother of pearl craftsman.
Here, you will learn about the life of marine molluscs and the constitution of their shell, the different stages of shaping of this rare and noble material. Furthermore, you will admire original creations.

Place de l'Église 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 01/04/2022 au 30/06/2022
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Church and Priory Saint-Martin

The Abbey of Cluny establish in 1067 the Church and the Priory Saint-Martin.
The Abbey of Cluny establish in 1067 the Church and the Priory Saint-Martin. For nearly three centuries, the monastic community of Aix Island, extended its spiritual influence on La Rochelle and its region by governing a large number of parishes.

However, because of the intensification of the conflicts between France and England, the priory, repeatedly plundered and damaged, was abandoned in 1343. Of the whole church, only the eastern wing of the priory remains today, and the transept, the northern apse and the crypt of the church. The crypt, which certainly dates back to the foundation of the church, testifies of the religious history of the island.

rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Franck Speisser Oysterfarmer

Oysters from Aix Island on the outskirts of the village: Retail sale and on-site tasting.
Prices to go oyster sale: from 4 to 6 Euros per dozen
In season, sale of fish according to arrivals. Provision of plancha for cooking at the oysterfarmer. A friendly moment in an exceptional environment.

Les Mathes 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Marina of the Island of Aix

Contact:
From June 15 to September 25: VHF channel 9 - 06 71 30 09 31 to reach the landing and boarding shuttle
Contact:
From June 15 to September 25: VHF links channel 9 - 06 71 30 09 31 to reach the landing and embarkation shuttle

Parking :
Visitors: possibility of disembarking passengers on the large pier BARBOTIN or quay of the ACADIE boaters not priority
Visitors' deadbeds are white and marked in green.
The blue deadbeds, for a 2 months summer rental.
The red deadbeds, for yearly rentals.
They are accessible 2.5 hours before and after low tide and are sheltered from the west winds.

Services :
Daily weather forecast
Shuttle service from May to the end of September
Water and electricity at the dock
Baguettes and croissants delivered the next morning upon order the evening before
WC on the right as you leave the port near the arcades
Showers with ticket at the Pierre & Vacances residence
Advantages and discounts with the marina's partners on presentation of the harbor ticket

Reduced rate or "group" rate for :
Bike rental at Aixquis & Cyclaix
Tour of the island with the horse-drawn carriages of the island of Aix

After crossing the famous Ford Boyard, you will reach the Island of Aix. Protecting the Charente estuary from the northwest, the island alone offers the diversity of Rochefort Ocean's riches:
¤ a preserved environment
¤ the remains of an exceptional military heritage
¤ the charms of a "real" island which lives at the rhythm of the tides and the ferry passages
On foot, by bicycle or in a horse-drawn carriage, you will walk in the footsteps of Napoleon I to discover, not without surprise, a coastline with multiple landscapes

Other services available at the stopover:
Nearby town center, bakery, restaurants, grocery store, tobacco shop, museums, fast food, bike rentals, clothes, DIY, post office, museums.

Please note: there is no ATM on the island of Aix.

PORT 17123 Île-d'Aix
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La Brasserie de l'île d'Aix

Tasting area, sale of craft beers made on the island of Aix.
Tasting area, sale of craft beers made on the island of Aix.

Rue quai aux vivres 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 15/04/2022 au 30/06/2022
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Fort Liédot

Located in the north-east of the island of Aix, Fort Liédot is a citadel half-buried in the ground and hidden by trees.
Located in the heart of the forest of the island of Aix, this 19th century fortification invites you for a journey through the galleries of time! Set off without further delay to discover this place where Art and History are intertwined. Will you dare to venture into the heart of this famous "magnificient and protected" fort?


Exhibitions and animations :

- From April to September : Self-guided tour of Fort Liédot : with a travel guide, you will stroll through the galleries of the Fort, discovering its history and architecture.

Children's challenge : a game trail in a logbook (included in the children's rate for the self-guided tour).


Guided tour of Fort Liédot : Understand the history of Fort Liédot, its architecture, its eventful past.

"The stones speak" : a journey into the imagination of the traces and graffiti that decorate the walls of Fort Liédot in the form of a story-telling tour.

"Liédot, in the heart of nature" : a guided-walk around the Fort to discover the remarkable nature of the island of Aix.

"Draw your fort" : a creative workshop for 6 - 12 year olds on the topic of military architecture.

Permanent exhibition : "The Mysteries of Fort Boyard" to understand the history of the Fort.


From June to September :

Temporary exhibitions :

"Traces, signs and graffitis" : an exhibition listing precious traces of the past engraved in stone and collected by the people of Aix, an artistic approach around the imaginary of traces and graffiti.

"Living memories of the island" : a sound and photographic exhibition based on the testimonies of the people of Aix.


The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the site closes.

Le Bois 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 26/05/2022 au 27/05/2022
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Camping Les Lauriers

The 2-star "Les Lauriers" campsite is located in the town of Saint-Denis-d'Oléron, . We welcome you for six months of the year, from April to September, in a family and calm environment.
The campsite "Les Lauriers" is located in the heart of the charming village of Saint-Denis d'Oleron, one of eight municipalities belonging to the largest island on the Atlantic coast. We welcome you during the six months of the year (April-September) in a family setting, where tranquility and comfort come together to make your vacation a moment of relaxation and wellbeing. The campsite "Les Lauriers" benefit of 69 plots (between 70 and 90 m²) in a semi-shaded and flowery.In order to receive you in the best conditions, we offer rental of mobil-homes and locations.Near the beach watched "La Boirie" (100m), you will enjoy the calm waters of the ocean and a long stretch of sand where you can combine water recreation, water sports and relaxation. Unique camping anchored in the heart of Saint-Denis, it only takes a few minutes walk or bike to get to market, many small shops and the marina.An ideal site where everything is located in a tablet ...

2 Impasse des passeroses 17650 Saint-Denis-d'Oléron
Du 01/04/2022 au 30/09/2022
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Fort Enet

Located between Fouras-les-Bains, pointe de la Fumée and the Island of Aix, the Fort Enet is surrounded by water at high tide and constructed under the influence of the First Empire to protect communications with the Island of Aix.
Located between Fouras-les-Bains, pointe de la Fumée and the Island of Aix, the Fort Enet is surrounded by water at high tide and constructed under the influence of the First Empire to protect communications with the Island of Aix.
Beyond its historical and architectural interest, the Fort Enet offers an incredible panoramic view on the Charente estuary.
It is possible to get to Fort Enet at low tide from Pointe de la Fumée.

The access to the fort is only possible during paid guided tours which are organised from March to October depending on the tides, by reservation with the Tourism Office of Rochefort Ocean.

pointe de la Fumée 17450 Fouras-les-Bains
Du 02/04/2022 au 29/10/2022
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Cruise "Fée des Îles" : Fouras - Tour of Fort Boyard

Head for Fort Boyard from Fouras-les-Bains.
At the end of the peninsula of Fouras-les-Bains, board the "Fée des Iles" for a boat trip around the Aix island and the Fort Boyard with an approach of the Fort Enet . 1h cruise, commentary by the crew .

Pointe de la Fumée Boulevard de la Fumée 17450 Fouras-les-Bains
Le 28/05/2022
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Marina - Fouras la fumée

Der Port de la Fumée befindet sich am äußersten Ende der Halbinsel: Richtung Pointe de la Fumée.
Der Schiffsservice der Ile d'Aix bietet täglich das ganze Jahr über Schiffsverbindungen an.
Großer Parkplatz, von November bis Februar kostenlos.
The Port de la Fumée is located at the end of the peninsula: direction Pointe de la Fumée.
The maritime service of the Island of Aix ensures the maritime connections every day of the year.
Large parking lot, free from November to February.
Numerous departures of cruises around Fort Boyard from April to September.
46°00,3 - 01°03,1
Visitor's mooring accessible at any time, 3 hours before and after high tide depending on the tidal range

Downtown at 30 min (bus connections)

Launching dock, absolute priority for the Fouras/Aix maritime links.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Pointe de la fumée Boulevard de la Fumée 17450 Fouras-les-Bains
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Orientation course Fouras-les-Bains

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses on the Fouras-les-Bains peninsula with you! Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

avenue du Bois Vert 17450 Fouras-les-Bains
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Rochefort Océan Tourist Office - Fouras les Bains Tourist Information Office

The Tourist Office offers the following services:

- reception and information

- free wifi internet access

- ticketing for museums, guided tours and events, cruises, transport

- the Rochefort Océan shop

- The Rochefort Océan Privilege card free of charge for the discounted purchase of 2 services simultaneously : Activities, visits, cruises, bike rental, bus, boat ...

This site is labeled Tourisme & Handicap (motor, mental, auditory, visual) and classified category 1, labeled Quality Tourism.

1 avenue d'Aix 17450 Fouras-les-Bains
Du 10/04/2022 au 06/07/2022
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