We've stayed on the south-western part of île d'Oléron - blessed with many long sandy beaches within reach of cycling. The huge stretch of beach (all parts not accessible to the public, hence broken up in different beaches) started south of Saint-Trojan (jip, one more saint) at Plage de Gatseau, pass the Pointe de Maumusson, where a tourist train can drop you just north of the point, and continues along the western side of the island until just south of La Cotinière. One can also walk from Plage de Gatseau to the point where the train drops people at the beach, which is what JL decided we'll do the one day - during the heat wave. Below: the forest at Plage de Gatseau, our starting point. All across the island you get the scent of pine trees.
Between low and high tide you have a difference of 6m. This being an area where 50% of France's oysters are produced, you'll always find people during low tide searching for oysters and other kinds of shells.
While walking through the forest one still have a view on the beach, so I could take a photo of 2 men who had a good harvest of seafood...
Eventually the sand became difficult to walk on and we started to follow the railway line (at least the train warns you when arriving, not that you cannot hear it coming! it is very eco-friendly, being operated on recycled cooking oil)
The beautiful long beach, not too many people, good waves and hot water. On the far end people were playing with char à voile - it has wheels and a sail, with one or two seats in and you can drive it along the beach (we wanted to do it, but the holiday was a bit too short for all!)
I was complaining so much by the time that we've arrived at the beach due to the heat (we had no hats and it was one of those days you needed one when out in the sun!) and the difficulty to walk in the sand, that we bought a train ticket to go back to Plage de Gatseau after spending some time at the beach. Below is not the train though (I think it is an older version), it is the small take-away shop where you can buy food and drinks, with some wooden table and benches to sit down. The train stops opposite it and turn around the restaurant to go back.
Arriving at Plage de Gatseau we've decided to go to St Trojan to find lunch and orangina, their popular orange cooldrink, with a bit of a fizz, but not too much, and very refreshing. We've arrived in a ghost town, as the shops all shut down for a looong lunch (that is the town centre, the restaurants around the port are all busy) and found a friendly café in the main street, with its huge Captain Hook in the corner (checking if people pay before they leave?)
Going for a picnic on the beach close to the hotel at sunset
Between the hotel where we've stayed and the beach was a few houses and then a forest. We could pass the houses by a narrow path, taking us directly into the forest from where we could access the beach. Even though the typical Charente houses are white with colourful shutters, you find some stone houses as well (some old, some new). This was a beautiful house, looking relatively new, and as you can guess, these type of houses are not cheap to build, so no surprise that the car's number plate indicated the owners to be Parisian