The island of Olèron is a beautiful patch of land just off the southwestern French coast. The place has been a holiday destination for thousands of tourists that come here annually ever since the 19th century.
Being only 3km away from the mainland, Ile de Olèron is connected with the continent by a road bridge that was once considered the longest construction in France when it was inaugurated in 1966. If you are vacationing in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, or just enjoying the sunny beaches of Fouras, you should not miss the opportunity to visit Olèron on a short afternoon trip.
History of Olèron
The island of Olèron is the perfect holiday destination for history buffs. It is the second largest islet governed by France, after Corsica and it boasts a rich cultural heritage that dates back to the Roman age. Some of the most outstanding accounts regarding Olèron date back to the 7th century when the island was part of the Vacetian Islands, which were under the influence of the nearby Basque population.
During the Second World War, the island of Olèron played a significant part in the defensive line of the German occupation. The French army finally took back the islet in 1945 following a massive artillery attack on the Nazi troops.
The natural splendors of Olèron
The best thing about Olèron is that you can visit it all year long. Due to the Gulf Stream current and the temperate climate of Western Europe, the island enjoys a pleasant weather regardless of the changing seasons.
A trip around Olèron can take you from the sandy beaches in the west to the center of the island where small hills of green grass offer a breathtaking imagery. Further venturing across the beautiful French island can reveal large oyster beds at low tide and majestic sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.
A fertile land and a bestowing sea
The inhabitants of Olèron have been thoroughly rewarded by the island’s natural richness over the centuries. Besides the large fishing areas located on its shores, Olèron also benefits from a fertile land that produces abundant crops every year.
Like in many other French regions, the vineyard is the primary culture on the island of Olèron. The local wine is a delicious, tasty version of the Bordeaux liqueur and it is one of the many reasons of local pride for the residents. A visit to Olèron should also include a circuit of the local distilleries where they produce one of the best assortments of cognac in the world.
A holiday on the island of Olèron
The island of Olèron has little over 22,000 inhabitants. However, that number triples in size during the high season when tourists from all over the world come to relax on its shores. If you are traveling around western France, you should not miss a short trip to this lovely island, even if it’s just for a few hours.
Long-term leisure holidays in Olèron are a great way of exploring the Nouvelle-Aquitaine area. Daily trips to nearby Fouras, La Rochelle, and the Fort Boyard can offer a delightful escape from your usual daily routine.