Oyster quest continues – Chateau d’Oléron, France

We decided to start today with a bit of fresh air and exercise so we were on our bikes to visit the lighthouse, Phare de Chassiron on the northern tip of Île d’Oléron straight after breakfast. It was good job we had had our breakfast as it was 8 degrees with a biting wind and a slight drizzle in the air 🥶 Even the dogs were shivering and they are pretty hardy our dogs. However, we were soon there and it was like visiting a closed theme park with a number of boarded up restaurants as you entered. However that meant there was no one around and the dogs could have a mad few minutes run around to warm up whilst we took some photos and look at the Atlantic. Another tick box on our journey complete.

We cycled back through St-Denis-d’Oléron but sadly it was just as quiet as before. Many of the houses had their shutters drawn and it was clear that second homes have taken over this little village. Although the village school and the mini market did seem to be open, so perhaps a few villagers remain. We decided to move further down the island to Chateau d’Oléron which looked a bit bigger and had another citadel fortification, and obviously we love a walled town! We easily found the large Aire right on the seafront and chose one of the many empty slots. There were quite a few other vans in though including another Flair so hopefully there would be more chance of oysters. We are so close to the sea that there is a constant background noise of seabirds feeding along the shoreline!

The seashore by our Aire for tonight

As soon as we were parked and powered up we were on our way to the port via the Citadel. The citadel was apparently built on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu in 1630 which seems very fun to have such an association to the Three Musketeers. Although it was modernised by Vauban, so we have also done a fairly comprehensive job of touring his fortifications in the last few weeks too. We walked along the ramparts and admired the views out to the coast. You can also see (distantly) Fort Boyard from the shore here which was used for some TV game show a few years ago.

We followed signs to the port so we did not miss the lunchtime service. The port is very cute, lots of colourful wooden huts with oyster sellers but also craft stores alongside the little harbour filled with oyster boats. Sadly they were all closed. Thankfully as we turned the corner at the end of the pier there was a large restaurant open, the only one along the way. It has a ground and first floor dining plus an outside terrace. It must have 300+ covers in the summer. We maybe here out of season and with little options available but it is clear we are missing some big crowds. Luckily not only were oysters available but also a seafood assiette complete with half a crab, langoustines and large prawns. Happy Kevin status once more achieved 😁.

Back to the motorhome after to plan our forward travel. We have limited days left in Europe (due to 90 day rule). We have a trip planned to Morocco in February, so we are beginning to think we might use our remaining days to see some of Spain on our return trip as it is getting cold here now and our log burner back home is calling!

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