Visit Talmont-sur-Gironde, fortified city in the Charente

Talmont-sur-Gironde
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Want a ride? Discover the picturesque village of Talmont-sur-Gironde perched on a promontory on the Charentais coastline forming a peninsula at the edge of the Gironde estuary . 15km south of Royan, this old fortified city , surrounded by ramparts, is classified among “The Most Beautiful Villages of France” and labeled “Small city of character” by its remarkable heritage . We walked its small streets and walked the charming path that goes around the village, offering superb panoramas of the ocean . An iodized parenthesis steeped in history for a guaranteed change of scenery !


Talmont-sur-Gironde, a village that can be visited on foot


Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

The small port of Talmont at low tide

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde      Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

The squares of the village of Caillaux

Arriving on the outskirts of this medieval country house surrounded by fortifications, large parking lots welcome visitors. And for good reason. Composed of small narrow streets lined with old houses, this village of a hundred inhabitants explores on foot to soak up all its charm and serenity . From the parking lot, we reach the small port where we used to fish for sturgeon for its eggs, the famous caviar, and today lean, shad, lamprey and pibales. A stop is necessary to admire the row of plaice on the other side of the bay over the village of Caillaux , these wooden fishermen's huts, mounted on stilts, are linked to the cliff by a pontoon. Talmond-sur-Gironde has some superb examples of these traditional installations typical of the region's coastline which we discover with wonder. An undeniable attraction of the village!

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

Talmont squares, a real heritage

We then take the path of the remains of the White Tower towards the church which dominates the village, one of the most beautiful in Charente-Maritime . From the path, superb panoramic views of the ocean, the estuary and the cliffs of Meschers-sur-Gironde are revealed.

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

The path goes around the village

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

A break to observe the wild landscape of the estuary


The Sainte-Radegonde church and its panorama over the estuary

At the edge of the cliff, adjoining the unusual marine cemetery, the Sainte-Radegonde church , protector of sailors, is an essential treasure of 12th century Romanesque art . Its pure Saintongeais style reveals a remarkable architecture : its chevet and its north portal with sculpted decoration, its cupola decorated with medieval sculptures, gargoyles and arcades.

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde       Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

The Sainte-Ragonde church

We take the time to get lost in the small alleys and to walk the alleys full of charm with the old whitewashed houses and built very low in order to limit the catch in the wind. We stroll through the craft shops and enjoy chatting with artists from small independent galleries. The tranquility and the sweetness of life make this village a restful place with a friendly atmosphere. No wonder Talmont-sur-Gironde has become the third most visited site in the department, behind the La Rochelle Aquarium and the La Palmyre zoo. Jewel of the Charentais heritage , this pretty city on the right bank of the estuary attracts nearly 500,000 visitors each year.

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde     Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde


We chose to visit the village in low season to quietly savor its timeless atmosphere. We return to the port after a few hours of epicurean strolls to attend a striking spectacle : the squares in front of the sun which disappears on the horizon offer a postcard decor! The last lights of the day sublimate the landscapes of the coast of Talmont-sur-Gironde with a wonderful palette of fiery colors.

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

Squares in front of the sunset

The tumultuous history of the bastide town of Talmont-sur-Gironde

Since the Middle Ages, Charente-Maritime has faced multiple invasions . Many fortifications today bear witness to this bygone era. Originally, Talmont-sur-Gironde was founded by the King of England and the Duke of Aquitaine Edward I in 1284 . This old country house, town of merchants and craftsmen, overlooking the Gironde estuary, was once a formidable stronghold which had to surround itself with ramparts to protect its inhabitants and its economy. As early as 1293, Talmont returned to the French fold and therefore experienced incessant lust. During the Hundred Years War between 1337 to 1453, one of the most famous conflicts of the Middle Ages, Talmont was hotly contested between French and English .

This port village is known to be also a land of pirates . In the 1440s, Talmont embodied a piracy base from which ships passing through the Gironde estuary were looted and ransomed!

At the heart of a conflict that greatly affected Charente-Maritime, Talmont fell into the hands of Protestants in 1563 during the Wars of Religion but was immediately taken over by Catholics.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Talmont was a prosperous town, living mainly from the activity of its commercial port . A stopover much appreciated by sailors who disembarked from the numerous boats en route to Bordeaux .

Today, this tormented past has given way to calm and tranquility. The discovery of this isolated village on a piece of land surrounded by the ocean, gives a real feeling of escape in low season, away from the big tourist flows.

Visit of Talmont-sur-Gironde

Talmont perched on the peninsula


Have a nice walk in Talmont-sur-Gironde!


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Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson for the Charente Maritime Guide



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