Visit the Charente Maritime museums

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In museums of the Charente Maritime, you will discover the Gallo-Roman ruins, a rich architectural heritage of the Middle Ages and the 19th century, and traces of religious persecution. But also objects from the life of yesteryear , old tools , local products ... The ocean gives rhythm to life on its coasts and in its lands: seafaring trades , traditions and customs , maritime economy , ... It is a real culture well represented in cultural spaces .

After the construction of the first Gallo-Roman cities around Saintes, its Atlantic coast has seen all kinds of invaders land on its coasts, over the course of its long history. The Middle Ages was a time of strong construction of castles and fortified towns during the 100 Years War . Then the multiple episodes of the wars of religion caused much destruction. The Catholic and Protestant communities have torn each other, marking the hearts of the inhabitants, transforming lifestyles and leaving traces: documents, furniture, fitting out caves and caches… Finally, it is Vauban's fortifications that have marked the territory. But these multiple influences have also created a culture , both rebellious, free and open to the world , conducive to art and creativity . This atmosphere will attract tourists from around the world in his new resorts, appointed the 18th to 20th centuries. We take you to discover this exceptional heritage and this incredible history …, through the museums of Charente Maritime .

Paleosite

Paleosite of Saint-Césaire

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Museums on history


The history of a region forges its character… Knowing the great events and anecdotes of the past will allow you to better understand the identity of this territory. The visit of certain emblematic places is an immersive experience to penetrate the heart of the country !

  • Paléosite de Saint Césaire: You will have access to the first interpretation center in Europe , at the cutting edge of technology . You follow an interior course with interactive rooms: projections, virtual reality, life-size prehistoric animals ... Then you walk in a shaded natural site with reconstructions , animations and workshops to experiment the techniques of the time.

  • Archaeological Museum of Saintes: It traces daily life in all its aspects (furniture, food, clothing and jewelry, games, lifestyles ...) in the city of Mediolanum , on the site of the current city of Saintes.

  • Museum and Gallo-Roman site of Fâ , in Barzan: The furniture discovered and presented by the museum shows us the economic importance of this ancient city . The visit continues through the ruins of the city , outdoors. Animations in costumes bring them back to life regularly.

  • Ernest Cognacq Museum in Saint Martin de Ré: This is THE museum you have to visit to find out everything about the Ile de Ré . He tells you the history of the island from its first settlement to the present day, from all angles: the arts , its military past and Vauban's fortifications , everyday objects ...

  • La Rochelle New World Museum : The relations between America and La Rochelle are deep and ancient. In this museum, all this history between France and the new world will be told to you.

  • La Rochelle Bunker Museum : A bunker built in the city center during the Second World War has remained intact for 70 years. It is a real immersion in a dark period in the history of La Rochelle .

Paleosite

Photo: Paleosite of Saint-Cézaire

Saintes

Photo: The Gallo-Roman arenas of Saintes

Fa website

Photo: Gallo-Roman museum-site of Fâ, in Barzan

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Museums on local life, the environment and culture


Museums on the life and trades of yesteryear , customs and traditions , everyday objects or activities, the environment and nature, such as ecomuseums , will allow you to get into the atmosphere of the culture of this territory .

  • Center Nature du Marais Poitevin , in Taugon: It specializes in environmental education and therefore offers educational tours , with experiments , sports activities and very fun activities .

  • Caves of Matata and Régulus , in Meschers-sur-Gironde: these troglodyte sites , carved into the limestone cliffs , were used as habitat before housing a museum. The visit will tell you their stories and legends . Various activities make it a very lively place . Among other things, " strolls at dusk " allow you to enjoy the magnificent sunsets , " Nocturnes " for a more unusual visit and a treasure hunt for children.

  • Ecomusée du Marais Salant , in Loix, on the Ile de Ré: The site offers an exhibition to understand how this ecosystem works , its history and salt production techniques. Then the guided tour will take you to the heart of the marsh to see the specific flora and fauna .

  • Ecomusée du Cognac , in Migron: In this museum of winegrowers and distillers , the ancestral know-how of these trades will be revealed to you, within the distillery itself . In the " Chai des arômes ", you will live a sensory experience , to recognize and appreciate the perfumes of Cognac , the aromas of Pineau des Charentes … Two workshops show you the grafting of the vine and the making of a barrel .

  • La Flotte Platin Museum , on the Ile de Ré : This museum presents the arts and traditions of the Ile de Ré in the form of fun activities, often outdoors to stay in touch with this island and marine environment : escape-game, walk guide in the village, route with survey booklet, visit of the Abbey of Châteliers, oyster farming, introduction to fishing ...

  • Museum of the shops of yesteryear , in Rochefort: It's a unique shopping trip! You will also discover the trades of yesteryear of the trade, the old shops with the old- fashioned charm of the 20 th century and original advertising objects .

  • The stone of Crazanne : This museum offers you a real journey, in the heart of a natural and protected area . You descend into the quarries, then you follow the path of the quarrymen. During the guided tour, you can also participate in workshops or play games to explore this little-known world of stone quarries .

  • Talmont-sur-Gironde Museum : It presents local history, fishing and the estuary.

Regulus Caves

Photo: Cave of Regulus in Meschers-sur-Gironde

Old-time shops museum

Photo: Museums of yesteryear shops, in Rochefort

Around the sea

  • La Rochelle Aquarium : This is one of the most beautiful aquariums in Europe and a must for immersion in this underwater world . It takes you on a tour of oceans and seas around the world!

  • Maritime Museum of La Rochelle: This museum tells you about the entire history of the link between La Rochelle and the sea, in a very authentic fishing port atmosphere .

  • Cité de l'Huitre de Marennes: You enter the territory of the famous “Marennes Oléron” . You follow a course in four “cabins”, with four atmospheres and themes on oysters and the Seudre marsh .

  • Ecomusée du Port des Barques : You enter these old traditional oyster huts, to discover oyster farming , in all its aspects: the life of the oyster, the profession of oyster farmer, tools and breeding equipment ... at the end of the visit, a tasting is offered. Children will be able to learn about " plaice fishing " or " balance ".

  • Phare des Baleines , in Saint-Clément-les-baleines: It is a complete tourist site on the island of Ré , with a lighthouse for an exceptional panorama , a lighthouse museum to better understand their role, a preserved natural park .

  • National Maritime Museum , in Rochefort: Guided tours, conferences, workshops, and original activities, such as the escape game… This museum will make you see the National Navy differently

  • Center International de la Mer (Corderie Royale) , in Rochefort: The Corderie Royale de Rochefort is a rope factory. You will learn all about the history, manufacture and use of ropes.

  • Rochefort Naval Aeronautics Museum : The main purpose of this space is to restore and store aircraft used for training naval aeronautics mechanics . It is therefore an impressive and lively collection that you can admire.

  • Hermione-La Fayette Association in Rochefort: An exhibition explains the history of this exceptional boat and workshops show you its specificities: sailmaking, pulley clinic, rigging workshop, restoration site ...

La Rochelle aquarium

Photo: La Rochelle Aquarium

City of the Marennes oyster

Photo: City of the Oyster of Marennes

Art in all its forms


Charente Maritime and La Rochelle , above all, are reputed to be rebels. They are free souls who need to express themselves… The arts have therefore been well represented there and for a very long time. But it is also a country that looks into the distance and receives the many influences of the world by sea!

  • Hèbre Museum , in Rochefort: It is an art and history museum which presents a large collection of paintings and objects from Africa, Asia and Oceania . It highlights maritime trade between Rochefort and the whole world.

  • Museum Echevinage Saintes: Situated in the beautiful building of the former town hall, you can admire paintings, sculptures, ceramics and porcelain from the 15th to 20th centuries.

  • Museum Dupuy Mestreau in Saintes: This is an art museum on the local It includes works from the 19th and 20th centuries, including paintings, ceramics, prints ... A reconstruction of a main room of a house and various objects such as costumes, headdresses, weapons,… will show you the life of the time .

  • Cordeliers Museum in Saint-Jean-d'Angély: It is a very eclectic museum . You will find a chronicle of Citroën expeditions in Africa in the 1920s and in Asia in the 1930s, and works of art, linked to the history of the city.

  • Museum of Fine Arts of La Rochelle: In the former episcopal palace , the museum has a fine collection of European paintings and artists from the region.

  • Royan Museum : Through the collection of Fine Arts, you unveils the history of the city from antiquity to the 18th century. Particular interest is given to the “ Belle Epoqueperiod in this seaside resort with its original architecture .

Echevinage museum

Photo: Musée de l'Echevinage de Saintes

Dupuy-Mestreau Museum

Photo: Dupuy-Mestreau Museum

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Museums around leisure and games


Games, toys, unusual and funny , museums are not always serious. You can also have fun, laugh and share good times with your family!

  • La Rochelle Automata and Model Museum: This museum takes you to a world that is both mechanical and mysterious . What a magical moment to see all these automatons set in motion! We find our childlike soul, eyes widen and it's a good time to share with family.

  • Les Trésors de Lisette Museum , in Saintes: It's a journey through time . You are the "Belle Epoque", in the middle of these everyday objects in the early 20th century. It is a very exotic museum.

  • Postcard Museum , in Mortagne sur Gironde: This museum tells you the story of Mortagne, through a very fine collection of old postcards .

  • Musée Histoire du Landau , in Saujon: This is the personal collection of two enthusiasts of prams and strollers for children .

  • Museum of the Miniature of Saint-Savinien: It takes you into the daily life of our grandparents thanks to A kingdom of dolls houses ...

Miniature Museum

Photo: Saint-Savinien miniature museum

Museums around science and technology ...


If you are thirsty for culture, many more general museums will satisfy all your desires. Sciences, in general, natural history… There is something for everyone.

  • Museum of Natural History , in La Rochelle: Archeology, ethnology, botany, zoology, mineralogy,… It's a very complete museum!

  • Former School of Medicine , Rochefort: It is the first medical school in the world . It is part of the Rochefort maritime arsenal . The museum presents the school as it was in the 19th century.

  • Maison du Transbordeur , in Echillais: You will take the gondola to arrive at the Maison du Pont transporter, in order to understand this extraordinary renovation project .

  • Railway Museum, in Mornac sur Seudre : Created by passionate volunteers, the museum reveals the history of the railway and explains the design of a railway, the principles of signaling, the operation of trains ...

Here is our tour of the Charente Maritime museums completed. Whatever your field of predilection, you will surely find your happiness there to cultivate you , to learn or to satisfy your curiosity .



Did you like our article? Find more on our Blog . Follow us on the Facebook page of the Guide de la Charente Maritime and on Instagram @guidecharentemaritime.


Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Guide de la Charente Maritime.


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