Discovery and visit to Madame Island in Charente-Maritime

Port-des-Barques
Discovery and visit t ...

What a charming name is that of Île Madame which makes you want to visit it just by pronouncing it. And you would be wrong to deprive yourself of it. This small piece of land and sand bathed by the Atlantic Ocean is the smallest island in Charente-Maritime, but not the least impressive. Its location offers breathtaking panoramas and an essential walk in the countryside to breathe fresh salty air. Put on your sneakers and follow us to discover Île Madame in Charente-Maritime.

Opening photo: Philippe Devanne / AdobeStock

Where is Madame Island?

It's all well and good to tell you about it, but to visit it, you have to locate it. You can see it between the island of Oléron and the island of Ré, on the left bank of the Charente estuary opposite Fort Boyard, between the Fouras peninsula and the island of Aix. To find your way inland, Madame Island is 50 km south of La Rochelle, 50 km north of Royan and 20 km west of Rochefort. This time there are no more excuses not to go to the smallest island in Charente-Maritime, you have all the data necessary to find it.

Go to Île Madame, a natural site in Charente-Maritime

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Go to Madame Island

Now that you are facing this small piece of land in the heart of the ocean, it is a matter of accessing it to visit it. Unfortunately, it is not up to you to decide since the tides set the rhythm and open the passage to the Passe aux Boeufs, departing from the Port des Barques, only at low tide. You will therefore have to be patient to discover this one-kilometre pebble and sand path, which you can take on foot, by bike, by horse-drawn carriage or by car.

We recommend that you take a day, with a picnic or an afternoon to visit Île Madame, you can quickly get around it! Even in winter it's nice!

Ile Madame Photo: Lurii / Adobe Stock
Ile Madame Photo: Lurii / Adobe Stock

Take a tour of Madame Island

Several options are available to you to travel the 6 km around Île Madame. The most courageous explore the trails on foot for a 2-hour stroll, or climb on a bike to pedal with the wind along the ocean. If you want an unusual walk, climb aboard Madame's carriage, a unique means of transport that takes you to explore the island. Discover the seaside resort of Fouras-les-Bains and its Fort Vauban, see off the coast the island of Aix and its twin lighthouses, and contemplate the carrelets, pretty fishermen's houses on stilts which color the island Madame.


Visit the nearby island of Aix ! She's a little bigger and just as charming!


Madame Island in winter
Madame Island in winter

Discover the activities of Madame Island

Once the tour of the island is finished, the visit is not over. On Madame Island, you can visit the island fort with “ Les Cabanes de l'Estuaire-Écomusée de Port-des-Barques ”, which explains the history and architecture of the island. Exhibitions can also be discovered in 3 casemates which reveal the evolution of the fauna and flora of this classified natural site. Depending on the tide, it is even possible to visit them after dark , an unforgettable experience where the light of the night offers a new vision of the island. Finally, you cannot miss the aquaculture farm , the only one on the island which produces the specialties of Charente-Maritime including oysters, clams, samphire and salt. Discover the farm and end with a gourmet break in a privileged setting.


Read our article on the lighthouses of Charente Maritime, an unmissable and somewhat magical heritage of the coast...

The squares of Madame Island Photo: AdobeStock JAG-IMAGES
Crossing the island madame

Nature has many surprises in store and Madame Island is one that is pleasant to visit when the weather and tide permit. Escape for the day and enjoy a moment away from the world on the smallest island in Charente-Maritime.

Did you like our article? Visit our blog and the Facebook Page of the Charente Maritime Guide , to discover good tips, beautiful photos and information on this territory. Find us also on Instagram @guidecharentemaritime




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