Sports and activities

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Sports & Activities

Quad bikes

The best quad bikes we’ve found to date are at Les Mathes, near La Palmyre. You follow the leader on a one-hour guided course through sand dunes, over a range of sometimes tricky bridges and surrounded by, er, dinosaurs. There’s also an opportunity to zoom ahead at the end, testing your speed and dexterity. Suitable for all ages, and enormous fun.

For a taster, and especially for younger kids, you can try a 15-minute session at a track on the Avenue Louis Bouchet, just outside Royan.

Go Karts

There’s a go kart track nearby in Saint Jean d’Angély, where you can take part in a 15-minute race on well-maintained equipment. Slightly further away is a somewhat better track at ???, which will test your mettle.

Water skiing

We recommend the water skiing at Taillebourg, where you can ski on the river Charente. Beginners get a rigid pole they can hang onto, and more advanced skiers can use a traditional rope. The perfect introduction.

Jet skis

We haven’t tried any of these ourselves – they are the most expensive water-based pastime you can indulge in – but you can hire jet skis in La RochelleSaint Georges de Didonne, La Palmyre and Royan.

River craft

You can take out kayaks and motor boats at Port d’Envaux (see here for more on that location), and also at the Plan d’Eau in Saint Jean d’Angély.

For an altogether more gentle experience, visit the so-called Venise Vert – literally, Green Venice – where you can take a punt out on a river whose surface is covered by green foliage, giving it a truly remarkable appearance.

Young children will love the miniature boats at Saint Savinien, which are perfect scale reproductions of paddle ships, pirate ships and even the cross-channel ferry.

Swimming

There’s an excellent indoor pool in Saint Jean d’Angély, with water slides as well as a full-length swimming pool. Note that like many French institutions, it closes for lunch.

Cycling

The best urban cycling is to be found in La Rochelle, where you can rent bikes by the hour and cycle along the coastal path to beaches in both directions.

Parc Aventures

An aerial assault course, similar to Go Ape in the UK, that will see you tackling rope bridges, high wires and many more physically challenging obstacles high up in the trees. It’s perfectly safe – you’ll wear a harness – but it’s not an activity for the faint-hearted.

Sports equipment

Fancy buying your own sporting gear? The vast Decathlon store in La Rochelle has everything from archery to fly fishing, from pétanque to weight lifting – as well as a wide range of bicycles, kayaks and every sort of sporting activity you could imagine.

 

Other activities

Zoos

The two best zoos are La Palmyre, near Royan, and Zoodyssee, near Chizé forest. They are quite different in character, La Palmyre has big cats and elephants and Zoodyssee has less exotic animals set in a huge 30 hectare park.

Futuroscope

Futuroscope is a cinematic theme park near Poitiers. It is worth staying to the final show at around ten o’clock with lasers and fire works.

Brocantes

Brocantes, puces (flea markets) and vide greniers (car boot sales – literally, ’empty lofts’) are held regularly throughout the region. You can find out about sales in the area through brocabrac.fr, or download their app.

Museums

This part of the world is full of great museums. Check out the one in Saint Jean d’Angély, or the others in various towns in the region.

Find the activities

Quads Les Mathes
downriver.sealer.adamant

Quads Royan
dormant.steroids.bracelets

Water skiing Taillebourg
theory.headfirst.basins

Jet ski La Rochelle
went.food.helping

Jet ski Saint Georges di Didonne
only.cockle.sleep

Jet ski La Palmyre
prayers.inflames.impacts

Jet ski Royan
folk.reddens.transistor

Port d’Envaux
rolling.steadier.accountancy

Plan d’Eau, Saint Jean d’Angély
lumps.mitten.outvoted

Venise Vert
superiors.makeup.among

Saint Savinien
tilting.collectively.tardy

Swimming pool Saint Jean d’Angély
makeups.wiggly.guzzle

Cycle hire La Rochelle
owner.coverage.affair

Parc Aventures Saint Georges de Didonne
unregulated.irrational.establishing

Decathlon La Rochelle
form.slimy.coupler

Zoo – La Palmyre
smarten.putty.grapes

Zoo – Zoodyssee
lace.gets.insides

Futuroscope
dining.mammal.never