On one side, the Île d'Aix, the paradise of hollyhocks twenty minutes by boat from Fouras-les-Bains and on the other, Île Madame, the smallest island in the Pertuis Charentais, a haven of peace in opposite Port-des-Barques.
We explain to you why we love these small islands of Charente-Maritime so much, and we give you our advice to make the most of them!
When we talk about the islands of Charente-Maritime, we immediately think of the Île d'Oléron and the Île de Ré. But we must not forget the two other jewels of the Atlantic coast: Aix and Madame. They are the two smallest islands of the Charente archipelago but will not fail to surprise you as soon as you arrive on their soil!
Seen from the sky, above the Atlantic, the Île d'Aix and the Île Madame seem like tiny drops placed in the middle of the immensity of the ocean. They are the most authentic of the Charente coast and almost instantly invite visitors to a change of scenery and serenity. And we're not going to lie to each other, the truly insular spirit, without a car where we live to the rhythm of the tides and the boats, makes us melt...
The Island of Aix, the “little Corsica” of Charente-Maritime
A paradise for hollyhocks, this "miniature" island 3 kilometers long and 600 meters wide offers an extraordinary playground for nature lovers. With its low and flowery houses, the village of the island looks like a postcard. The island also has very pretty coves of fine sand lined with pines and cypresses, it is a very beautiful mix between Brittany and the Côte d'Azur which welcomes you.
The island of Aix can only be reached by boat, taking the ferry from Pointe de la Fumée in Fouras-les-Bains. Connections are daily and the crossing takes about 20 minutes. On your arrival, you disembark at the quay on the side of the bastioned enclosure, in the immediate vicinity of the town center of the island with its streets and low fishermen's houses. Here, be sure to visit the Maison de la Nacre, where you will discover the know-how of one of the last mother-of-pearl in France. After the village, begin the tour of the island by the beach at Les Coquillages.
Come and collect your tickets at the reception of our local counters, so you will avoid the queues at the pier on D-Day!
Our advice to fully enjoy the island…
Is there anything to eat on the island?
Yes, there is something to eat on site: restaurants, snacks and even a small supermarket that allows you to buy the necessary. We advise you to bring your picnic and rest in the shade of the pines, along the beach of Les Coquillages.
How long does it take to go around the island?
On foot, the tour of the island is done in 3 hours. If you opt for the bike, 1 hour is enough to do the complete tour.
Can we swim on the island?
On the island, Anse de la Croix beach is the only supervised beach in July and August. The other beaches are not supervised but swimming is authorized. Only the beaches of Sables d'Or, Baby Plage and Saint-Eulard are prohibited for swimming, because of their dangerousness. Indeed, the rocks covered with oysters are too sharp and can injure bathers.
The opinion of the local counter
We prefer the ferries early in the morning to enjoy the atmosphere of the island barely awake. We prefer to go around on foot to have access to all the paths of the island and in particular those to the north, which lead to the most beautiful coves.
Find all the tourist information on the island of Aix on the website ofthe Tourist Office
Madame Island, wild and mysterious
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Charente-Maritime, this thin strip of land 800 meters long and 400 meters wide is the smallest island in the Charente archipelago. It is connected to the mainland by a road of sand and pebbles of about 1 kilometer, called the Passe-aux-bœufs.
Virtually untouched by any construction, the island can be explored on foot. This haven of peace, wild and preserved will make you "addicted" to its ocean sweetness.
The coastline of the island consists exclusively of rocks, small cliffs and pebble beaches. Even before arriving on the island, you can already see the carrelets, these famous fishing pontoons typical of the Charente coast. If you want to take the opportunity to fish from these pontoons, you will have to be patient and wait for the rising tide. The squares of Île Madame are, for us, the most beautiful in the department: elegant, harmonious and reassuring. And for those who prefer shore fishing, welcome to paradise! Our favorite spots: the orchard, the blades and the toureau.
Find all the tourist information for Île Madame on the Rochefort-Océan Tourist Office website: