Last few days of island life
Days five, six and seven of our camping holiday on Île d'Oleron were spent on Saumonards beach on the island's north east. It was the first time we'd ventured in that direction and, as usual, cycleway made the journey pretty easy.
I'll have mentioned on one of our first two trips to the island that it's criss crossed by cycleway. I think they're for the benefit of motorists as much as bikers, as the angry toot of the horn a cyclist on the road received as we passed by on the cycleway adjacent. He had a road bike and its tires would have been completely unsuited to the rough track designated for cyclists, so my tip here is that a mountain bike is a must, flat though the island is.
The beach at Saumonards was quieter, and the sea calmer than on the west coast. You can see across to La Rochelle and, when the sky is clear, you can see the bridge that crosses from the mainland to Île de Ré.
Prior to the last day we'd spend on this beach we cycled to La Brée-les-Bains with the intention of visiting what appeared to be a harbour we could see from further along the coast.
We were correct and the harbour, one of three on the island, is in the little town of Le Douhet. The beach here was quiet, as was the little town. Three or four bars and restaurants across the road from the moorings looked promising.
We cycled over the sand back south to the section of beach on which we liked to chill out. Had the tide been a little further out this would have been easier, but as it was we had to lift our bikes over the rocks that form several lengths of man-made groynes.
Rather worn out from three days of cycling across the breadth of the island we spent our eighth and final day on the beach next to the campsite in Vert Bois. We were one of the first on the beach and able to grab the best of several stone walls built up by the dunes. We referred to it as our castle!
We'll be sad to be leaving tomorrow but do so safe in the knowledge there's plenty left to see on Île d'Oleron next time, and there will be a next time!