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What to do in La Cotinière on the Ile d’Oléron: visit the port and fish market

Saint Trojan port

La Cotinière is a charming fishing port on the west coast of the Ile d’Oléron. We think it’s one of the island’s must-visit villages, with its lively port, fish market and pretty craft stores.

We’re currently living on the Ile d’Oléron, and we’d like to share some of our best addresses with you. Here’s our selection of things to do in La Cotinière during your stay on the Ile d’Oléron.

ile d'oléron port de la cotinière

What to do in La Cotinière on the Ile d’Oléron?

Visit the port of La Cotinière

One of the island’s main activities is fishing: the port of La Cotinière is France’s 7th largest fishing port, and the largest in Charente-Maritime.

We recommend taking a stroll around the harbor to watch the small boats, and perhaps witness the return of the fishing boats. You can watch the bustle of activity around the fish auction. This will give you an authentic insight into local maritime life.

Guided tours are available to learn more about the port’s assets and the various fishing techniques, and some tours also include a visit to the fish auction.

The best thing to do when you’re in the port of Cotinère is to sample a delicious ice cream from theAngelys ice cream parlour, sitting on one of the benches facing the port. You’ll probably come across us doing the same thing as you!

Tour times and prices are available from the island’s various tourist offices. Out of season, 1 visit per week is organized on average.

Visit the fish market

The fish auction is the place where seafood products are sold by auction. During the high season, and once a month the rest of the year, you can attend morning guided tours of the newly renovated fish market.

These tours will give you an insight into how the auctions work, and how the fish are sorted, classified and sold. An instructive experience to discover what goes on behind the scenes of artisanal fishing.

For early risers, watching the fish being unloaded can be an emotional experience. You’ll see the hustle and bustle of sailors unloading fish, and the efficiency of the chain that brings them to market.

Tour times and prices are available from the island’s various tourist offices.

ile d'oléron port de la cotinière

Day and night markets in La Cotinière

During the school vacations, the port of La Cotinière is one of the liveliest spots on the island of Oleron. To sample local produce and discover local specialities such as Marennes-Oléron oysters or the famous salted butter caramels, take advantage of the markets held regularly in the village.

It’s also the place to discover and exchange with local craftsmen, where you can find quality souvenirs: jewelry, decorative objects, textile creations… In high season, the market takes place every morning, and a night market with a foodtruck is organized every week.

The beaches of La Cotinière

The beaches at La Cotinière are not suitable for swimming, but there are a few pleasant spots to sunbathe near the church.

If you’re looking for beaches with stretches of white sand as far as the eye can see, you can head south of the fishing port to the Matha beach, which is swimmable at high tide. The beach is easily accessible by bike. We recommend the large and beautiful beach of Vert Bois, a few kilometers south of La Cotinière. One of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Oleron, in our opinion!

Vert Bois beach île d'oleron

Discover Saint-Nicolas church

This little church is well worth a visit. Take a moment to admire its construction and, why not, cool off on a hot summer’s day.

Explore the island by bike from La Cotinière

The island of Oléron is criss-crossed with cycle paths that will take you through a variety of landscapes.

We think that La Cotinère is a good base for your stay, as several cycle paths pass through the village. From La Cotinière, a track leads north to the Chassiron lighthouse, passing through the small villages of Domino and Chaucre. The same track leads to the southern beaches, and finally another cycle path takes you to the village of Saint Pierre d’Oleron.


Where to eat in La Cotinière?

  • La Sardinnerie: the ideal restaurant for eating fresh products from the fish market opposite the harbour.
  • Fishmongers: at the Halles (opposite the port), several fishmongers offer fresh fish direct from the fish auction. It’s an opportunity to have the freshest seafood for your meals.
  • La Lumineuse, in La Cotinière, is a cannery made in Oléron! For the different products, they favor local fishing as much as possible. Manufactured on site, our products contain no additives, colorants or preservatives.

Which hotel to stay at in La Cotinière?

On the island of Oleron, things to do and see are spread out over the whole island. We therefore advise you to choose a central accommodation to be able to go to the different points of interest easily.

The best place to stay is on the coast near La Cotinière, you can easily access one of the great beaches of the wild coast and you can enjoy the many night activities in high season.

Avec vue océan et piscine

Hôtel Île de Lumière à la Cotinière, idéalement situé, avec accès océan et à quelques minutes à pied du très animé port de pêche de La Cotinière. La décoration bord de mer, avec ses teintes douces et reposantes, apporte tout de suite un esprit de vacances au soleil. Situé sur la côte ouest, l’emplacement central vous permettra de visiter facilement à la fois le sud et le nord de l’île. Parking gratuit + petit déjeuner. Bref, foncez-y !

Which campsite to stay at?

Camping les Flots Atlantique village: we tested this campsite with our motorhome. It’s ideally located south of the fishing port of La Cotinière on the coast near Dolus-d’Oléron and La Pérroche beach. If you go kitsurfing, part of the beach is reserved for this activity.

It’s a family campsite on the Ile d’Oléron, on a human scale, with direct access to the ocean, by a small footpath, which offers bungalows, tents, chalets for rent. An ideal choice at a low price.

Camping les Flots Atlantique village

– Localisation : sur la côte au sud de la Cotinière et à proximité de Dolus-d’Oléron 

– Prix : €

– Avantages : avec accès direct à l’océan, petit camping, activités sportives pig-pong, mini golf…

We had a lot of fun writing this article about this island that we love and know (almost) by heart. We would like to thank our families and friends who have given us valuable advice. We also update this article regularly since we come here regularly.

If you enjoyed reading it as much as we did writing it, feel free to give it 5 stars below!

We wish you an excellent stay in Oleron ! Feel free to leave us a quick note or 5 stars below, to tell us if you’re planning this trip, to ask any questions you may have, here or on Instagram, we’ll get back to you with great pleasure.

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Je m'appelle Floriane, aventurière et passionnée de voyages depuis mon plus jeune âge. J'aime plus que tout partager nos récits et astuces de voyage avec vous. Nous aimons les escapades courtes ainsi que les voyages longs. Ce blog est né après notre Tour du Monde en sac à dos. Nous avons également réalisé un tour d'Europe en famille.

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