A stage on the route to Santiago de Compostela, Our Lady of Land's End in Soulac was built at the beginning of the 12th century.
Between the 14th and the 15th century, the area silted up raising the ground level by three meters so a new entrance had to be built for the basilica. But in the middle of the 15th century, the inhabitants of Soulac decided to leave the land to the sand and build another more accessible church.
It was only in 1859 that work was undertaken to release Our Lady of Land's End from the tyranny of the sand, but the first three meters of sand excavated were retained, so as not to undermine the foundations on the side. This Romanesque church is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Blaye celebrated the 400th anniversary of its lighthouse in 2006. Take the opportunity to explore this grandfather of lighthouses which was officially classed as a historic monument in 1862. Located on a rocky islet 7 km offshore, the Cordouan lighthouse stands 66 metres tall. A monumental doorway gives access to the stairwell, where 311 steps can be climbed up to the lantern.
On the way up, visitors can discover the king's apartments on the first floor and the chapel on the second floor.
At the top, it's an exhilarating feeling: the light from the lamp can reach nearly 40 kilometres, and the view from up here is astonishing. You can see all the way from the Gironde estuary to the La Coubre Forest.
If you want, you can extend your visit: stop off at the Museum of the Cordouan Lighthouse, in Verdon-sur-Mer to learn more about the fascinating history of this local landmark.
Located 15km to the South of Royan, the village of Talmont-sur-Gironde overlooks a rocky outcrop above the Gironde estuary. Its fortified design has remained intact since it was built in 1284 by Edward I of England.
Listed as one of the "plus beaux villages de France", Talmont-sur-Gironde stands out due to its aquatic and marshland environment, as well as its essential Roman church dating back to the 12th century: the Sainte-Radegonde church.
The Gironde is the joint estuary for two rivers: the Garonne and the Dordogne. Its waters lap two departments, the Gironde and the Charente-Maritime. The estuary is 75 kilometres long and 12 km wide at its mouth. It' s the largest in Western Europe, covering an area of 635 km.
The Gironde estuary has a rich history given the importance of seaborne trading. The mouth can be precisely delimited by three points: Pointe de la Négade, Cordouan Lighthouse and Pointe de la Coubre. On one side it waters the Medoc vineyards and on the other the Blaye vineyards, the famous vineyards of Bordeaux.
La Palmyre Zoo in Charente-Maritime takes you along a 4-km marked trail to see 1,600 animals from 130 different species. Located in the 18-hectare park of the same name, the zoo is one of the best known in Europe.
As well as mammals, birds and reptiles, it has several endangered species including the white rhinoceros and an important breeding programme.
La Palmyre Zoo was founded by animal enthusiast Claude Caillé in 1966, who had formed a travelling zoo ten years earlier. He gave the sixty animals a permanent home amidst a three-hectare pine forest, attracting 129,500 visitors in just a few months.