ILE D’OLERON Located
off the beautiful southwest Atlantic coast near
NATURE LOVE OLERON
largest island in France, you can find a different spot for yourself every day of the year.
La Hune has now been
LA HUNE (The Crow's Nest)
on the west coast dunes of Ile d'Oleron with spectacular views out on the Atlantic.
for a truly peaceful holiday home where the only roar you'll hear is the
LA HUNE, (the Crow's Nest was)
featured in French Property News magazine March 2014
Where it is and how do I get there:
* Flights from UK to LR 1h- 8hr drive from Calais * 4h30 drive from St Malo *
Car: Ile D’Oleron (the Island of Light) is located in the region of the Charente Maritime on the Atlantic coast 2 hrs north of Bordeaux and 1h30 south of La Rochelle. Its an 8hr drive from Calais, 6h from Cherbourg or 4½ hrs from St Malo. The island is connected to the mainland at Marennes (famed for its oysters) by a 3 km toll-free bridge.
There is now a choice of cheap flights to
By train: the TGV (fast train) from Paris to La Rochelle is less than a 3 hr journey and now with the new fast link services from England (by Eurostar change at Lille) the whole journey should be achievable in under 6 hrs. So if you prefer trains to planes, its no problem there is a frequent bus service (Les Mouettes) car hire or taxis from the train station in La Rochelle.
d'Oleron by ferry from the port of La Rochelle: In season there is a scheduled
ferry service direct to the port of St Denis with a follow on taxi service
(approx 2Km from La Hune. It's
only a 5 min ride by airport courtesy coach or by taxi from the
airport to the
Free local bus service: inaugurated 2 years ago the NAVETTE buses are in operation over the summer months offering a pickup drop off service to residents and holiday makers alike. Various circuits cover the island's beach resorts and pass every 10 minutes.
Some of you may already know me if you’ve stayed at one of the AccessibleFrance holiday cottages I used to manage near in the Pas de Calais near Le Touquet.
8 years ago we sold our farmhouse in the Vallee de la Course and moved further south to the stunning little island of Oleron set 3 KM off shore on the southwest Atlantic coast near La Rochelle. We knew little about it ourselves until we ‘discovered’ it the year before while on a brief visit to the Charente Maritime.
La Hune on far right
For me it was love at first sight. A nostalgic mix of my early childhood years on Florida's Gulf Coast (wild and natural it was then) and the old fishing port of St Tropez and before the rest of the world rushed in on the footsteps of Brigitte Bardot to change it forever. This magical island, only 33kms long, has well repaid our impulsive decision to sell everything up north and move here quickly.
Of course, our great haste also had a little to do with our tremendous luck in finding LA HUNE (the
crow's nest) - a bijoux beach house splendidly perched on the dunes
with an 180 degree view out over the ocean (next stop
ABOUT ILE D'OLERON
Known as ‘the Ile Lumiere (island of light), we have come to understand why. The island of Oleron officially clocks up more sunshine hours each year than the Mediterranean. Not a day goes by without some sunshine and when it does everything shimmers. Living on the west coast also comes with the added bonus of truly spectacular sunsets as the sun goes down on the Atlantic.
The island’s western coastline, is called La Cote Sauvage. Our beach house is located here on the narrow northern tip of the island not far from the historic 18thC lighthouse of Chassiron. We are also just a few minutes walk from the sandy beach of Les Huttes, the first of 3 in the horseshoe bay that extends for miles directly from the back garden of La Hune. Whatever your water sport you will find it here along with miles of uninterrupted coastal trails along the top of the dunes out to Chassiron .
Miles of coastal footpaths leading to the Chassiron Lighthouse
end of the island always reminds me a little of Cape Cod or maybe
La Cote Sauvage
Many of the island's beaches incorporate shallow locks known as ecluses hand built of rocks centuries ago by fishermen who up until 40 years ago were the main inhabitants of the island. From these rocky pools you may take for your own consumption what you find: crabs, shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters, and a variety of other small shell fish in season. A veritable plateau de fruit des mer – I kid you not!
The East Coast with
On the nearby eastern coast of the island, facing Ile de Re,
Ile D’Oleron is a haven of natural sandy beaches lapped by the Atlantic and warmed by the
There are facilities and snack bars at most beaches and all have surveyed and guarded sections. Not surprisingly blue flags fly over nearly all the beaches on the island.
A lot has changed on Oleron over the past 40 years. In the
1970's the old ferry boats were scrapped and a smart new bridge, the Viaduct was built spanning over the valuable oyster
beds that surround the
island and attaching it to the mainland at Marennes - THE oyster
Of course plenty of fishing still goes on – La Cotiniere is the most commercial of the pretty fishing ports dotted around the coastline. Others have transformed themselves into smart marinas with adjoining shops and restaurants.
The island’s small white-washed villages largely retain their character but have evolved to provide the commerce and facilities required by today’s visitors.
The tiny capital of
Le Chateau with it's star-shaped citadel and thriving arts & crafts colony that sets up shop near the port during the summer months in primary-coloured cabins is another. Large supermarket chains and a variety of other essential shops now line the main road that cuts through the centre and sit cheek by jowl with countless cycle, boating and surfing shops.
Life on the island tends to be low key. It has a kind of barefoot, beachcomber style but you would be wrong to translate that as ‘roughing it’. Ile d’Oleron, like Le Touquet and our neighbouring islands of Re and Aix, is a treasured haunt of the French and that means good food, fashionable shops and lots of creature comfort are never hard to find. As well as owning second homes here many inhabitants also run seasonal businesses returning every Spring with the warm weather from elsewhere in France to re-open their shops and restaurants. Outside of the French community Ile d’Oleron is relatively little known but the actor Johnny Depp was spotted secretly holidaying on the better known Ile de Re recently so – can it be long?
At the port of Boyardville on the east coast you will have a splendid view of (THE) Fort Boyard which can be visited by scheduled boat along with the islands of Re and Aix and of course the stunning town of La Rochelle with it's own medieval port. Foot passenger-only ferry boats make frequent daily crossings throughout the spring and summer months
Crisscrossing 33 flat kms is a vast network of dedicated
off-road trails taking you from the coastline through pine forests and hollyhock filled villages,
past inland oyster farms (where you can stop
degustation and a glass of local wine), marshlands with salt basins
still mined in the traditional way with donkeys and vineyards selling the
island's newly produced Sauvignon wines along with their version of
ILE d'OLERON is truly a
paradise for those seeking sun and sand in peaceful, natural
surroundings. Surprised first time visitors often exclaim
they didn't think beaches like these
Les Huttes Beach
* private pool
* access to beach * imaginative interior design
that takes full
synonymous with nature now thankfully protected for the generations to
Treasured by the
French for it's abundance of sunshine, clean air and mild climate
LA HUNE is located in a quiet residential turning of individually built homes on a non-through road with mains drainage and full services. There is off road parking for 3 cars on a graveled forecourt and a single garage. Access to the beach (approx 50m) over the dunes at the back of the house just past the two WW11 German bunkers now listed historic sites.
Perched on the dunes of the west coast near
the spectacular Chassiron lighthouse
La Hune is located in the curve of the bay
formed by Les Huttes, Chaucre & Domino beaches
3 connecting beaches of
the bay combine to
offer miles of walks
In keeping with it's beachside surroundings the villa has been decorated in a natural style using sun bleached neutral colours. It is bordered on one side by open fields and on the other by the gardens of a neighbouring villa.
At the rear of the garden is a gateway directly on to the dunes leading down to the sea.
The house is flanked by twin lawns and is backed by raised
flower beds landscaped with
for any second home owner.
External staircase to first floor
St Denis village
The villa is located in the community of St Denis d'Oleron which extends to both west and east coasts at this narrow northern tip of the island. LA HUNE directly overlooks the beach of Les Huttes and lies between the dunes and the newly planted vineyards surrounding St Denis village. A few year's ago the majority of the island's old discarded vines where replanted with Sauvignon grape stock. It's reputation is growing meanwhile offering locals the chance to profit by buying vrac from the producers @ 1.40E a litre - remember to take your empty water bottle!
The garden backs on to the western dunes of the 'Cote Sauvage'
There is an independent BBQ/dining pavilion in the garden with a fully functioning summer kitchen. A separate wooden cabin houses both the pool and the garden equipment. There are a further two internal storage areas in the garden.
The villa has been fitted throughout with pull down insect screens for summer and full gas central heating plus a log burner for winter. It is well insulated and has been awarded just under a B energy efficiency rating. There are painted wooden shutters to all windows and doors with electric roll down shutters fitted to the rear first floor veranda.
There are front and rear entries to the ground floor and an external staircase for access to the first floor when the ground floor is in separate use.
villa has been carefully maintained and is presented in very good order both
inside and out.
The interior has been cleverly redesigned by its current architect owner with maximum flexibility to be used either as a spacious family home or - by simply locking a set of doors at the top of the central staircase - divided temporarily into two separately accessed self contained units. The second option is also ideal for visiting family and friends or for seasonal lettings, as needs be.
who have spent a lot of time house hunting will recognise LA
HUNE as an exceptionally
. Prima Gaz fired central
. Log burner.
. Double sealed and insulated non-corrosive windows and doors.
. Bespoke fitted cupboardry in
kitchen, master bedroom, master bathroom,
. Designer lighting throughout.
. Schmidt kitchen units.
First floor sejour with adjoining veranda for additional sea-view dining
Fully fitted corner style kitchen in the first floor
View from the first floor sejour
First floor master bedroom with sea and lighthouse views
First floor master bedroom with bespoke island-style fitted wardrobes
En suite first floor bathroom
with fitted workstation and full height storage cupboard.
Ground floor plan:
by simply locking two doors at the top of the central staircase.
The ground floor features a summer day room incorporating a fully fitted kitchen/diner, 2 double bedrooms and a 3rd smaller double currently arranged as a TV room equipped with satellite TV for English channels. There is a fully fitted bathroom & separate WC. Ground floor access to the property is via front & rear doors with direct access to the pool deck & garden and to the dunes and the beach below. There are telephone and internet connections on both floors. This imaginative arrangement offers maximum flexibility for visiting friends or for paying guests allowing you the possibility of your own private accommodation at the same time.
Ground floor Summer Day Room with corner kitchen
opens directly on to pool deck and garden
Ground floor master bedroom with en suite access
Ground floor second double with sofa bed.
There is a third ground floor bedroom currently used as a TV room which is suitable for bunk or twin beds.
Ground floor en suite bathroom with bath & overhead shower. Duel access to hall. Sep WC.
The ground floor opens directly onto a deck with heated swimming pool (9.5 x 4.5m) and garden
power points, stone clad cupboards,
A pathway over the dunes leads down to the beach below
Just the other side of our garden gate:
is celebrated for it's seafood. Shell fish gathering, or
peche au pied,
Stand up paddle and kite surf is right at the foot of our dune.
OLERON juste en face de NEW YORK
locals will tell you that the island of Oleron lies (as the seagull flies) about 4000kms
Oleron boasts a vast network of dedicated cycle and walking trails criss-crossing its 33km length. Trails pass along the coastline, salt marshes, vineyards, pine forests & villages truly making it a paradise for anyone who enjoys safe off road cycling through completely natural surroundings. The dunes and coastline of the island have now been officially classified by the Ministry of Environment as a CONSERVATION AREA and are protected by the National Forestry Commission and that includes the dunes right at the rear of our garden.
will be no more building on the dunes within 300 meters
Hune is situated at the northern tip of the island not far from the historic
It benefits 2 fold from its close proximity to both the west and east
coast shorelines -
Over the summer months Les Huttes Plage plays host to a multitude of water sports.
types of surfing, snorkeling and
sailing activities are available along the sandy beaches
Its all waiting for you just a scramble down the dune at the back of La Hune.
In off season you can have it all to yourself!
Spectacular sunsets on the Atlantic included free of charge
St Denis beach (East coast) facing Ile de Re & La Rochelle
St Denis Port
St Denis Marina
Saint Denis year round daily market
The market also sells fish fresh from the boats along with our celebrated oysters and mussels.
For more photos and information on the island of Oleron please click here.