Royan, is more than a city along a wide sandy beach. It is a city rebuilt several times with different architectural styles. Go check it out during your stay at Domaine du Meunier.
An amazingly architecture
A bit of history
Three times destroyed over the centuries , Royan was rebuilt twice in the early 19th century and mid-20th century.
In the 1810s, Royan saw the arrival of the first swimmers. With the fashion of sea bathing, the town became a famous seaside resort . This period is the beginning of a specific architecture of villas in front of the sea which will be typical for Royan.
After the armistice in 1940, the city is located in the occupied zone. In April 1945, the city is destroyed to 85% by Allied bombing who wanted to destroy one of the last entrenchments of the Germans. Very quickly, the reconstruction uses a new style and Royan becomes a laboratory of modern architecture where the concrete and new forms interlace.
Discover Royan 50’s Architecture
We advise you to go for a ride proposed by the Tourist Office of Royan. You will discover villas looking like castles adjoining typical 50’s houses. You also come across the concrete Church of Notre -Dame, an ellipse of 40 meters long, and the central market in form of a shell in the city center. These two monuments are a must in this town.
To guide you, consult the flyer here. If you can do only one circuit, make the red to see the church, the market and the Congress Palace.
This circuit also allows you to discover Nadu Marsaudon, a multidisciplinary artist born in Royan in 1933. He marked the city by his creations. If you’re curious, you find his work in the architecture, posters or interiors of some buildings. For example, the Tiki restaurant exposes two great totems of the artist on his front. He also designed numerous posters, some of which are still in use 40 years after their creation. This is the case for the Rancho poster (night club) or La Palmyre Zoo with a monkey clinging to the neck of a giraffe. In the Church of Notre Dame, a sculpture created by the artist when he was young, represents a Virgin with very clean lines.
But there is one thing from this artist you should not miss : go to see the decor of the interior staircase of the Congress Palace. Made in 1977, it is a true typographic search, listing all the companies who worked on this building, between Egyptian figures, surrealist texts and references to Indian culture. It’s just wonderful !
This video also presents the architecture of Royan :
Chez Lopez is THE Ice cream & sweets maker not to be missed. On the seafront, in this family institution, you will enjoy homemade products, until the wafel cones of your ice cream. Delicious!
Le Violon sur le sable is THE event of the summer. The principle is both simple and grandiose: a scene on the beach, classical concerts every evening during a week under the stars of July and an audience sitting in the sand in front of the ocean. Enthusiasts or not for classical music or great voices of opera, you will appreciate the show.
And of course, the beach… Whether for a ride in winter, or in summer for swimming or sunbathing beach, the Grande Conche offers year-round relaxation area over 2 km.
After the beach, you will find the port from which it is possible to embark on a boat trip to Cordouan the Queen of Lighthouses!
Regarding restaurants, we have not yet found a place that fulfills our taste. However it is possible to eat very well. For fine dining, we recommend you l’Avocette and if you prefer fish, you’ll find it at La Criée on the harbor.
What we also appreciate and that we recommend, is to fill your basket to the market with cheese, bread, cold meats, olives, wines from local producers, why not a few shrimp, and tasting it on a small beach like the Chay at Pontaillac. It’s very nice !
The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday and every day during the season.
Finally a good address for those who love flea markets, Le Garage du Chineur where you can find items from 50’s to 70’s.
For a stay on the theme of Royan, book the Appartement de la Gironde and Chambre de la Falaise in which you will discover the city before its destruction in a series of color prints of Royan 40’s .
In the library are also exposed collages by Sue Holland, made with old postcards of Royan. We will dedicate a section to this artist very soon.
Sources : Guide architectural Royan 50, Antoine-Marie Préault, republished Éditions Bonne Anse in 2012 / Ma ligne vintage