Royan is the second most popular holiday resort in France, it has a winter population of 26,000 and a summer population of 100,000. It has a thriving marina and two industries which are diminishing in importance, fishing and importing sand, which was used in glass factories making bottles for wine growers. After the air raids by the RAF in January 1945 and by the Americans in April 1945 only nine houses were left unscathed. The Town was completely rebuilt to plans by leading French architects in the post war years.
On the shores of the Gironde, in Charente – Maritime Department, Royan is on the fringe of the wine growing areas of Bordeaux and Cognac. Its speciality is Pineau, an aperitif made from a blend of Brandy and Red, White or Rose wine.
Royan has five sandy beaches, a marina and a fishing port.
Comité de Jumelage, Maison des Associations, 61 bis, rue Paul Doumer, 17200 ROYAN, FRANCE
Tél : +33 (0)6 10 24 83 85
Address: 14 Quai Am Meyer, 17200 ROYAN, Charente-Maritime
The Congress Palace (Palais des congrès)
The Palais des congrès was built in 1957 by the architect of Bordeaux Claude Ferret. It is designed as a cubic geometry eased by the oblique movement of outside staircases and by the subtle interweaving of internal convex walls. Widely opened on the estuary of the Gironde by a glass wall, it was later enlarged with gardens, under a transparent cube. It was classified as a historical monument in 2004.
Address: Avenue des Congrès 102, 17200 ROYAN, Charente-Maritime
Church of Notre-Dame (église Notre-Dame)
Built in three years by the architects Guillaume Gillet and Marc Hébrard, in association with the engineers Bernard Lafaille, René Sarger and Ou Tseng, the church Notre-Dame of Royan is considered as one of the leading works of contemporary architecture. The bombardments of the 5th January 1945 had destroyed the former neo-Gothic church which dated back to 1877, located at the current Square Charles de Gaulle. It was decided to rebuild the building, bigger in size and with an architecture both ambitious and spectacular. It was inspired by the aesthetics of other large Gothic cathedrals. Finished in 1958, it is built completely of concrete. The church was classified as a historical monument in 1988. The elliptical nave can hold approximately 2000 people and is flanked by an ambulatory. It is lit by stained glass in the form of a rhombus representing the Stations of the Cross. The structure of the building consists of an alternation of elements in reinforced concrete V (Lafaille system, of the name of the engineer Bernard Lafaille which created the process) alternating with immense windows covering 500 square metres (5,380 sq ft), the work of glass-worker Henri Martin-Granel.
Address: 1 Rue Foncillon, 17200 ROYAN, Charente-Maritime
Central Market (Marché central)
Built in 1955 by the architects L. Simon and In. Morisseau and the engineer René Sarger. It is a round shell constructed of concrete, eight centimetres thick. It rests on thirteen peripheral support points without any internal pillar. It is 52.40 metres (171.9 ft) in diameter, and its height in the center is 10.50 metres (34.4 ft). It served as model for the conception of the market of Nanterre and as the CNIT of the Defence near Paris.
Royan is situated approximately 65 kilometres (40 miles) from the départemental prefecture, La Rochelle, 98 km (61 miles) from Bordeaux and 507 km (315 miles) from Paris.
Royan does not possess its own airport; the city is situated around 30 km (19 miles) from Rochefort-Saint-Agnant Airport, allowing flights to several European destinations (notably the British Islands), and approximately 70 km (43 miles) from La Rochelle – île de Ré Airport. A hundred kilometres to the south, Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport allows connections from the region to numerous cities around the world.