Camping L'Ocean, 50 Route d'Ars, 17670 Couarde sur Mer, Tel 05 46 29 87 70
To find site, From La Rochelle follow signs for Pont de I'Ile de Re. (The toll booths are on the La Rochelle side, you automatically buy a return ticket which in 2006 during the summer season cost €27 for a car towing a caravan) Once on the Island watch out for Autres Direction sign at roundabout which will take you onto the D201 towards Le Bois Plage and Couarde sur Mer. As you approach Le Bois Plage follow signs for St Martin en Re which bring you to the D735. Turn left here and follow signs for Couarde sur Mer. Stay on main road and campsite is about 2/3kms towards Ars en Re on the right and is clearly signed from Couarde.
There is a large car park at the entrance where you must park and go and select a pitch. Reception will then book you in. As our first night was at full fee and we were expected to pay for this in advance. They also require a €30 deposit for the barrier pass plus a deposit for swimming pool pass bands.
Camping L'Ocean has about 160 touring pitches and almost as many mobile homes. Pitch size is, in most cases, quite generous. Most are on grass although as the season progresses it gets worn away by the use of groundsheets and you end up with areas of compacted sand. Some pitches have water and waste points available to each pitch. Electricity, 10 amp, is also available. There are two toilet blocks although one was closed on the last day of August! The remaining one was of a high standard with seated English toilets but no paper. Near to reception is a shop which opens until 1.00pm and reopens in the evening for a couple of hours. Bread is baked on the premises, although a touch expensive. Opposite is the Bar/Restaurant/Swimming Pool complex. Whether it was because it was the end of the season I am not sure but the Bar hours seemed a bit hit and miss. The Restaurant seems only to be open in the evening. There is also a takeaway which is open in the evening and some lunchtimes. Internet access is available via a fixed computer and there is a WiFi connection available in the Bar area. Cards for both can be purchased at reception. The service is run by www.passman.fr which seems to supply the service to several campsites I have stayed on. Whether it was due to the time of our visit, late August/early September but both of us were quite badly bitten by insects which did not make our stay very comfortable. Even the famed Avon Skin so Soft was not effective.
On the Island there are several towns that are worth a visit, including St Martin en Re and Couarde sur Mer. I am sure there are more but as we only stayed 6 days and we did not have time to explore further. The Island is over 20 miles long and flat so its an ideal place for bicycles and there is good provision made for them with special routes. There are lots of uncrowded sandy beaches although several we saw had large deposits of seaweed which made it less desirable for swimming.
Click on thumbnails below for larger picture.