I visited Royan in August 2015.
On the western coast of southern France, two hours north of Bordeaux, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, lies Royan. A small seaside resort town with just under 20.000 inhabitants in the town and just under 40.000 inhabitants in the urban area.
Royan is a beautiful town, the beach dominates the layout of the city. Next to the beach is a busy street filled with shops, bars and restaurants. There is little high rise, and many trees in the city center. The further away from the beach you go, the more quiet it gets.
Settlements in the area goes back to prehistoric times. Under Roman rule the area was cultivated for vineyards and oyster-breeding. Royan was developed into a seaside resort during the 19th century.
During the Second World War the town was destroyed by allied bombing. German forces managed to hold on to Royan for months after the liberation of rest of France. It wasn’t until January, 1945, some seven months after D-day that allied forces managed to take the city. They did so by completely demolishing it.
American forces were wrongly told that only German forces and their collaborators were left in the city, and completely destroyed it. Almost 3000 civilians died in the bombing, with few German casualties.
Today there are no signs of the bombing, the town was completely rebuilt after the war.
In August 2015, I travelled to Royan with Arabs in Aspic. They were playing at a festival in St. Palais-sur-mer, a small village a few kilometers up the coast from Royan. The days were spent in Royan, the nights at the festival.
This was the second time Arabs in Aspic played at the festival.
Staying in Rohan was great. The beaches are big, although the water can be quite muddy. There is a large selection of restaurants and bars close to the beach if you are hungry or want a beer or glass of wine.
You will find a great view at Le Parasol on Plage de Foncillon beach. A nice bar on the beach overlooking the ferris wheel and the cars waiting to board the ferry. In warm weather, their Hoegardeen Rose beer is very refreshing.
Royan is a beautiful seaside town and worth a visit. It is quiet, laid back, has plenty of beaches and lots of good weather in the summer. It can be reached by train or by car. I would especially recommend visiting in August during the Crescendo Festival.