- France, Atlantic Coast, La Coubre, the Forest of la Coubre

start printing by using the commands of your web navigator

The Forest of  La Coubre, on Foot, Cycling, Riding, by Car

We are very proud of the forest of La Coubre which is one of the jewels of the Pays Royannais and Charente-Maritime.

It covers more than 5 000 hectares bordering the coast along the peninsula of Arvert.

It's an easy forest to reach, set against a relief of dunes, airy, clear and penetrated by shafts of sunlight. It is pleasant to explore the forest at any time of the year, either walking, cycling, riding or by car.

You may be lucky enough to see two roe deers crossing a path, which was the case during our walk in May, 2002 when most of the photos on this page were taken, a time when the gorse and broom added colour to the forest.

The forest was actually built by man

Although it looks so natural today, the forest was actually built by man. The maritime pines were planted in the19th Century to prevent the encroachment of the sand.

The reinforcement work on the dunes and the establishment of the forest are on-going works and are part of a steady policy to fight against the wind and marine erosion.

To find out more about the current conservation programmes, you can visit the page dedicated to the forest of La Coubre on the excellent site of the National Office of Forests.

site web

Although the forest forms a major part of the touristic landscape, it is also an important economic asset producing a large amount of timber.

To return to the storm of December, 1999, the National Office of Forests stated that the equivalent of ten years yield of timber was brought down during that storm.

The collection of the pine resin

50 years ago, an activity existed which employed a large work force but which disappeared in the 1960's.

It was the gemmage, the collection of the pine resin. Some people will remember the small jars fixed to the trunks of the pines to collect the resin.

Regarding the roads and parking areas, the National Office of Forests has achieved some remarkable work in restoring roads and paths made unusable by the storm of December, 1999.

To answer an increasing demand, new routes are regularly looked for and put into service.

The forest is gradually being restored to its previous state but nevertheless, there are still vast areas where the trees have been felled and piles of timber awaiting removal.

Please note that on Thursdays, which are set aside for hunting, there are restrictions to certain areas and routes in the forest.

On foot...

It is possible to walk in the forest quite freely. There are no rules for pedestrians.

However, by following the pedestrian paths, which are clearly marked, it is easier to find the route and general direction.

The National Office of Forests organises conducted tours every morning during the season, except Sundays and holidays.

Meet at 10 am in the parking area of La Bouverie (road 44), along the Côte Sauvage.

For further information, please telephone beforehand :
Tel. 05 46 90 65 53.

It's an excellent way to discover the riches of the forest of La Coubre and the work of the foresters.

For serious walkers, the long-distance footpath GR4, which goes from Royan to Ronce-les-Bains and the island of Oléron, crosses the forest of La Coubre, from Les Mathes to Ronce-les-Bains.To find out more about the paths for hiking and long walks ( GR) and for short walks (PR) in the Charente-Maritime, visit. web site


A cycle track goes through the forest for about twenty kilometres from La Palmyre to Ronce-les-Bains. This track is the continuation of the one which connects Saint-Palais-sur-Mer to La Palmyre through La Grande Côte.

Cyclists have a magnificent cycle track, both along the coast and through the forest, 30 kilometres long, that is 60 kilometres in total, going there and back, from Saint-Palais-sur-Mer to Ronce-les-Bains.

From La Palmyre and the lighthouse of La Coubre, the track follows the bay of Bonne Anse. From there it continues along to the beaches of the Côte Sauvage, and in particular the Pointe Espagnole, where one discovers the Pertuis de Maumusson, which separates the peninsula of Arvert and the island of Oléron, and the dunes of Saint-Trojan.

Cyclists on mountain bikes also have specific routes marked out in the forest.


Bridle paths through the forest are at the disposal of the equestrian clubs of the region.

For more than 30 years, the centre of equitation Le Corral has helped tourists discover the Forest of La Coubre and the Côte Sauvage by guiding them along the bridle paths provided by the National Office of Forests.

To find out more about routes generally, equestrian organisations, equestrian gîtes and all the associated services, you can visit the site of the local Committee of Equitation

by car...

We suggest you take the D25, the main road between Palmyre and Ronce-les-Bains, approximately 20 kilometres.

From La Palmyre to Ronce-les-Bains, 20 km,
a half-day including some pauses by the sea
 and walks in the forest

We suggest you take the D25, the main road between La Palmyre and Ronce-les-Bains, approximately 20 kilometres.

At the big roundabout of La Palmyre, go in the direction of La Coubre, Ronce-les-Bains.

The road follows the bay of Bonne Anse up to the crossroads, where you will find indicated on the left, the small road which leads to the car park of La Coubre lighthouse.

La Coubre lighthouse deserves a special visit.

For this route of exploration and discovery, we suggest continuing on the D25, for approximately 4 km up to the forest house of La Bouverie, from where a small road on the left leads to the Côte Sauvage.


The D25 continues, wending up and downhill and following the line of the dunes, up to the Tour of Gardour.

You should stop in the car park near to the panel marked " Tour du Gardour, panoramic view " and take the footpath for about 100 metres which leads to the metal tower that acts as a geodesic site.

At this point 60 metres above sea level, it is good to take time to appreciate the panoramic view of the forest, the ocean and the inside of the peninsula of Arvert.

The road then descends quickly and at approximately 2 km after the Tour du Gardour, take the small signposted forest road " Pointe Espagnole " on the left.

This road ends in a car park where you can leave the car and follow the path which leads, through the dunes, to the sea.

The name Pointe Espagnole comes from the wreck in 1823, of a Spanish vessel.

The impressive waves come crashing down on to the particularly fine sand.

The view extends as far as the Saint-Trojan's dunes, on the island of Oléron.

The D25 then goes towards Ronce-les-Bains passing the beaches of the resort, just in front of the island of Oléron, the beach of l'Embellie, the beach of Galon d'Or and the beach of La Cèpe.