In the 7th and 8th century, the island, along with Ré, formed the Vacetae Insulae or Vacetian Islands, according to the Cosmographia. Vaceti being another name for the Vascones, the reference is evidence to Basque (Gascon) settlement or control of the islands by that date.
As a large Atlantic island only 3 kilometres off the Aquitanian coast of France, Oléron is a popular tourist destination. There are beaches, surfing and horse-riding are catered for and there are many interesting old buildings. The campsites are popular with families. Several companies operate boat trips from the town of Boyardville to the nearby Ile D'Aix and past the famous Fort Boyard. The gastronomy is also a tourist attraction as the island has many restaurants specialising in seafood, especially the local oysters