And it is a lovely place. The celebrated French century writer Pierre Loti dubbed the island of Oléron ‘La Lumineuse’ for its light. The countryside is perfect for languid exploration by foot or bicycle, passing pretty waterways with their brightly coloured oyster boats bobbing in the water, and beside them oyster sheds of yellow, red, blue and green. Stop for a while in one of the many picturesque villages then continue on your exploration, through forests and vineyards. Then there are the beaches – kilometre upon kilometre of clean soft sand, backed by dunes.