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Royan, on the French Atlantic coast. Info/opinion please

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This year we're staying in a gite on the Ile de Re for 2 weeks in September. This is our first trip to this region - except for a 2 night visit to La Rochelle about 5 years ago.

While planning our day-trips in the area, I was a bit confused by the Michelin Green Guide's description of Royan. The guide gives it 2 stars - which is a high rating. The text in the green guide says that Royan was "know as the Perle de l'Ocean" and Royan was "at the height of its popularity at the Belle Epoque era. Before WWII, Royan was noted for its ornate villas and chalets half-hidden among the palms, it great Victorian hotels, the casinos like Baroque temples or palaces from the Renaissance." This is the type of city that appeals to us. However, the green guide then explains that Royan "was rebuilt after the bombardments flattened it in 1945. Today this modern town has regained the popularity and charm that characterized it at the end of the 19th century".

We have no desire to visit a rebuilt modern town. We were really not enthused when we've visited towns like St Malo & Tours which were heavily bombed in WWII, and then rebuilt in the "old style" (not modern).

Is Royan a modern city or an old city??? There is no description of an "old Town" or "Walking Tours" in the Green Guide, like there is for other cities like Poitiers, Bordeaux, Dijon, Toulouse.

Royan is about a 1 1/2 drive from our Gite on the Ile de Re - so we don't want to drive there and then find out it's something we're not interested in.

Why does the Michelin Green Guide give it a 2 star rating??? There is a 1 star church in Royan - but that's about the only site mentioned other than a garden.

Stu Dudley

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