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Royan

Port Royan.jpg
The port of Royan
Coat of arms of Royan
Administration
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Department Charente-Maritime
Arrondissement Rochefort
Canton Royan
Intercommunality Communauté d'agglomération Royan Atlantique
Mayor Patrick Marengo
(2017–2020)
Statistics
Elevation 0–35 m (0–115 ft)
(avg. 20 m or 66 ft*)
Land area1 19.30 km2 (7.45 sq mi)
Population2 Lua error in Module:Wd at line 1575: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).  (2016-01-01)
INSEE/Postal code 17306/ 17200
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Royan is a commune and town in the south-west of France, in the department of Charente-Maritime in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Its inhabitants are known as Royannais and Royannaises. Capital of the Côte de Beauté, Royan is one of the main French Atlantic coastal resort towns, and has five beaches, a marina for over 1,000 boats, and an active fishing port. As of 2013, the population of the greater urban area was 48,982. The town had 18,393 inhabitants in 2015.

Royan is located on the peninsula of Arvert, at the mouth of the Gironde estuary on its eastern shore. Royan was once of strategic importance, coveted in particular by the Visigoths and the Vikings. The city became a Protestant stronghold during the Hundred Years' War under English rule, and was besieged and destroyed by King Louis XIII of France. During the Bourbon Restoration (1814–1830), and especially during the Second Empire (1852–1870), Royan was celebrated for its sea baths. It attracted many artists during the Roaring Twenties.

Allied bombing between September 1944 and April 1945 destroyed the town. Known then as the "martyred city", it was declared a "Laboratory of research on urbanism", and it is now a showcase of the Modernist architecture of the 1950s. It was classified as a Town of Art and History (Ville d'Art et d'Histoire) in 2010. Royan today is a tourist and cultural hub, with some 90,000 visitors each summer season.

Geography

Royan is a seaside resort town situated in the west of the department of Charente-Maritime, in the former province of Saintonge. It lies near the Atlantic coast on the eastern shore of the mouth of the Gironde, Europe's largest estuary. Along the coastline of the commune, limestone cliffs alternate with the five beaches known locally as conches.

Geology

The town of Royan is built on a calcareous rock plateau dating from the Cretaceous Period (c. 150 million years ago). It is bounded by the Pousseau marshes to the north and the Pontaillac marshes to the west. The estuary, the cliffs and the conches were shaped approximately 66 million years ago by the folding of limestone layers as the Alps and the Pyrenees formed.

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