The caves of Matata and Régulus

During your stay at the campsite in Charente-Maritime, do not miss a visit to the amazing caves of Matata and Regulus, perched above the water just 20 km from your mobile home in Saint-Augustin-sur-Mer. An unmissable site on the Gironde estuary, which will make the eyes of young and old alike shine.  

Emblematic caves in Charente-Maritime 

In Meschers-sur-Gironde, about ten kilometers south of Royan, the caves of Matata and the caves of Regulus are ancient troglodyte habitats built in the cliff above the Gironde estuary. Major tourist sites in Charente-Maritime, the two sets of caves welcome many visitors every year. The caves dug in the limestone cliffs dominate the waters at more than thirty meters in height, on several floors. These cavities, originally natural, have been enlarged by the human hand over the centuries and as needed, in order to serve sometimes as a habitat, sometimes as a refuge.  

We know that they have been occupied since prehistoric times, and that they continued to be used during the Middle Ages, in particular as a salt hiding place to escape payment of the gabelle. Protestants also gathered there during the wars of religion, forced to flee persecution and celebrate their worship out of sight. Lairs of pirates for a time, they finally served as private habitats and guinguettes during the great period of sea bathing, at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries.  

vue des grottes de régulus depuis la falaise

Visit the caves of Matata and Regulus 

The caves of Matata and the caves of Regulus are only separated by a hundred meters. In the caves of Matata there is a troglodyte eco-museum which covers the history of the cavities and their use from prehistory to the present day. It occupies a dozen caves on two levels. The visit to the museum invites you to discover marine fossils from the Cretaceous, aquariums populated by local fish species including sturgeon, and the reconstruction of a typical of the 19th century habitat. The site also houses a creperie whose terrace offers a panoramic view of the estuary. The Régulus caves, named after a vessel sunk in the estuary in 1814, are the subject of guided tours accessible to all ages.  

Lasting about 45 minutes, these visits are an opportunity to understand the history of the caves of Meschers-sur-Gironde, but also to discover the many legends they carry. The guides cover topics as varied as fishing in the estuary, the geology of the site, its human occupation and its unresolved mysteries. For children there is an exciting treasure hunt led by the friendly Minidik shrimp. In season, nocturnal opening and strolls invite you to discover the places from a whole new perspective, in the magic of a sunset and magical illuminations.  

habitations encastrées dans la roche

Prices, opening time and practical information 

Access to the two sites is via boulevard de la Falaise in Meschers. The Régulus caves open their doors to the public every day from May 1 to mid-November.  

Dogs on a leash are accepted during the visit. 

The price of the guided tour is 5.50 euros per child and 8 euros per adult. 

The sunset walks take place on Thursday evenings in July and August, and are offered at a single price of 3.60 euros. The evening shows on Tuesday evenings in summer are offered at 11.60 euros per adult and 8.70 euros per child from 6 to 15 years old. 

The ecomuseum of the Matata cave can be visited 7 days a week from April 1 to October 31. An audio guide is included in the price of the visit, which amounts to 6.50 euros full price and 4.90 euros reduced price.  

The visit to the ecomuseum of the caves of Matata lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Dogs on a leash are also accepted in this part of the site.  

To discover near the grottes de Matata