The oolitic ironstones of the Minette were deposited during Toarcian/Aalenian times in a nearshore environment of the Paris Basin. The sedimentary sequence comprises up to 13 coarsening upward depositional cycles. The development of the cycles and different facies types are described. The iron ooids accumulated in a subtidal environment under the effects of tidal currents. Sand waves, which form an important part of the Minette sediments, were deposited under both time-velocity symmetrical and time-velocity asymmetrical tides. From the study of their internal structures the time-velocity patterns of the currents, current speeds (up to 0±9m s−1) and net transport rates have been estimated (29 g m−1 s−1 in the case of large-scale sand waves controlled by time-velocity symmetrical tides). Sand wave heights and calculated near-bed current speeds suggest a mesotidal regime. Sedimentary facies include large-scale and waves, subtidal shoals with channels and an offshore muddy shelf. Conclusions as to bathymetry are drawn from ichnofaunal associations and from the study of wave ripple marks. Finally a depositional model of the Minette iron formation is proposed which may be applicable to other oolitic ironstones.