French waters have a strong potential for tidal turbines applications. In these areas of strong currents, intense velocity fluctuations are observed in the water column. They ultimately come from variations in seabed bathymetry and can have a strong impact on tidal turbine energy production and fatigue. In order to understand the turbulent structures generation in the wake of obstacles and to build a data base for future numerical studies, the Alderney Race conditions are reproduced experimentally, in a wave and current tank, in Froude similitude and with a Reynolds number as high as possible. In this study, real bathymetric variations are represented using canonical elements : a cube, a cylinder, an inclined plane or a combination of all three. Cases with bathymetric variations higher than average (obstacle alone) are differentiated from average rugosity cases (obstacles combined). In order to characterize the wake behind these obstacles and to study how turbulence evolve in the water column, PIV and LDV measurements are made for various turbulence rates of the incoming flow. Results show that the cylinder alone produces the most spread out wake. In that case, large scale turbulent structures, rising all the way to the surface, are identified. The development of processing methods and data analysis allows the detection of vortex centres and the determination of their properties. The cylinder wake impact on a tri-bladed horizontal axis turbine behaviour is then studied. Depending on the position of the turbine relative to the obstacle, the turbine can be subject to large amplitude loads due to velocity fluctuations generated by the presence of the obstacle in the flow. Force measurements on the blades and turbine dynamic behaviour characterization allow to quantify those load variations. They depend on the turbulent structures impacting the turbine and the shear in the velocity profile. The results obtained could be exploited for further fatigue analyses on blades or on other tidal turbine components.