Tours and Travels

Final Up to date on twenty sixth Could 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
A windswept island simply off the French Atlantic Coast, Île de Ré is among the most charming spots to go to in France, and never simply due to the gorgeous surroundings! Boasting one of many greatest salt producing areas in France, in addition to kilometre upon kilometre of untamed wilderness, the island is the right escape from the hustle and bustle of contemporary day life.

Île de Ré is located round a half hour drive from La Rochelle and is dwelling to a number of fairly as a postcard villages (so picturesque that they’ve been deemed to be among the many most lovely villages in France) and is usually referred to easily as Ré island in English.

Many individuals decide to go tenting on the island to get in contact with nature and get away from all of it. With this being mentioned, many of the island’s fundamental points of interest can simply be seen over the course of a day if that’s on a regular basis it’s important to discover. Right here’s your information to the very best issues to do in Île de Ré.

The place is Île de Ré?

Île de Ré is positioned simply off of mainland France within the Atlantic Sea and is simply 19 miles lengthy (however a lot is packed into this skinny strip of land). The island is usually known as being in southwest France, although geographically talking its extra of central western France.

The island is nestled throughout the Bay of Biscay within the Charente-Maritime département and has been inhabited since not less than Roman occasions. Many individuals now consult with the island because the French model of the Hamptons attributable to its recognition amongst Parisians.

What’s Île de Ré recognized for?

The island is especially famed for its oysters, and throughout the island there are oyster shacks promoting freshly farmed seafood to any prepared consumers. The island can be recognized for its salt manufacturing, and there are a selection of salt flats within the western portion of the island.

When is the very best time to go to?

Like many locations in France, the very best time to go to Île de Ré is in the summertime when the temperatures are larger, the times are longer, and there’s little probability of rain. Many companies on the island are seasonal, and so for those who go to within the winter you’ll discover many outlets shut.

Nevertheless, as you’ll be able to think about with a spot common amongst Parisians, visiting in the summertime comes with elevated costs, to not point out that the very best lodging and tenting grounds replenish fast- so make sure you reserve all the things you want to your journey effectively upfront.

Getting round Île de Ré

As soon as on the island, you’ll quickly uncover the most well-liked means of getting across the place: by bicycle. Bike rental places are all around the island, although each large city and village additionally has one.

Wherever you go, you’ll discover dozens upon dozens of bikes parked up, and for those who’re driving across the island, you’ll quickly realise who will get the actual precedence on the roads (it’s the bicycles!) Since we have been solely on the island for a day, we opted to get round by automotive, however I’d like to return for an extended time and get round by bicycle.

When you’re visiting Île de Ré by automotive, then one of many extra distinctive architectural marvels you’ll come throughout on the island is the Pont de l’île de Ré, which was accomplished in 1988. It’s important to pay a toll of €8 to cross the bridge (relying in your automobile) however you’ll be able to pay by card.

Issues to do in Île de Ré

Phare des Baleines

The lighthouse (actually translated ton ‘whale lighthouse’ in English) lies on the furthest extremity of the island to the mainland and I like to recommend making it your first port of name for those who’re solely on Île de Ré for a day since then you’ll be able to work your means again to the mainland.

The construction you see at this time was constructed in 1854 to exchange a former Vauban constructing on the location from the Seventeenth-century. Now, for a payment, you’ll be able to climb the 250+ steps to achieve the highest of the lighthouse and luxuriate in a chook’s eye view of the island. There’s additionally an accompanying museum.

Close by, there are a selection of coastal walks the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are additionally a variety of vacationer outlets near the lighthouse (between the parking of the lighthouse and the lighthouse itself) promoting all kinds of typical beachwares.

In addition to shops promoting your standard coverups and seaside attire, there’s a store promoting seaside luggage with typical French names (Sophie, Charlotte, Marie) embroidered on the facet. That is additionally an amazing spot to get pleasure from an ice cream.

We personally went to La Martinière and you will get unusual flavours like native oyster! When you choose one thing extra conventional, then it’s good to look no additional than the salted caramel, which accommodates regionally farmed salt. One other island speciality value sampling is the frozen macaron- it was really scrumptious!

Saint Martin de Re

The capital of the island is a powerful walled city which was fortified within the Seventeenth-century by Vauban. Dwelling to a inhabitants of simply over 2000 residents, the actual draw of this seaside city is the prospect to walk alongside the 1681 to 1691 constructed fortifications.

There are additionally a number of different architectural treasures to be loved on the town. This contains ascneding the 100+ steps of the bell tower of Eglise Saint Martin and visiting the Ernest Cognacq Museum.


There are literally two “plus beau villages de France” on the island, with Ars-en-Re being considered one of them. Fact be informed, there’s not an enormous quantity of actions within the village and the primary focal point is to wander round, snapping photographs of the beautiful homes and little streets.

The primary focal point in Ars-en-Re is its centrally positioned parish church. Although the inside is kind of plain on the subject of Roman Catholic church buildings, the steeple is especially attention-grabbing in that it has been painted black and white in order to assist ships with navigation.

La Flotte

The opposite village which has been awarded the esteemed “most lovely villages in France” is La Flotte, a picturesque village which is dwelling to only below 3000 everlasting residents.

One of many highlights of a go to to the village comes within the type of a market, which takes place every day in Market Sq. in July and August.

Abbaye des Chateliers

Located only a stone’s throw away from La Flotte (one of the lovely villages in France), the crumbling ruins of the Abbey of Chateliers are free to go to and are open 24/7.

There’s parking simply off the primary highway, although guests ought to notice that there’s not a substantial amount of area to park and the automotive park fills up quick, particularly throughout peak season. I subsequently suggest going very first thing within the morning in order to see the ecclesiastical constructing with fewer folks round and truly safe a spot!

The Abbey itself was based throughout the Center Ages, when Cistercian monks left the mainland to arrange a wine and salt commerce on the island. The Brothers ultimately left the island as they have been bored with fixed pillaging and assaults.

Now, the Twelfth-century complicated stays the oldest constructing on the island. Guests can go to the previous abbey and accompanying cloisters. Within the late spring, poppies bloom within the discipline surrounding the abbey, including to the general ambiance.

Seashores on Ile de Re

In fact, there’s no means you’d need to go to an island in western France with out heading to the seaside in some unspecified time in the future or one other. Ile de Re boasts a number of sandy stretches, although the most well-liked embrace:

Plage de Gros Jonc: this seaside is utilized by surfers but additionally by sunbathers owing to its good sand.

Plage de Trousse Chemise: this can be a wild seaside close to Les-Portes-en-Ré which is understood for its wind (making it common amongst kitesurfers)

Plage du Petit Sergent: this can be a pebble seaside not removed from Le Bois Plage. A number of climbing routes could be discovered shut by.

Plage du Peu Ragot: this is among the hottest seashores on the island for households owing to the variety of close by services. There are bogs and lifeguards on web site (although verify that the lifeguard is definitely on obligation on the day you go to).

Plage de la Cible: this seaside is among the closest to Saint-Martin-de-Ré.

Marais Salants (Salt Marshes)

As I discussed beforehand, Île de Ré is kind of well-known for its salt manufacturing, which has taken place on the island for the reason that Center Ages (even the monks dabbled in salt promoting right now!)

Although at one level up to now few centuries salt farming (a salt farmer known as ‘saunier’ in French) grew to become a little bit of a misplaced artwork, the job has loved considerably of a resurgence up to now few a long time and so you’ll be able to nonetheless see the standard salt farming on the salt flats at this time.

There’s even a small museum, Ecomuseum Marais Salant, the place you’ll be able to be taught extra in regards to the historical past of salt farming on the island. The museum is ready among the many salt flats, that means you could drive or cycle there and see loads of salt manufacturing en route.

Oyster farming

The opposite key meals business that takes place on the island is oyster farming. Oyster beds are scattered throughout the island and plenty of of those oyster farmers have small shacks near their farms the place you’ll be able to sit and luxuriate in native seafood paired with a neighborhood wine and implausible sea views.

We personally went to Les Copains Babord, the place considered one of my buddies loved the home speciality: a plate of oysters served up with a contemporary slice of lemon. One other of our buddies had their fruit salad, whereas I had simply had a large ice cream so simply loved their native glass of rosé, which is produced on the island.

Prompt itinerary for in the future in Île de Ré

To be able to get pleasure from this itinerary, you’ll want entry to your personal automobile, which you’ll be able to lease on the mainland. Examine automotive rental comparability costs right here upfront.

Phare des Baleienes: begin your time off on the furthest level from the mainland. Go up the lighthouse, get pleasure from views of the island, and for those who get pleasure from sweets within the morning, pattern a frozen macaron at La Martinière.

Ars-en-Ré: wander round one of the lovely villages in France. Snap photographs of the pastel hued homes and lovely shutters and doorways and stroll contained in the historic church within the village centre.

Marais Salants: you’ll be able to’t go to Île de Ré with out not less than a number of the salt flats. Those that are additional curious may even decide to go to the eco-museum within the coronary heart of the salt flatlands.

Seize lunch: I personally suggest going to an oyster shack and sampling a number of the native seafood whereas overlooking the ocean. They’re scattered all around the island so look on Google maps and head to the one which appears greatest for you! Many additionally supply non-seafood choices.

Saint Martin de Ré: be impressed by some well-preserved Vuaban fortifications. When you’re not too drained, climb the Eglise Saint Martin bell tower to get pleasure from views of the city, port, and past.

Abbey of Chateliers: Take pleasure in well-preserved abbey ruins in a second of calm. You don’t want an enormous period of time to go to the previous ecclesiastical complicated and so I like to recommend setting apart simply half an hour or so.

La Flotte: End your time in Île de Ré with one of the lovely villages in France. The village is especially famed for its fairly port, the place you’ll be able to seize a drink or ice cream because the solar goes down.

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Sophie Nadeau loves canine, books, journey, pizza, and historical past. A fan of all issues France associated, she runs when she’s not chasing after the following sundown shot or consuming one thing candy. She at the moment splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.


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