Île De Ré
We visited Île de Ré on our road trip down through France. It came highly recommended and we weren’t disappointed. This incredible island off France’s Atlantic coast is idyllic. It’s known for its, salt marshes, cobbled streets soaked in lavender and it’s long golden beaches backed by dunes and pine trees. The streets are lined with green-shuttered houses that descend on to squares that overflow with cafes, restaurants and markets. Île de Ré may claim as many hours of sunshine as the south of France, but it’s a very different scene from the glitz of Saint Tropez. It has its share of rich and famous visitors but here you’ll find working fishing boats instead of super-yachts and bicycles instead of Ferraris.
Île de Réi is only 30km in length so it makes sense to discover it on a bike. One of the other bonuses of this island is that you don’t need to drive at all. You can just jump in a cab from the airport (Rochelle) and then enjoy the rest of your holiday on a bike or on foot - and this way you’ll get to see all the best bits. There are so few cars on this island as nearly everyone gets around on a bike and it’s made easy with their well-signed (nearly always) cycle paths. The island is completely flat so everyone can enjoy it, It’s so lovely to see all ages from three to 73 riding around.We didn’t use our car the entire time we were there as everywhere is so accessible. You can hire bikes for less than €10 a day and they’re super easy to hire as there seems to be hire shops on every corner.
We were only on the island for three days and believe me we would have stayed longer but we were meeting friends in Spain and after all we were on a road trip! In only these three short days we completely fell in love with Île de Ré. Our days were spent on our bikes discovering what the island had to offer and believe me it was plentiful! Our days started with croissants and coffee from the local bakery, followed by a shop in basket bag heaven or in the local food market buying fresh produce for our lunch. We would then go hunting out empty beaches and some of France’s most beautiful villages. We loved the Plage des Gollandières where we were staying and you must go to the empty rustic beach Plage de la loge and on route you must go to Arse-en-Rè, voted one of France’s most beautiful villages. It really is beautiful and we had a nice lunch at Le Café Du Commerce. One last tip is go on and watch the sunset and kite surfers on Plane Nord.
Our evenings started with bike rides through vineyards and cornfields on route to watch the sunset in cool beach bars, or we would head to the bustling capital of St Martin for drinks in the port. Every meal we had on this island was incredible - for lunch or dinner I would recommend The Beach Bar for great simple food and Le Cible for something a little more special, where we had some of the best food I’ve tasted in France.
We found our hotel on bookings.com. Hotel L’Ocean is perfectly located in the quieter village of Le Bois. The village has everything you would need - bars, restaurants, markets and a great beach. The hotel has individually styled rooms looking out on the shady garden or patio and more contemporary rooms near the swimming pool. The restaurant is great in the hotel with deliciously simple food combining sea produce and local products. The staff at L’Ocean are so warm and friendly and there for any advice you need. We absolutely loved our stay here and wouldn’t hesitate to book it again, especially at the price of €100.
I can’t recommend this beautiful island enough - whether you’re with your friends and want to enjoy a chilled week, on a two week family holiday, or on a romantic short break with your partner, the Île de Ré will leave you wanting more which is why we can’t wait to go back.