Longing for your next escape to France? If you want something slightly off the beaten track, you should consider the pretty island in the Atlantic Ocean that is the Île de Ré. We’re happy to share 7 suggestions on what to do.
1. Stop in La Rochelle.
Ryanair has flights that go to La Rochelle (which is very close to the Île de Ré). A perfect excuse to spend a day or an afternoon in this town. La Rochelle is a beautiful city and pleasant to stroll around. The streets are typically French; cobbled pavements, slightly dirty buildings with coloured – and inevitably crooked- shutters, a beautiful market surrounded by plenty of cozy looking bistrots, and enough boutiques to please the fashion victims among us.
2. Get up for the sun rise.
Even if you’re not a morning person (we understand!), make sure you get up early at least one morning to watch the sun rise. A good spot to do so is the seaside near Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the ‘capital’ of the island. Especially if you don’t live close to the sea it’s worth getting up for. I mean, how often do you get to smell the salty water of the ocean and hear the sound of the waves while enjoying a spectacular palette of changing skies?!
3. Visit the harbour of Saint-Martin-de-Ré.
The Île de Ré is perfect for a bit of exploring by bicycle and, especially during the summer period, this is what a lot of people do. Rent a bike and go for a little venture yourself. Make sure you take a (coffee) break in the pretty harbour of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. If you want to avoid the crowd, go there in the early morning for a breakfast and enjoy the piece and quiet.
4. Go to the beach.
When on an island.. you go to the beach! A nice one is la Plage des Gollandières, it’s quite wide and has nice, fine grained sand. It seems to be a good spot for kitesurfing too.
5. Have oysters
Oysters are one of the things the island is known for. Find a sunny terrace to enjoy a couple of oysters accompanied by a nice glass of cold white wine and fresh bread.
6. Shop for food at the market.
There is nothing like a French market to buy some lovely food for your lunch or dinner; cheese, meat, seafood, bread, you’ll find anything you like, straight from the artisans most of the time. Go for a tour on the market of Bois Plage and treat yourself. A local classic is a pâté called ‘le Rond de Ré’.
7. Discover the villages.
There are several villages on the island, all of them more or less on a bike-able distance from each other. The capital of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is supposed to be one of the more beautiful ones, but some of the other villages are definitely worth visiting as well. La Flotte and Ars-en-Ré for example. Explore the narrow streets with the typical white houses and their green or blue painted shutters, cozy cafés and a lot of cute looking boutiques. Lovely to spend an afternoon strolling around before you return to your holiday cottage.
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