Île de Ré
Discover an array of wonders
Nicknamed “La Blanche” (The White) due to the colour of its traditional houses, the Île de Ré is a little piece of heaven on earth. with an enchanting warm climate, an absolutely charming way of life, an architectural style copied the world over, a preserved natural environment, and a flourishing tourist scene. Just 10 minutes by car from La Rochelle, the island boasts a large variety of landscapes, including sandy beaches, salt marshes, vineyards and forests. To get an exceptional view over the island and the ocean right over to the Bay of Aiguillon, climb the steep staircase of the Phare des Baleines (Lighthouse of the Whales), shining at the furthest point on the island.
There are countless things to see and discover on the Île de Ré. Head to the traditional fishing villages with winding lanes lined with hollyhocks, and discover their top restaurants, markets and small boutiques, perfect for a charming little trip. Whether you head to the port of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the island’s historic capital, or to the port of La Flotte-en-Ré, take the time to indulge in an ice cream or a drink, with an unbeatable view over the winding streets and the comings and goings of boats and yachts. Then fall under the spell of Ars-en-Ré, a jewel of Île de Ré architecture, boasting houses with green shutters and a unique church with a black and white bell tower. Next discover the world of the salt marshes and discover the eco-museum in Loix to find out more about the role of salt manufacturers. Here, the “fleur de sel” is a masterful art, which you shouldn’t forget to purchase to take home.
A holiday paradise, the Île de Ré is also a haven for migratory birds, which come to nest at the National Nature Reserve of Lilleau des Niges, stretching out over 121 hectares on the great Atlantic migration route. It’s a major site for birds, with more than 300 species identified there. Themed excursions are organised by the French League for the Protection of Birds, allowing you to observe different species across a maze of footpaths at the heart of nature, all in the company of a professional. It makes for an unforgettable moment, which the most interested can continue at the Maison du Fier, an informative museum all about the island’s natural heritage.