Ah, Re Island… A revelation for me. Here is what comes to me when I think of Re: beautiful, genuine, chic but not bling, sweet to live, preserved. Now, you know: I love Re Island. So, I wanted to make a small guide for you to discover Re in one week or more !
Before I spent one week there lastly, I had been there only one day, but it was love at first sight, and I knew I would come back. It’s an i-d-e-a-l place for family holidaus, but also for lovers who want to chill out, less for clubbers and co (you don’t come here to party all night long !)
One week on Re Island : visits
My favorite Villages:
Concerning villages, my favorite are Ars-en-Ré, St Martin-de-Ré and la Flotte. To stay: clearly around Ars en Ré, more quiet than the east part.
La Flotte: classified among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”: I truly liked the lovely port that becomes dry at low tide and the beautiful streets where you’ll love to stroll.
Saint Martin -de-Ré: the biggest city of the Island, very touristic and nice with its Vauban fortification classified as a World Heritage site by Unesco. Even if there are plenty of tourists shops, St Martin is beautiful and pleasant.
Every time I go there, I enjoy la Martinière ice creams, located on the port. A delight !
You can see Ars-en Ré from far away thanks to its famous bell tower which is painted in black and white. It’s also classified among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”.
If you have children, from april to september, you shouldn’t miss Donin’s vintage carousel located on the market place: Donin sings cool songs, children love that. Moreover, we were stunned as on Wednesday around 11.30 am, the school car stopped there, a flop of children stepped out and invaded the carousel before leaving to go to the school’s restaurant. Sweetness of life, I told you !
As far as Ars-en-Ré market is concerned (it takes place every morning), I personally think that there were not enough fruit and vegetable produceurs. Small tip: when you are on the market place, if you follow the road along the bicycle path (Ars in behind you), you’ll find two hangars: in one of them, organic fruits and vegetables are sold.
If you want to find local food, you can go to the Produceurs Farm, chemin des Guignardes in Bois-Plage where 28 Ré farmers sell their products.
You shouldn’t miss the Salt produceurs cooperative in Ars, perfect to buy salt from the island.
Phare des Baleines: THE island monument. Good thing is that children and adults like it. From above you’ll have a great panorama and be able to shoot nice photos. It’s impressive inside also. The only thing is that children often ask where the whales are…
My favorite beaches :
My usual travel guide (le Routard) did not say a word about the most beautiful plages…And yet most of the visitors also come for the beaches. I mainly explored beaches on the west part, but clearly my fav’ are La Conche which is big, wild and beautiful (that’s where the movie “The longest Day” was shot;
and Trousse-Chemise, more discrete, but nice and pleasant.
Re Island by bike:
You can’t miss is: Ré is the kingdom of bicycles. A lot of bicycle paths, I personally loved the easy ride among salt marshes in the area of the Maison du Fier: perfect to see birds and discover the marshes. You can even buy salt on tables where there is nobody to check your payment ! On the way back, you can have a bath at La Conche.
Best places to eat
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test all adresses I wanted, because we were with our daughters who are still young. I truly recommend La Cabane du Feneau, a very nice place hosted by two brothers who are oysters famers, where you eat directly from the produceur in the middle of the marshed (take a spray against mosquitoes just in case). Our daughters ate their very first seafood platter in a very special place.
NB: I personally really appreciated the island also because I came off-season (in May). But it can be very crowded. You should always remember that you have to cross a bridge to come on the island, and according to inhabitants it can sometimes take 2 or 3 hours to cross the bridge during high traffic hours !!
Here is my small guide on Re Island, I hope you’ll find good ideas for your future holidays ! For sure, I’ll go back !