L’île de Ré, France

L’île de Ré, a jewel of the Atlantic coast that could be your next destination of vacation if you like nature, cycling, beach, great landscapes and best of all seafood. The island is connected by a bridge from La Rochelle and takes about 45 minutes by car to travel to L’île de Ré. If you have to rely on public transport, it would be Ré Bus. However, it takes longer because the bus makes a lot of stops.

On this island, three most important activities are salt farming, oyster farming, and wine production. There are 10 villages to discover in L’île de Ré,

1. Ars-en-Ré

2. Rivedoux-Plage

3. La Flotte

4. St-Martin-de-Ré

5. Loix

6. Les Portes-en-Ré

7. St-Clément-des-Baleines

8. La Couarde sur Mer

9. Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré

10. Ste-Marie-de-Ré

My recommended villages? They are:

1. Ars-en-Ré, for its Marché, restaurants, and shops.

2. St-Martin-de-Ré, for restaurants and shops for kitchen & dining items.

3. Les Portes-en-Ré, for it’s Marché, restaurants, and shops for kitchen & dining items.

4.  St-Clément-des-Baleines, for Baleine lighthouse and shops.

The best way to discover this island is by bicycle, there’s more than 100km of cycle tracks les pistes cyclables. Most of the cycle routes are along the water, salt marshes, vineyards, and woods. It’s just so relaxing! Sometimes, it’s good to be laid-back and appreciate the nature and the unique landscapes of L’île de Ré.

We stayed in Le Gillieux in St-Clément at Arnaud’s family holiday home. Our days in L’île de Ré were to wake up at any time we wished. Then, had breakfast – fresh orange juice and toasted brioche with confiture. We then got ready to cycle to Marché or supermarket in either Ars-en-Ré or Les Portes to do our food shopping. By noon, we stopped for lunch. Most of the time, we started pineau as our apéro. In the afternoon, we would cycle again or went to the beach. Just before the sunsets, we either went for la pêche (fishing) or we cooked at home and took it easy. Life was just so different from the normal routine!!

A few restaurants’ addresses:

Le Skipper

27 Quai de la Poithevinière, 17410 Saint Martin en Ré

Phone: +33 (0)5 46 09 20 38

Fax: +33 (0)5 46 09 02 35

www.leskipper.fr

Le Belem

29 Quai de la Poithevinière17410 Saint Martin de Ré

Phone: +33 (0)5 46 09 56 56

Le Cafe du Commerce

Ars-en-Ré

Phone: +33 (0)5 46 29 41 57

La Bazenne

Les Portes

A few things not to be missed:

1. Buy the famous Fleur de Sel “Salt Flower”. Plain fleur de sel is the most common. However, they do have other range where they mixes herbs and spices to the salt.

2. Buy pineau. Wikipedia: It is a fortified wine (mistelle or vin de liqueur), made from a blend of unfermented grape must and Cognac brandy.

3. For oysters lovers, don’t forget to eat the fresh oysters at oysters farms. It will never get fresher than this!

4. Seafood lovers, it’s really a good opportunity to enjoy seafood of any type! Fresh from the sea sold by poissoniers at reasonable price.

5. Cycle around the island and discover some species of birds that may never have seen before.

6. Go fishing. You will never know that you may catch a Sea Bass or Sea Bream!