Our5 essentials

Eco responsible tourism

As the network of cycle tracks are highly developed, cycling is the perfect means to get around to discover the Ile de Ré at your own pace! A multitude of hirers are present in the 4 local areas, offering equivalent services. If you do not like pedalling, you can even take an electric bike instead. Isn’t life just grand?

To start, mount your racer headed for Loix to cross the salt marshes by the Martray crossing. From June to September you will perhaps have the opportunity to see salt workers harvesting this precious salt. Do not delay in stopping at a local producer to buy some souvenirs. During your walk, you will see a multitude of oyster-farmers. Come lunch time, stop in one of these cabins to taste some fresh oysters opposite the Ocean. In the vicinity of Fier d’Ars, you will certainly come nose to nose with the Réserve Naturelle Nationale de Lilleau des Niges (a national nature reserve). This heaven of migrating birds, to the west of the island, extends over 220 hectares of former salt marshes. Explanatory signs at the site entrance detail the various species sheltering there.

Mini capital

This maritime village protected by fortified ramparts is the must-see crossroads for your bicycle ride. Each alleyway abounds in heritage treasures: houses traditionally typical of the island, the Hôtel de Clerjotte (the museum of the Ile de Ré) as well as the citadel which accommodated numerous prisoners destined for hard labour. For a panoramic view over the village, go up to the Clocher Observatoire (bell tower). It appears to be even more beautiful at night.

Continue your excursion via the port to admire the multitude of fishing and pleasure boats which have dropped anchor there. If you are not scared of queues, get in the queue to enjoy a deliciously fruity sorbet at the inescapable ice cream seller “La Martinière”. Come nightfall, the terraces and restaurants running alongside the port as if by magic come to life. A multitude of night entertainment and concerts take place during the holiday period. Get information at the tourist office situated just a stone’s throw from the quays.

Reach for the skies

Built in 1854 to replace the tower which was no longer efficient enough, this 57-metre high lighthouse was from then on the island’s highest building. It takes its name from the cetaceans (such as whales or dolphins) which had a habit of being washed up on this part of the coast. If you reach the top of the 257 steps, you will discover on the left the ocean as far as the eye can see, and on the right an unrestricted view of the Ile de Ré island. When the sky is sufficiently clear, you can even make out the contours of the Ile d'Oléron island.

End your visit to the site by a walk in the Parc du Phare des Baleines park Having an English influence, this 2-hectare green space guarantees you a moment’s peace in the middle of nowhere.

Connect with nature

When the sea goes out, the foreshore (the area between the sea level at low tide and high tide) is filled with a multitude of shellfish which are simply asking to be gathered in. These sandbanks abound on the edge of the island for children’s greatest delight. To gather queen scallops, clams, mussels and other cockles we advise you to go to the side of the large Fiers d’Ars bay. The Le Bois Plage en Ré commune (Bois Plage) is renowned for the fruitful harvest of sea urchins and crabs.

Be vigilant as regulation in this sphere is very strict. You cannot fish more than 5 kilos of shellfish per person per day. It is also prohibited to return stones and to gather female crustaceans with their eggs. Do not forget to consult the tide times to avoid surprises in this regard.

The Deep Blue Sea

With more than 100 km of beaches, you are spoilt for choice as to where to put down your beach towel. The beaches most enjoyed by families are found at the edge of La Couarde and Bois Plage. For the most part, they have lifeguards during the holiday season. Bordered by pine trees, the creeks of Trousse-Chemise attract holidaymakers who prefer the wilder stretches away from the crowd. Lovers of kite surfing and sailing will enjoy the 2 large beaches located either side of the Pont de Ré bridge, in the vicinity of the Rivedoux commune.

To add a little magic to your stay on the Ile de Ré, settle down on the Plage de la Conche beach at night fall to watch the sunshine disappear faraway into the ocean.

The small +

50 shades of white

Since 1996, the 10 town halls on the Ile de Ré have adapted a common colour chart of 12 tones, so as to retain the harmony of building colours.

Ile de Ré island it’s:

110kilometresof cycle tracks
8,000tonnesof tasty oysters
1,500hectaresof salt marshes

And if this were your nextBest holiday memory?