“Ré la Blanche”, an unspoilt island
Travel just 10 minutes’ drive from La Rochelle for a real change of scenery. Experience the unique charm of "Ré la Blanche" (or “white Ré”), which owes its nickname to its traditional houses’ distinctive colour. The fourth largest island in France, Ré has a wide array of landscapes, from sandy beaches to salt marches, vineyards to forests. Holidays on the Île de Ré go hand in hand with cycling: 100km of cycle tracks cross the island, so you can explore little-known places of unexpected beauty. For an incredible view of the island and ocean all the way over to Aiguillon Bay, climb the dizzying stairwell at Baleines Lighthouse, which shines from the tip of the island. Thrill-seekers can also take to the air or the sea to experience the island a different way, flying over in a microlight or surfing at Couarde-sur-Mer or Pointe du Lizay.
On Île de Ré, classic little fishing villages with streets lined with hollyhocks are packed with great places to visit, including charming markets and small boutiques.
In Saint-Martin-de-Ré or Flotte-en-Ré, find time for some delicious ice cream on the port, watching the boats and yachts coming and going. The hardest part, no doubt, will be deciding what flavour to go for! Who could fail to fall for the charms of Ars-en-Ré, an architectural gem made up of green-shuttered houses and an unusual church with a black and white bell tower? Delve into the world of salt marshes at the ecomuseum in Loix and find out all there is to know about salt farmers’ work. Here, fleur de sel is an art form… don’t forget to bring some back in your suitcase. As well as being a paradise island for holidaymakers, the Île de Ré also attracts migratory birds that nest in the Lilleau des Niges nature reserve. You’ll be surrounded by unspoilt nature as you head off on bird-watching outings with the League for the Protection of Birds or visit the Maison du Fier in Les Portes en Ré if you’re interested in the island’s flora and fauna. More things to do on the Île de Ré Luxuriate in one of the three thalassotherapy centres on the island for a little moment of pure peace.