If you are staying in one of our Vendee campsites, Ile de Re offers a great day out. The island is located to the west of La Rochelle and is reached via a toll bridge, which is an impressive sight in itself. Alternatively there are local boat trips in high season that will take you to one of the ports.
Ile de Re is a flat landscape and a network of off road routes make it ideal for cycling around. Bikes can be hired on the island and you can reach all of the main towns and sites in the saddle. Having said that, the island is 30km long, so if you are planning to reach the most westerly area, you may want to drive part of the way before hiring a bike. If you prefer to stick with your car, the speed limits, like the pace of life are slower.
The wealth of Ile de Re comes from the cultivation of mussels and oysters, which continues to this day. You can sample the delights of these local delicacies in restaurants across the island. Along with the seafood, the other natural delight is the light, sunny and clean beaches which are enjoyed by most island visitors.
St Martin is a stylish port where impressive yachts share the harbour with working trawlers and flat bottomed oyster boats. Whether you are tucking into an ice cream or a bowl of fresh oysters, this area offers an ideal spot for watching the world go by. There are plenty of boutiques for those who enjoy shopping or you can simply stroll along the town’s seventeenth century fortification, which has been well preserved. La Flotte is another attractive port with two fortifications and the beautiful town of St Marie is worth a visit.
At the furthest point of Ile de Re lies the lighthouse. You can pay to climb this tower for views across the sea and the island. With the exception of the lighthouse, no building is over two storey’s high and traditional building styles are strictly adhered to. At low tide, the beaches near the lighthouse contain a multitude of rock pools which are full of life and a wonder to explore. If you enjoy seeing these miniature seascapes, be sure to keep an eye on the tide, as it quickly returns up the shore.
Staying on Ile de Re can be pricy, especially during the high season, but the island makes for a delightful day out and is within driving distance from any one of our Vendee campsites.
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