Monthly Archives: July 2015

Going slow in the sun on the Ile de Ré

Last week we cycled from our house in St Martin de Ré to Loix.  The little village on the north coast of the Ile de Ré can often seem a little cut off from the rest of the island.  In fact the main cycle route into Loix was split in two by the big storm Xanthia in winter 2010.

On bike, visits to Loix usually start at the tiny harbour complete with water mill.  The pace always seems slower than on the rest of the Ile de Ré.  The village enjoys life at a snail’s pace. This time we even shared the cycle route with a horse.

Because Loix sticks out from the middle of the island, you get to look back across Ré to see where you have come from.  On very clear days it’s even possible to make out the bridge connecting the island to La Rochelle and the mainland.

Loix is not what it seems.  There is more to it than just a sleepy village.  There’s the salt business.  An old fashioned book binders and even a goats cheese maker.  You can go and see the animals being milked most days.  If you fancy a little local produce, as well as the market, people sell on the doorstep.  50 cents in the glass gets you a lovely looking courgette.

Thinking of food, some say the island’s best oysters come from Loix.  I’m no expert, though I do like one of the oyster grower’s ancient tractors.

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When you visit the centre of Loix do check out the village tourist office.  It’s certainly the friendliest on the island.  They usually have interesting art or photography exhibitions and they are proud of the village’s designation as a “Citta Slow”. It means somewhere that celebrates the benefits of a slower pace of life.  As you cycle back home you’ll get the message.

If you want to see Loix and the rest of the Ile de Ré yourself, we still have a couple of weeks in August and September when our holiday home in St Martin de Ré is free.  Check for dates here.

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Dancing Boats on the Ile de Ré

If you see a poster saying there’s going to be a ballet of boats you would want to go wouldn’t you?  So just before dusk I set out on my bicycle from St Martin de Ré for La Flotte and the Spectacle son et lumière Ombre de Nuit dans le port avec un ballet de bateaux traditionnels.

Everyone gathered around the harbour and waited.  The music started and out of the dark the boats started to glide by.  A few flares were let off to make things a little more atmospheric.

Most of the boats were genuine Ile de Ré craft.  Some had been working fishing vessels.  Many are now officially Monuments Historiques, all be it floating ones.

Each boat waited in the shadows for its turn.  It was a little balletic but sadly the boats didn’t really dance with each other.  That might have been exciting but it would also probably have ended in disaster.

The island’s historic boats have names like Clapotis, Général Leclerc,  Aurore and Père Gabriel.

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Some of the boats can usually be seen in the daylight in La Flotte and there’s more of the Ile de Ré’s nautical history in the town’s Maison du Platin.

There are plenty of vessels old and new to be seen in the island’s other harbours, our house is just a 5 minute walk from the quayside in St Martin de Ré.  If you haven’t booked your summer holiday yet, we still have availability in late August and in September. You can check dates here.