Tag Archives: Charente Maritime

Bikes, Beaches and Brocantes on Ile de Ré

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What do you want from your holidays? Some say lie on a beach in the sunshine and relax. Others want to walk the streets of new cities.  Maybe you would rather enjoy the coolness of art galleries and museums.  I quite like the bike, beach and brocante option available many weekends on the Ile de Ré.

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This was the scene in La Flotte a few Sundays ago.  The regular Brocante is just a few minutes cycle ride from our house in St Martin de Ré.  We have been quite lucky at the La Flotte broc. Quite a few things in our house were bought there.  Though not these monks…

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May is a busy month for brocantes on the island.  Ascension Day is always marked with a huge market on the Place de la Republique in St Martin. You can read about it here.

Most villages organise regular brocs but some weekends can be tough. Too many to choose from.  Do you peddle to Rivedoux Plage for the broc there and then go up the island to Ars en Ré or Les Portes for another? Or maybe just do one and take it easy on the beach…

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Whatever you choose, have a look at our house in St Martin de Ré.  We still have some availability this summer and don’t forget the island is lovely in September.  Everything is open, it should still be sunny and warm, it just it won’t be as busy.

 

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Valentines on the Ile de Ré

I first published this last year but given it’s Valentines we want to give more love to the Ile de Ré.  For many February 14th means it has to be oysters.  There are plenty of them to be had at the moment on the island.   I clocked these with their special Saint Valentin box in La Flotte.

Our half hour Sunday morning walk from our house in St Martin de Ré to La Flotte certainly left us feeling peckish and there was plenty to choose from in the market.  The big bonus no peak season crowds.

It’s not just about seafood.  It’s amazing what they can do with pork.  Great lumps of it.

I always find Sunday mornings in La Flotte market a bit of a treat and this time despite it being winter, the sun was shining.

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After a coffee while watching the world go by down by the harbour, we walked back to St Martin, taking the coast route.  A chance to see the migratory birds that have arrived and to just listen to the sea.

If you would like to enjoy a Sunday morning like this have a look at our Ile de Ré holiday home. Remember, the Easter holidays are sooner than you think. You can book it here.

Ile de Ré: One of France’s Best Holidays

 

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Last winter it was the New York Times that put the Ile de Ré on a best list.  Now The Times has done it.  Celebrating the island in its list of the 50 best French holidays and as one of the 10 best French breaks for families. I have to agree…

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Great beaches, lovely food and if you want to get on a bike, brilliant.  The island is a cyclist’s dream.  A network of cycle routes goes up, down and across Ré.  Pedalling is made that much easier by the lack of hills.

By bike you are never more than a few minutes from another beach.  Of course if four legs rather than two wheels is your kind of thing, there are always the donkeys.  On a good day you can hear them from our garden.

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There are more places to rent a bike than rent a car on the island.  A cycle certainly gets you to places you can’t drive to.  Your wheels will be handy for some of the oyster shacks.

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However you spend your day, be it on the  beach or just wandering the whitewashed villages, you need to be ready for sundown.  The island gets some brilliant sunsets.  We love the short walk from our house in St Martin de Ré  to see the amazing colours round the harbour.

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In summer St Martin de Ré has its own night market. You can have dinner at our favourite harbourside restaurant, Bistrot Marin and then check out the stalls as you wander home to dream of the next day. Hoping it will start with breakfast in the garden.

To find out more about our house on the Ile de Ré click here.

For the latest on availability check here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas on the Ile de Ré

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Until I manage a Christmas on the Ile de Ré when it snows, I think this has to be my favourite festive island scene.  This was taken outside the Café du Commerce in Ars-en-Ré a couple of years ago.

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If you are lucky enough to spend Christmas on the island, you may even see a live nativity. Well the Ile de  Ré is famous for its donkeys.   Perhaps more importantly there are the wonderfully quiet beaches.  On a bright, crisp and sunny day in midwinter they can be so beautiful. Great for walking off any festive over indulgence.

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Ok, so sometimes the festive efforts can look a little tired but it is a much more gentle, less in your face Christmas than I am used to in the UK.

Last year, these lights were on the fortifications that make Saint Martin de Ré a UNESCO World Heritage site. I’m sure the soldiers that once guarded the place would never have expected to be replaced by giant baubles.

As Christmas is traditionally the time many people start thinking summer holidays, I should remind you that we are already booked for some weeks in 2017.  You can check availability here.

 

 

 

 

 

Ile de Ré 2017

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With summer finally over, it must be time to start thinking 2017.  This week booking opened for next year on our agency website.  So if you are thinking about the Ile de Ré for your next holiday, here are a few pictures of summer 2016 on the island.

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The beach here is Bois Plage.  The boats are in Saint Martin de Ré harbour, a five minute walk from our house.

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Everyone we speak to about their experiences holidaying on the Ile de Ré says they find it very relaxing. Somehow somewhere wonderful. A place to recharge your batteries and be outside. The beaches, the cycling, the salt making, the vineyards and oyster shacks. Even the donkeys.

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One thing that we did this year that we haven’t done before is have dinner at Plage de la Cible. It’s the nearest beach to our home, you can walk it in about ten minutes.

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The sun was still out as we sat down.  We walked home watching the sunset.

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To see more pictures and book our holiday home in Saint Martin de Ré click here.

 

Fête du Coquillage on the Ile de Ré

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This Saturday is what is fast becoming the annual end of season party on the Ile de Ré.  It is the annual Fête du Coquillage.  Basically a chance to eat, drink and be merry outdoors on the quayside in Saint Martin de Ré.

Around two thousand people turn up to enjoy some of the best local seafood, washed down with a glass of island wine or two.  Temporary tables are set up on the harbour so you can sit and chat and also enjoy the live music.

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It is seen as the end of the season as it is a final outdoor event going on into the night. One of the delights of St Martin de Ré harbour is that the sunsets can be lovely, we are hoping this Saturday’s will be as good as ever.

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And after sunset the real fun begins.  There’s dancing…

Our house is occupied for this year’s Fête du Coquillage but there is always next year.  We are though still taking bookings for the rest of 2016. The island is lovely off season. Great for cycling and so easy to get to via La Rochelle airport and railway station.  If you are already thinking 2017 call or email using the contact details on the booking page and say you are interested in Maison 312.

 

 

A new cycle route on the Ile de Ré

Anyone I know who likes cycling seems to have heard of the Ile de .  There is an obvious reason for that. Many see it as a paradise for cyclists.  A relatively flat island coupled with miles of segregated cycle paths.  Now the network has got a little longer.

For the past few years they have been wanting to connect the villages of La Flotte and La Noue.  Until now the direct way was on a rather bumpy and busy road.  The existing cycle route connected the two villages but only if you went the long way round via Sainte Marie de .  It always seemed a bit of an effort from our house in St Martin de Ré.

I can’t say the new link is the prettiest one on the island.  However, it is a big improvement on the road. La Noue is always worth a visit. There are some very pretty old houses plus a market on the Place des Tilleuls.

As I write this, our agency will only let you book for the rest of 2016 online.  However, if you call them, you can reserve the house for 2017.  More details here.