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.
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.
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.
Blue skies and empty beaches, what isn’t there to like about the Ile de Ré in December? I’ve written before about Christmas on the island, have a look here for some pictures. However in the weeks running up to the holiday it can feel like the island is yours and yours alone.
Out on the cycle route from St Martin de Ré to Ars you can be peddling for half an hour and not see anyone. In fact the best way to show any human activity is to photo your shadow in the winter sunshine.
The good thing is that while the paths and cycle routes are quiet you can still get a good meal. Places like Bistrot Marin in St Martin de Ré stay open through the winter, just taking a couple of weeks off for annual holidays.
Of course there are some Christmas lights up already. They’ve even been busy on the historic Vauban walls surrounding St Martin de Ré.
If you want to see our home in St Martin de Ré do have a look here. It’s already booked-up for the Christmas – New Year break but we are now taking reservations for 2016.