Tag Archives: House rental

The Ile de Ré celebrates its bridge

One French newspaper puts it this way. Le pont qui a changé l’île de Ré a bientôt 30 ans.  This month marks 30 years since the Ile de Ré was physically connected to mainland France.  Three decades on and much has changed.  Though some things don’t. The other side of the bridge is still called  le continent.   Driving to our holiday home in St Martin de Ré the excitement mounts as we reach the bridge.

Oléron, the next big island down the coast towards Bordeaux, got its bridge back in the 1960’s. The Ile de Ré had to wait until 1988.  Importantly, that meant the island could benefit from Oléron’s mistakes.  From the start the Pont de Ré has been a toll bridge. Now it’s called an Écotaxe, with the money raised going to fund work on things like protecting the beaches and boosting the local buses. The toll has helped limit the crowds.

There is a very special feeling as you drive on to the bridge and get your first glimpse of the island.  You drive steadily uphill and then there it is…

Before the bridge, there was the ferry.  Islanders called it le Bac. In summer you could queue for hours to get across.  When it shut at night, the island was cut off. Miss the last ferry back after a night out in La Rochelle and you would be stranded till morning. More importantly, if an islander needed urgent medical help, they too would have to wait.

This is all that remains of the way to the ferry.  I know people, both English and French, who knew the island before the bridge.  Holidays on the Ile de Ré were clearly more of an adventure back then.  I am sure I would have loved to use the ferry but you have to admit the bridge makes life so much easier.

To see pictures of our home in St Martin de Ré and check availability for this summer, click here.

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The Ile de Ré in UK cinemas

Yes that’s Joan Collins snapped in a 2CV filming on the Ile de Ré.  The results can finally be seen in UK cinemas this week with the release of The Time of Their Lives.  I thought now would be a good time to revist the filming in St Martin de Ré last summer…

Ask anyone French about celebrities linked to the Ile de Ré  and usually Charles Aznavour is the first name to be mentioned.  He immortalised one of the island’s many beaches in the song Trousse Chemise.  This year Joan Collins has been added to the list thanks to the filming of her latest movie, The Time of Their Lives. 

Joan has apparantly escaped her retirement home in the UK to say goodbye to an old flame at his funeral on the island.  They spent several days filming down the road from our house in St Martin de Ré.  The church being used for the funeral while the old 2cv was driven the wrong way up the quayside to get a more exciting hotel arrival on camera.

Watching the film crew at work was a holiday bonus for many. Sometimes it wasn’t always clear how much was going on.  It turned out the hotel arrival scene was being filmed from  across the water.  You can just make the camera out in this shot, to the right of the yacht’s mast.  The crowd may be able to spot the backs of their heads in the finished film when it comes out.

Alongside Joan Collins, we saw Pauline Collins and Ronald Pickup.  Sir Tim Rice is involved, working on the music.  Dame Joan has described The Time of Their Lives as Thelma and Louise mixed with a bit of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

To book our house in St Martin de Ré, or just find out more about it, click here.

Other Ile de Ré set films include Les Maris, les Femmes, les Amants back in the 1980’s.  More recently came Alceste à Bicyclette released in the UK as Cycling with Moliere.

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.

Stars on the Ile de Ré

Ask anyone French about celebrities linked to the Ile de Ré  and usually Charles Aznavour is the first name to be mentioned.  He immortalised one of the island’s many beaches in the song Trousse Chemise.  This year Joan Collins has been added to the list thanks to the filming of her latest movie, The Time of Their Lives. 

Joan has apparantly escaped her retirement home in the UK to say goodbye to an old flame at his funeral on the island.  They spent several days filming down the road from our house in St Martin de Ré.  The church being used for the funeral while the old 2cv was driven the wrong way up the quayside to get a more exciting hotel arrival on camera.

Watching the film crew at work was a holiday bonus for many. Sometimes it wasn’t always clear how much was going on.  It turned out the hotel arrival scene was being filmed from  across the water.  You can just make the camera out in this shot, to the right of the yacht’s mast.  The crowd may be able to spot the backs of their heads in the finished film when it comes out.

Alongside Joan Collins, we saw Pauline Collins and Ronald Pickup.  Sir Tim Rice is involved, working on the music.  Dame Joan has described The Time of Their Lives as Thelma and Louise mixed with a bit of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Other Ile de Ré set films include Les Maris, les Femmes, les Amants back in the 1980’s.  More recently came Alceste à Bicyclette released in the UK as Cycling with Moliere. 

Easter on the Ile de Ré

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Easter on the Ile de Ré  isn’t like Easter in the UK.  For a start the French school holidays aren’t linked to Easter, so this week you are more aware of Spanish, British and Belgian families rather than French holidaymakers.  However, Easter is still important. It does mark the beginning of the season and one annual pilgrimage.  The first ice cream of the year.

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La Martinière has been named one of the best ice cream makers in France.   They serve up more than 60 different flavours and Easter Saturday was the first chance anyone got to taste them in 2016. People were packing the pavement in St Martin de Ré to get their hands on the tasty cones.

I like Juliette’s idea of trying a new flavour every day of her holidays. You can even have a Madras ice cream and how about oyster?

Whatever your taste in ice creams, check out our house here and then you can stay just a 5 minute walk from La Martinière.  Oh, and they do crepes and waffles too.

 

 

 

Valentines on the Ile de Ré

If it’s Valentines then surely it has to be oysters.  There are plenty of them to be had at the moment on the Ile de Ré.  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.

IMG_4691

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.  You can book it here.

Island dreaming 2016 on the Ile de Ré

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A new year on the Ile de Ré and the time many islanders let us know their hopes for the months ahead.  Each village has its own Cérémonie de vœux.  I was thinking what would I be wishing for and realised it is all those things that make the island such a wonderful place. The reasons I think the Ile de Ré is a perfect holiday destination.

Lets begin with breakfast.  A lovely baguette de tradition française bought from the local market or at the boulangerie on St Martin de Ré harbour…

After breakfast we are usually straight out on the bikes.  The Ile de Ré is a dream for cyclists. There are around about 100 kilometres of cycle paths, many going straight through the vineyards and salt marshes.  Oh and if you hate hills, don’t worry.  The highest point on the island is a mere 19 metres above sea level.

While out on your cycle you also get to meet the local wildlife.  The salt marshes are home to thousands of birds but the Ile de Ré is also famous for its donkeys…

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You can always cycle to one of the villages where it is market day.  This is La Flotte and this man only sells island produce.  It can look so fresh, you will want to go home and cook with it.

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Must be time for lunch.  Seafood by the sea I think…

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It really was by the sea, I was just concentrating on the food at the time.  But if it is waves you are after, there are plenty of them.  This is one of the beaches at Bois Plage…

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Then all I would dream for is a bit of people watching down on St Martin de Ré harbour. Possibly from the terrace at Au Lever Du Soleil.  Then it would have to be dinner at our favourite restaurant, Bistrot Marin…

And at the end of the day, a great sunset…

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If that is the kind of day you dream of, have a look at our holiday home here and book a stay now.

This year there are even more flights to La Rochelle airport which is a 20 minute drive from our house.  TGV’s to La Rochelle station connect with the island bus.