In 2018 the Ile de Ré will be connected to even more of the UK. Jet2 will be flying to La Rochelle/Ile de Ré from Leeds Bradford starting in June. You can also fly from Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick, Manchester and Southampton . In addition Ryanair flies all year round from London Stanstead. Ideal for a bit of winter sunshine on the Ile de Ré.
If you are already thinking holidays and 2018, next year there are going to be more routes from the UK to the island’s airport in La Rochelle. Jet2 have announced a new service from Leeds starting in the spring.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We get plenty of live music on the Ile de Ré. This week it’s the annual Jazz Au Phare up at the Phare des Baleines lighthouse. Stanley Clarke is headlining. This summer we’ve also had live music from a yacht. The first day the Lady Flow appeared in St Martin de Ré harbour I noticed there was something carefully covered up on deck. A large rectangular object. I never imagined it would be a piano.
For a few days, twice daily, St Martin de Ré harbour echoed to the sounds of live music from the Lady Flow. I kept walking down from our house to have a listen. Pianocean as it’s called is a project that seems to carry some of the spirit of the love, peace and good music days of the mid 1970’s Radio Caroline when its ship was moored off the Dutch and then the English coast.
Last year they sailed round the Mediterranean. This year it’s France’s Atlantic coast and Brittany. As well as songs written about their experiences on and offboard, we were treated to covers of Tom Waits and even Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit.
While listening I kept thinking how do they do it? How do they get the piano up on deck? Maybe it was on a moving platform like the old cinema organs. More likely it’s muscle and a rope. Marieke, the singer, said the piano had been put in her cabin so they could record a CD on board.
After St Martin de Ré ,the Lady Flow was sailing to La Rochelle for Francofolies. Details of future Pianocean venues are on their website. Apparantly they’ve pencilled in Antarctica for 2024! Remaining ports of call this summer include Lorient, Le Crouesty, Vannes and Groix.
It was a beautiful sunny day on the Ile de Ré for the the first big holiday weekend of bargain hunting at the island’s various brocantes. Even before nine in the morning buyers and sellers were busy just down the road from our house in St Martin de Ré . My eyes were drawn to a bit of Josephine Baker hair care.
If Bakerfix wasn’t quite what you were after you’d still find it hard to go home empty handed. There were so many stalls full of history.
We couldn’t stay too long though as the annual Ascension Day brocante in St Martin de Ré had been joined this year by a rival Broc in Rivedoux Plage.
This was a much smaller affair but you could at least look out to sea while browsing. That’s the bridge connecting the Ile de Ré to the mainland at La Rochelle inside the fish.
Two brocantes in one day, not bad but there was more to come. Three in fact in the next two days. First up La Noue.
In Sainte Marie-La Noue the brocante stretched along one of the main roads of the village. While at the other end of the island another road was blocked off for the broc in St Clément.
That chicken wasn’t going cheap but the next day in Ars there were plenty of bargains. Someone was clearly thinking summer…
Five brocantes in three days and there are plenty more to come. The island tourist offices have all the details. Our favourite is probably in the next village to us, La Flotte. The next one there is on June 12th.
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.
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.