At the end of another lovely sunny day on the Ile de Ré, the best if often still to come. Sunset. It is suprising how often that half hour before the sun disappears seems somewhat magical on the island. You are really aware of it walking round St Martin de Ré harbour.
Before the lovely peachy pink colours of the last rays of sun, St Martin de Ré is often tinted a golden yellow. The sun reflecting on the stone of some of the older buildings.
There is certainly something about the light on the island. Bright clear days in midwinter and supposedly as much sun as they get down on the French Riviera.
The Ile de Ré does benefit from a micro-climate as it sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. This is the view at sunset last winter from one of St Martin’s bars, Au Lever du Soleil.
From St Martin if you look across the water to the north west, you see the sun setting over another island village, Loix. When the sun has finally gone, you turn your back on it to walk home, knowing that tomorrow could bring another beauty.
If you are now longing to see the sunset you could always book our holiday home in St Martin de Ré . Details here.
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.
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.