During your stay at our hotel in La Rochelle, we invite you to spend a day on the Ile de Ré. With its many activities and unspoilt nature, the Ile de Ré is an ideal place to spend a day out. The hotel*** François 1er tells you more in this dedicated article.
What to visit on the Ile de Ré ?
Located off the coast of La Rochelle, this island is known for the quality of its environment and for its many tourist sites. When you book your stay at the François 1er hotel in La Rochelle, you will be able to spend an exceptional day on the Ile de Ré. Treat yourself to a real relaxing break !
You can discover its fine sandy beaches, its pine forests and the famous Baleines lighthouse. You can also take advantage of the various activities on offer on the island: for example, you can book a boat trip to admire the island’s coastline, or go for a bike ride.
The villages of the Ile de Ré
The Ile-de-Ré’s villages have given it the nickname “Ré la Blanche” because of the white colour of the houses. The island of Ré has 10 villages with an atypical character, each offering a very special atmosphere. So where do you start when you want to discover the island?
- The village of La Flotte is listed as one of the “most beautiful villages in France”. Start your walk with the market of La Flotte. Its medieval inspiration is what makes it so charming. La Flotte is full of small shops and flowery alleys. The village of La Flotte is also home to a small ruined abbey, the Abbaye des Châteliers.
Our hotel in La Rochelle invites you to discover the small port of La Flotte. It is the ideal place to have a small coffee in the morning or an ice cream at snack time.
- Ars-en-Ré is one of the most beautiful villages on the Ile de Ré. It is located in the heart of the salt marshes. Take the “salt trail” to get there. Many small local producers sell their salt harvest here. From a distance you will spot the two-coloured bell tower of the village, and then you will arrive at the central square of the village, full of life. Ars-en-Ré is full of small streets full of flowers, the ideal place to take some pictures before discovering the next village.
- Let’s now discover Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the historic capital of the Ile-de-Ré. This village is full of history: Vauban’s fortifications, its citadel, its past linked to the penal colony… Here too you will find many small shops in the streets near the port. Saint-Martin is also the ideal place to have lunch. There are many small restaurants on the port.
Our hotel’s favourite in La Rochelle: stop for an ice cream at La Martinière. A real institution on the Ile de Ré, you will have to be patient before tasting your ice cream, but it is really worth it!
If you’re visiting the Ile de Ré with your family, don’t forget to stop off at the Barbette family park to meet the island’s famous ‘knickerbocker’ donkeys. Children can enjoy a ride on the backs of these clothed donkeys.
- The very charming village of Les Portes-en-Ré is located at the end of the island. To get there, you can cross the Lilleau des Niges Nature Reserve where you can observe hundreds of species of birds. The walk can also be done on foot! Unlike the other villages on the island, Portes-en-Ré has a few stone houses which give the village an authentic charm.
- In Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, you can visit the Phare des Baleines. Take the stairs of the lighthouse to admire the panoramic view from 57 metres high. The Phare des Baleines is located at the very end of the island, and was named after the whales that beached on the island’s tip.
During your stay on the island of Ré you can also visit the villages of La Couarde-sur-Mer, Loix (where the salt marshes eco-museum is located), Rivedoux-Plage, Sainte-Marie-de-Ré as well as the Bois-Plage-en-Ré.
The beaches of the Ile de Ré
There is no shortage of beaches on the Ile-de-Ré. Indeed, the island has more than 100 km of coastline and the beaches are among the most beautiful in Europe. Just a few kilometres from your hotel in La Rochelle old town, take advantage of a sunny day to discover these beaches!
The fine sandy beaches are located more on the south and west coasts of the island. They are more suitable for swimming than in the north of the island. We recommend the beaches of Bois-Plage and La Couarde.
In the north of the island, between the Phare des Baleines and the village of Les Portes-en-Ré is the beach of “La Conche des Baleines”, a beautiful beach on the island of Ré.
To feel like you are at the end of the world, drive a few more kilometres to the end of the Ile de Ré. Near the Banc du Bucheron, you will find the coves of “Trousse Chemise”, full of charm.
Last but not least, you can enjoy the beaches of Rivedoux, located at the edge of the bridge of the Ile-de-Ré. You can find all the beaches on the Ile de Ré on the website of the Ile de Ré tourist office.
How to get to the Ile de Ré from our hotel in La Rochelle ?
To reach the Ile de Ré by any other means of transport than boat, you will have to take the bridge ! The bridge is 3 kilometres long and connects the Ile de Ré and La Rochelle (towards the port of La Pallice).
There is a toll booth at the entrance to the bridge in La Rochelle. If you drive over the bridge, the price varies from 8€ to 16€ depending on the season. Indeed, the bridge is more expensive in summer. There is no toll on the way back to La Rochelle. Thus, each visitor or day-tripper participates in the protection of the island’s natural areas.
From the Vieux-Port of La Rochelle, it will take you only 35 minutes to reach the island by bike, and between 15 and 20 minutes by car. Our hotel in La Rochelle offers bicycles for hire during the summer months. Buses and shuttles are also available from La Rochelle train station and Place de Verdun to cross the bridge.
The other solution is to reach the Ile de Ré by sea. Between April and September, inter-island cruises will take you to Saint-Martin-de-Ré. You can take these maritime shuttles from the Vieux-Port of La Rochelle, a few minutes walk from our hotel in La Rochelle old town.
To conclude, if the length of your stay allows it, our hotel in La Rochelle recommends you to spend a day on the island of Ré. As you can see, there are many things to see during your day trip. We are at your disposal in case you have any further questions about how to prepare your day.