Gastronomically, there is an obvious focus on seafood but the island
also boasts a fair-sized cooperative winery, a brewery, a chocolatier
and a biscuit factory, all of which can be visited. Shellfish tasting places abound, some
of which also offer wine and simple snacks. These make a nice change
from a restaurant or cafe for lunch. Or buy bread and cheese, a
quiche and a cake or two and have a picnic on the beach or in the woods.
you are a regular cyclist or have never taken a cycling holiday
before, the Ile de Re is a good choice. It is well provided with
multiple bike paths (almost entirely traffic free), pleasant places
to visit and spend the night, bicycle hire and repair shops and
regular bus routes. Children love the beaches and places such as the
forts and lighthouses, but there is plenty for adults too - including
some stylish shops and galleries thanks to all those Parisian
visitors. It is about as bike-friendly as you can get.
Not sure if a bike trip on the Ile de Re is for you? Have a look at what a typical day would be like.
Holidays on the Ile de Re are not generally offered by travel agents or tour operators outside of France. Accommodation and other costs are on the high side for France (eye-wateringly so in the peak season), but standards are also high. Our estimate of the cost of a reasonably comfortable holiday (ie staying in medium quality hotels, and eating and drinking moderately well) and assuming you rent a bike, based on riding for 7 days and two people sharing a room for 6 nights is:
||Cost in Euros
| Bike hire
|| €10/day per bike for 7 days
|| €85/night for 6 nights
| Food and drink
|| €50 per person per day, for 7 days
| Public transport
|| say €20 per person
making €1,410 in total, or €705 per person.
Ile de Re route guide
The network of bike routes is so dense that you can easily get from village to village. The cycle paths are mostly traffic free but you will be riding on the road in the villages themselves. You can download a full bike route from the Ile de Re official tourist board website. The map below shows the positions of the villages and the sheer flatness of the island. Rollerbladers (inline skaters) use the bike paths too because most of them are well surfaced and smooth. We also offer a Google Ile de Re Map for your use.
In the table below are links to the websites of the 10 island villages and others that you may need to plan your holiday, including La Rochelle on the mainland, and the less occupied Ile de Oleron to the south of the Ile de Re. The website for the whole island is comprehensive but slow and frustrating while the smaller village sites are more friendly and just as informative. If you explore them you will discover all that the island offers, from old fortresses and medieval fish locks to Abbey ruins, German pillboxes and lighthouses. There are many sailing clubs and you can also go out to sea on a catamaran or a motorised cruise.
Information on each village can be obtained from its web site by clicking on the village name above. For those that do not provide an English version, see the advice on web translation below.
The island would make a
great single centre holiday for a week or you could move
every couple of days. For example you could stay at these places:
- Days 1 and 2. St
Martin, Hotel Le Galion. A great, small hotel with an underground car park for the bikes. (It's also only a short walk from a large public car park where you could leave your car for the rest of the week when you move on.) Based here you can tour the
central area going out to Loix and down to the beaches in the south.
- Days 2 and 3. La
Flotte, Hotel La Galiote. 10 minutes' walk from the centre of town, whitewashed buildings with secure parking. From here you can focus on the east end of the island and perhaps make a
trip to La Rochelle.
- Days 4 and 5. Ars en Re, Hotel Le
Parasol. The rooms are a bit motel-like but this hotel is hidden
amongst the pines and the restaurant has an excellent reputation. A good base for the west end of the island.
- Days 6 and 7. Ste Marie, Les
Vignes de Chapelle. This eco-hotel is a bit expensive but using a booking
agent you may get a good deal. The swimming pool and jacuzzi make it a good place to rest after the week's rides.