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. Oyster and other shellfish tasting places abound, some of which also offer wine and simple snacks. These make a nice change from a restaurant or café for lunch. Or buy bread and cheese, a quiche and a pastry or two and have a picnic on the beach or in the woods.
Whether you are a regular cyclist or have never taken a cycling holiday before, the Île de Ré 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 services. 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 Île de Ré is for you? Have a look at what a typical day would be like.
Holidays on the Île de Ré 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.
île de Ré route guide
The network of bike paths 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 Île de Ré 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 Île de Ré 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 populated Île d'Oléron to the south of the Île de Ré. 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.