I've just come back from a lovely break away on the beautiful island of Ré, or if you're French - Ile de Ré. Just across the bridge from La Rochelle is where this quaint little island is hiding with beaches, harbours, cycling routes, seaside restaurants and complete tranquility.
I think anyone with a busy life, job or living in a busy city then this would be ideal 'escape' from all of that. Here are some pictures from our trip and some recommendations of what to see and do, where to grab the best ice cream and where to shop on the island!
We were staying on the Rivedoux Plage area, the beach was gorgeous and quiet with cycling routes going to every different part of the island. My current read: the sun also rises.
We came across a little carboot fair (I swear I have a magnet for these things) and went to browse for some vintage bargains. I fell for this old cigarette tin mainly because 1. the design was so eye catching and there are palm trees on it and 2. I like the idea of owning something that's so old and holds so much history. I can imagine a man, or woman, flicking it open on a beach somewhere in France and taking out a cigarette. I mean how classy were cigarette holders compared to nowadays?! Sadly, i'm just using it for my earrings which sounds a little less romantic but I think it'll look real snazzy in my bedroom.
La Flotte de Ré
We stopped for a drink on our first night in La flotte de ré once we'd hired some bikes. Our camping site - Les Fougères - offered bikes however there are several places to hire bikes on the island. We stopped at Le Bariolé - a tapas restaurant and the perfect place to stop for a cocktail. We ordered some sangria and patatas bravas (you can take the girl out of Spain...) which hit the spot. The location was ideal with views over the harbour. Check out their Facebook here.
Saint Martin de Ré
The next part of the island we ventured to was Saint Martin de Ré, probably my favourite area from the whole trip. It was beautiful and lively with lots going on. We parked up our bikes and had a stroll along the harbours, had a little wander around and stopped for some ice cream and drinks.
La Martinière - 19 Quai de la Poithevinière
We stopped here at La Martinière for of course, ICE CREAM. This place was clearly in high demand as there were lots of hangry people queuing up in front. I got speculoos and rocher which was literally like going to heaven and having a little party in my mouth. You could also get crepes and gaufres here (waffles) - all your traditional French cuisine goodiness. Check out their Facebook here.
Lazzara - 14 Rue de Sully
I came across this cute boutique called Lazzara which I was quickly drawn to - part of the shop being outdoors/waiting room area was what attracted me! There were lots of cute, unique pieces to browse at and it was such a pretty shop.
As you continue to wander along the rue de Sully, you can pop in and out of many different shops selling clothes, shoes etc and what the Ile de Ré is most known for, its salt! As well as artisan soap shops, independent boutiques and lots of places to pick up some essential flip flops or beach towels...
Little Casba - 19 rue Jean Jaurès
Little Casba was one of those shops where I kept saying "omg I want that", "omg", "omg" till I realised I was probably pissing off my dad after I said I wanted about the 100th item that had a pineapple on it. I'm sooo basic. Little Casba specialises in kids wear and homeware and has all the things you could want in your home and more. The shop was like a little treasure trove of goodies and so beautifully decorated making you wish your house looked the same. Check out their Facebook here.
Migration - 1C Rue de la Glacière, 17580 Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré
We made a little pit stop at Le Bois Plage, which was probably my least favourite as it was the most quiet with not particularly much going on, however that said, there were nice cafés to stop and chill and a few souvenir shops to browse in. I particularly enjoyed the shop, Migration, an interiors shop (because obviously i'm 21 going on 40). They had lots of cute tableware and authentic, nautical pieces to take home as a souvenir from the island.
Gelateria del Mare - 3 rue du Marche, 17630 La Flotte
By faaaaaaaar the best ice cream with absolute 0 regrets i've ever had. I chose a scoop of
salted caramel and a scoop of rocher (again) and it was marvelousssss.
They had a zillion flavours from fruity, chocolate-y and everything your heart could desire.
Just look at that ice cream!
Soooo those are my recommendations for Ile de Ré for anyone that has the pleasure of visiting the beautiful place. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth popping here even if just for the day! There's no pressure or temptation to be doing, doing, doing all the time here, which is great. However, if you do like your adventurous, action packed holidays then there is plenty to keep you active on the island such as walking, cycling, jet skiing, boat trips, surfing lessons and more. If we were staying longer then I would have done a lot more of the latter - but eating ice cream and reading my book for a few days was just far too tempting.