The gorgeous Île de Ré in Charente Maritime is best known for being an upmarket bolthole where well heeled Parisians can let their hair down away from the grime and dirt of the City of Lights.
Its cute villages are lined with picture perfect ‘maisons de campagne’ that used to be lived in by fishermen or salt harvesters.
The small towns that dot the island have beautiful harbours built by Vauban in the 17th Century and the beaches are idyllic to say the least.
The best way to get around the island is by cycling as there is a superb network of clearly marked cycle lanes that link each village to the next. (Tip from the top: Don’t cycle on the roads as you’ll get honked at – it’s not allowed!)
Here is a link to the official 2019 Ile de Ré Cycle map which you seem to be able to download as a pdf.
You can hire bikes in all the main villages and get one for a day or as long as you like.
Pretty much every place you stop at is so perfect you’ll be hard pushed to move but it’s worth trying to get to the Phare des Baleines at the furthest tip for breathtaking views out to the Atlantic…
Worth a particular mention are La Flotte and St Martin de Ré which look like film sets as beautiful people (TM) waft around in floaty dresses or stripy tops!
I have had several delicious lunches at Beach Bar Ile de Ré hidden down a side road on the way to the beach in Le Bois Plage en Ré. Have the Spéciale Oysters, some ‘Maigre’ (a local fish) with a glass of white wine followed by a Café Gourmand and you’ll be ready for an afternoon’s cycling if you can drag yourself away.
Equally good but a bit more formal is Les Viviers en Ré in Rivedoux Plage where you will feast on locally caught ‘fruits de mer’.
Now feel free to wend your way home and have a good rest!
Enjoy Ile de Ré – it’s literally a perfect place to cycle and enjoy a relaxing few days.
Please ask me if you have any other questions about cycling in Charente Maritime!