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from Saturday April 28
to Saturday September 22
OVERVIEW OF THE ISLAND’S VILLAGES
There are 10 villages on the Island’s 85km² of greenery. The Island is part of the Charente archipelago. It was originally part of the Aunis province years ago, but it is now part of the Charente-Maritime department and the Poitou-Charentes region, and is also divided into two cantons, North and South.
The Island of Ré is separated from the continent by the Breton openings in the North, and also from the islands of Aix and Oleron by the Antioche openings in the South.
Since may 19th 1988, it is connected to the continent via the bridge of the Island of Ré. The very touristy island is nicknamed “Ré the white”’ because of the trademark color of its traditional houses.
A sneak peak of your holidays.
St Clément des Baleines
Its name originated from the numerous cetacean strandings that occurred on the Island’s beaches up until the beginning of the XXth century. Located at the very end of the north part of the Island, this village is composed of five hamlets (la Tricherie, Le Griveau, le Godinand, Le Chabot, Le Gillieux) and its inhabitants are called “les Villageois”.
This old lobster fishermen’s’ village has maintained its calm and traditional maritime aspect with low houses located in narrow and flowery alley-ways. Nowadays, It is renowned for its famous lighthouse, the Phare des Baleines, peaking at 57 meters high and offering a spectacular view of the beach situated on the north end of the island. Three kilometers away offshore stands the Phare des Baleineaux, classified historic monument by the UNESCO. The beautiful six kilometer long beach of La Conche connects with the beaches of the village Les Portes en ré (le petit bec, le Lizay, Diamond Head).
Famous amongst the water sports aficionados and people who want to make relaxation and idleness the order of the day. It is also where a few scenes from the movie The longest day were shot. Finally, you will encounter one of the only, still functioning, fish sluice close to the lighthouse. The fish sluice of La Moufette, made of stone and shaped like a horseshoe, is set up along the shoreline close to the lighthouse. It is used to catch fish by trapping them inside during low tide.
Make the most of your trip to St Clément des Baleines by tasting the delicacies of the Island’s finest table at the gastronomic restaurant Le Chat Botté.
Ars en ré
You cannot go wrong! Other than being listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages, Ars-en-Ré is famous for its black and white spire that served as a landmark for sailors. Starting from the harbor, on foot or by bike, you will discover a magnificent view of the inner bay called le Fier d’Ars.
The alley-ways of Ars-en-Ré, Lined with countless hollyhocks, Are worth visiting. You will definitely fall in love with this village.
Its market, open everyday near the harbor, is a must during your holidays.
Les Portes en ré
Mentionned by the singer Claude Nougaro in his song “Dans l’ile de ré” and also in the famous “Trousse Chemise” by Charles Aznavour, the village of les Portes-en-Ré is the furthest village from the Island’s bridge.
The village is remarkably preserved, as well as the atmosphere. The “anse de la Patache”, located at the far end of the village’s beaches, is a real peace haven that will allow you to launch your raft. Facing the beach lies the banc du Bûcheron, an ephemeral sandy bank that will unveil itself at low tide for the delight of children and grown-ups alike.
St Martin de Ré
Its ideal location on the shoreline and its rich cultural heritage make St-Martin-de-Ré a very popular administrative and touristic centre of the Island.
St-Martin-de-Ré is a fortified star-shaped town, designed by the architect Vauban, listed as UNESCO World Heritage since 2008.
Its 17th century citadel was designed to protect the island from British assaults. At the end of the 19th century, it was a milestone for the prisoners sent to the penal colonies of Guyana and New Caledonia up until 1938. The citadel is now converted into a penitentiary.
From the top of the village of St-Martin where the church was built, down to the beautiful harbor, you will come across the main street filled with local shops. You can then have an ice-cream at La Martinière, the Island’s most famous ice cream parlor.