It’s the most touristy and most accessible island in Charentes, with just a bridge separating it from La Rochelle. Known as “l'Ile Blanche” (White Island) for the characteristic colour of its traditional abodes, the Ile de Ré boasts a natural environment and a lifestyle based on elegant simplicity. It’s easy to get around by bike here with 140km (almost 90 miles) of cycle paths, the ideal mode of transport for picnics on the long beaches lined by sand dunes or to head out for a drink on the port of Ars or Saint Martin. Chic boutiques, art galleries and seafood restaurants all add to its appeal as a top holiday resort where visitors can recharge their batteries in the island’s unique atmosphere.
The real estate market
Running from Rivedoux to Les Portes via Saint Martin, La Flotte, Le Bois and Ars, ten villages span the 25-kilometre long (15-mile) island. Depending on the type and location of the property, prices have risen by 20 to 50% in the past five years. Prices per square metre range from €5,000 to €7,000 for an apartment, and from €6,000 to €12,000 for a house, peaking at €15,000 to €18,000 for exceptional properties. Land, meanwhile, goes for €800 to €1,600 per square metre. Villas with a swimming pool and garden, close to the beaches and shops, are naturally the most coveted.
Art of living
The Ile de Ré offers a wide selection of activities, from the more traditional to the more modern. BARNES presents its cultural, shopping and dining programme.
The musée du Platin
@Le musée du Platin
The Musée du Platin presents the popular arts and traditions of the Ile de Ré through activities open to all.
4 cour Félix Faure, 17630 La Flotte
Maritaise (standing for ‘Arts Nature Culture Recherche Ecluses’) is the must-visit venue for nature lovers. The best way to (re)discover the diversity of the local fauna and flora as well as the beauty of the island’s natural heritage.
63 cour des Jarrières, 17740 Sainte-Marie-de-Ré
The galerie Xin Art
@La galerie Xin Art
Xin Art gallery showcases street art and contemporary art in a charming house in Ars-en-Ré.
9 route de Saint-Clément, 17590 Ars-en-Ré
The Galerie Glineur
@La Galerie Glineur
Galerie Glineur presents local and international artists year round at the heart of the village of Saint-Martin-en-Ré. Currently on display are the colourful paintings of Christian-Nicolas Hoët that border almost on abstraction.
18 rue de Sully, 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
îloya is its very own universe of clothing for all seasons and home decoration described as “a state of mind rather than a collection”.
Quai Nicolas Baudin, 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Bonne Espérance, a concept store stocking seaside clothing for all the family.
16 rue Jean Jaurès, 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Campagne et compagnie
@Campagne et compagnie
Campagne et Compagnie is a new generation haberdashery where you’ll find delightful objects and decorations — as well as the usual buttons to sew and other accessories.
9 place du Marché, 17111 Loix
The hottest reservations in town
La Martinière the island’s must-try ice cream parlour opened in 1970. With spots in La Flotte, Saint-Martin, Le Bois Plage and Phare des Baleines.
17 quai de la Poithevinière, 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
La Plage restaurant is set on the sands of Rivedoux. Guests can look forward to a warm welcome and the catch of the day prepared on a traditional brazier. Remember to bring your dancing shoes in summer ready for the concerts run all week.
Sablanceaux, 17940 Rivedoux-Plage
Les Q Salés
@Les Q Salés
Les Q Salés is an iconic restaurant near the marketplace where you can meet friends for some tasty fish dishes.
1 C avenue de la Plage, 17580 Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré
Chez Rémi, in the shade of the trees on the port of Ars. Sample the concoctions by Chef Rémi Massé featuring fish and seafood cooked on the plancha, as per tradition.
Chez Rémi — 1 quai de la Pré, 17590 Ars-en-Ré
This legendary establishment has seen generations pass through its doors for over 80 years into its festive and welcoming ambiance. Bar, nightclub and restaurant all in one, it’s the island’s meeting point from early evening to early morning.
La Pergola- Route de Joachim- La Couarde-sur-mer
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