Île de Ré


Île de Ré (pronounced Isle of Rhe) is located in the western coast of France and is linked to the city of La Rochelle. Named after the Egyptian god Ra, this flat little island is just 30km long and 5km wide at its widest point, and is home to about 15,000 people. Initially an archipelago of 3 islands during the Roman times, Île de Ré became a singular mass of land due to silt and land reclamation and it had been passed between the French and English for some time. Today, this UNESCO protect area, is a popular tourist destination that peaks in summer attracting bourgeois Parisians and English.

Île de Ré comprises of 10 towns- the main one being St-Martin-de-Ré. This town was once a bustling port and hence was well fortified by Vauban during the 17th century. His fortifications together with the citadel can still be seen today. However, the citadel is closed to the public as it has been functioning as a prison for over 2 centuries now. The Germans also built bunkers in various pars of Île de Ré, in a bid to protect themselves from sea attacks. Most of these bunkers are still visible today, especially in the northern parts of the island at Conche des Baleires.

On a less serious note, Île de Ré has some of the best beaches, rightfully earning its place in the list of top summer destinations. Most of its beaches line the southern border or cluster around the western tip of the island.

Cycling is also a popular activity amongst tourists, as Île de Ré is well covered by cycling tracks and its flat land with gentle slopes make it a great place for leisure biking. Maps of the routes are available in the tourist office while bike rentals are available almost anywhere on the island, as bicycles are used as a main mode of transport here. The idyllic nature of this island has made it popular amongst celebrities as well, with many like Lionel Jospin (retired French Prime Minister), Carole Bouquet and Johnny Depp being spotted here. 





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ÎLE DE RÉ:   1. St-Martin-de-Ré Tourist Office