Ré and Oléron: two islands of Charente-Maritime, two spirits, two pearls of the Atlantic. The first symbolizes the Charente art of living. The second is the perfect place for surfing and sliding. We explain to you why we love them so much and we give you our advice to take full advantage of them!
The Ile de Ré, between nature and tradition
The closest to La Rochelle, the Ile de Ré is located about twenty minutes from our villages. 25 km long, the island is nicknamed “Ré la Blanche” because of the immaculate whiteness of its charming houses with green shutters.
The 10 villages that make it up and its varied landscapes, between salt marshes, dunes and ocean make it a place of healing where it is good to stop. The Ile de Ré is revealed in particular by bike, via its 140 km of cycle paths accessible to all!
Saint Martin de Ré and its citadel
Our favorite ? The village of Saint Martin de Ré, on the north coast of the island. Surrounded by 14 km of ramparts, the fortifications of Saint Martin were built by Vauban to protect the inhabitants in the event of a landing. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they promise magnificent moments of strolling. We stroll through this village, an ice cream from “la Martinière” in hand, and we discover the houses steeped in history, the famous citadel where prisoners passed on their way to prison, or the small port where yachtsmen and fishermen.
The beaches of the Ile de Ré
Once you have crossed the island bridge, the first beaches of the Ile de Ré are available to you: Sainte Marie de Ré, Rivedoux… These particularly welcome lovers of kitesurfing and windsurfing. Further on, Notre-Dame beach in Sainte Marie de Ré, or even that of La Flotte en Ré are ideal for shore fishing!
The most beautiful beaches for swimming are located at the end of the island, such as that of the Conche des Baleines beach, or the wilder one of Trousse-Chemise at Portes en Ré. This fine sandy beach surrounded by pine trees gives us only one desire: to dive into the clear waters and enjoy the present moment, lulled by the lapping of the water...
The opinion of the local counter
We enjoy cycling around the island in complete peace of mind in April or May, when the Ile de Ré is adorned with a thousand spring colors.
A €1 shuttle allows you to cross the island bridge without toll. If you come in summer, you can take advantage of the shuttles allowing you to cross the bridge with your bike from the Belvedere, to the Sablanceaux car park.
Find all the tourist information of Ré la Blanche on the website of the Tourist Office
The island of Oléron, the authentic paradise
The second largest French island after Corsica, it is nicknamed “La lumière” for its exceptional sunshine.
It is accessible by car via its viaduct which connects it to the mainland from Bourcefranc-le-Chapus, about 20 minutes south of Rochefort. You can also take the sea link from La Rochelle to get there by boat.
The west coast and its fine sandy beaches
Oléron is to Charente-Maritime, what Biscarosse is to Landes, the eldorado of surfing.
Taking advantage of a privileged location, the west coast of the island is full of spots for board aficionados: Saint Trojan, Grand Village, Vert-Bois, Les Allassins... Over there, the panorama of the Saint Trojan national forest and the wave conditions make it the perfect place for anyone who wants to take the plunge! In addition, many surf schools offer lessons if you want to get started or perfect your Hang-five ????
The large stretches of sand will also appeal to those who wish to enjoy the joys of the ocean or laze on their towels.
La Cotinière, artisanal fishing port
Still on the west coast, a little further north, we like to stroll along the quays of the port of La Cotinière and watch for the return of the fishermen who drive the seagulls into a panic and fill the stalls at the auction, an unmissable local event.
Erected in the town of Saint Denis d'Oléron, in the north of the island, the Chassiron lighthouse has been classified as a historical monument since 2012 and is recognizable by its wide black and white stripes. Once the 224 steps have been climbed, it offers an incredible panorama of the Pertuis Charentais from the top of its 46 meters. The lighthouse is open to visitors all year round.
Fort Boyard under sail
Departing from the port of Boyardville, set off to conquer the most legendary fort in France! Originally built to defend the harbor of Île d'Aix and the arsenal of Rochefort, the delay in the work never allowed the fort to perform its primary function. He served as a prison for many years before gaining notoriety through the television program bearing his name which uses it as a backdrop.
Several cruise lines offer trips to go around it, we strongly recommend the sailing trip which will offer you a moment of relaxation and zen, lulled by the waves of the ocean.
The opinion of the local counter
At the end of the day, we love to lay our towel on the Huttes beach with a hamper of oysters and a small aperitif to enjoy the sunset over the ocean.
Find all the tourist information for Oléron la Lumineuse on the Tourist Office website