The small capital of the Ile de Re, Saint-Martin-de-Ré, is a haven of peace with pretty bourgeois houses and a medieval past that tourists never tire of discovering.
The port of St Martin de Ré, is the heart of the capital
You can enter the city of St Martin via the door of the Campani
From the doors Thoiras and Campani to the Citadel and its walls, the town has a very floral pleasant centre. You can wander its streets happy to discover the mansions before discovering the port on foot, the car is not practical here: better to leave it on the Vauban parking and rent a bike!
A flowery street of St Martin de Ré with its white houses
Steeped in history, the city was the last stage for prisoners sent to the penal colony of Cayenne. Do not forget to admire the tower of the Church of St. Martin, which offers a panoramic view of the city, the harbour and the ocean, and is a splendid building. Drop in at the time of the ring of the bells and enjoy the monumental clock, especially in the evenings during the summer when the building is lit and becomes magical! The fortifications built by Vauban around the town provides you with a pleasant walk that consists of two gates and five bastions and is about 14 km long.
Fortifications of Vauban in St Martin de Ré – View from Citadel
The Ernest-Cognacq-Hotel museum in Clerjotte devoted to art, ethnology and old documents is exciting and is in a listed historic monument. From mid-June to mid-September, the halls host a daily market.
The donkeys of St Martin de Ré along the fortifications at the entrance to the city
What makes the Ile de Ré a success, it is also the beaches and, in our case, the beach of Saint Martin de Ré! After having walked the children on donkeys, the emblematic animal of the island in the Barbette park, head for Cible Beach with its small huts.
The unique beach of St Martin de Ré near the citadel
View from the top of the “Baleines” lighthouse on the Ile de Ré
Take advantage of your stay to discover the rest of the island, the village of Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, one of the oldest and most ornate. You can, at low tide, access Chauveau lighthouse for a fishing expedition for oysters, mussels and other crabs, it is sure to make everyone happy! The easiest way is then to discover the untamed landscapes. Ars en Ré is a good starting point to visit the north of the island, its harbour is superb! Choose between Lilleau des Niges, the forest of Trousse-Chemise and its beautiful beaches, the forest of Lizay and to the beach of La Conche. At the centre of the island, you will be in the area of the salt marshes! During the summer season, try to avoid the highly congested roads and opt for the smaller roads. Do not miss La Flotte (Cible Beach, the white houses with green shutters, the medieval market ...), Châteliers Abbey built in the XII century in a Gothic style, the Fort de la Pree between Rivedoux Plage and La Flotte and the point of the island, towards the Baleines Lighthouse! For a beach holiday, the beaches of La Couarde sur Mer are also interesting.
Treasure of Charente-Maritime, Ile de Ré island will appeal to all tourists!