France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Île-de-Ré, Atlantic France Guide
A delightful vacation island just off the Atlantic coast of France from La Rochelle, Île-de-Ré has natural beauty, history and lots of beaches and bike paths.




Île-de-Ré, an island off the coast of Atlantic France to the west of La Rochelle (map), has a surprisingly eventful 1,400-year history for a strip of land that is only 30 km (19 miles) long and 5 km (3 miles) wide.

Once a hideaway for monasteries, its value as a naval and military staging-ground saw it captured by the English several times, and later fortified to aid in the defense of the coast and the French naval port of Rochefort.

Today it is a popular upscale holiday resort, with people coming from nearby cities, from Paris, England and farther away to enjoy its summer climate, beaches, and history.

Until 1988, visitors needed a ferryboat to reach the island, but in that year a 3-km-long (2-mile) bridge was finished, allowing fast and east (but expensive) access.


The town and fortress of Saint-Martin-de-Ré are a focal point for visits. The largest town on the island, Saint-Martin has a charming harbor, a fortress and city walls designed by Vauban, lots of restaurants and shops, beaches, and a full range of hotels, B&Bs and self-catering flats/apartments.

Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Île-de-Ré, France
Saint-Martin-de-Ré at dusk...

Other Towns & Villages

Villages on the southern shore of the island, such as Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré and La Couarde-sur-Mer (map) are known for their beaches and offer many self-catering villas and flats/apartments for rent along with the usual hotels and B&Bs.

At the far western end of the island, Ars-en-Ré, Saint-Clement-des-Baleines and Les Portes-en-Ré are noted for their vast oyster beds just offshore, oysters and other seafood being a prime reason visitors come to the island.

How to Go There

To get to Île-de-Ré, you first go to La Rochelle, then cross the long bridge on foot, by bicycle, car, taxi or bus. More...

Hotels & Flats in Île-de-Ré

What to See & Do

Île-de-Ré Transport

Tourist Information

About La Rochelle

La Rochelle Transportation

Poitou-Charentes Region

Poitou-Charents Transport


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Harbor at Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Île-de-Ré, France 

Harbor at Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Île-de-Ré, France.





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