Saturday, April 13, 2024
FranceIl de ReTravel

Campervan Holiday Ile de Re France

Campervan Holiday Île de Ré France

Food Market Le Bois-Plage-en-Re

Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France a short toll bridge crossing from La Rochelle. Île de Ré is a beach lovers and cyclist paradise. Surrounded by golden sandy beaches and connected by a host of cycle paths. We stayed at the Île de Ré Sandaya campsite located by the sea the Amis de la Plage. The site was in a great location and had direct access to Pas des Bœufs beach. We thought one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The village of Bois-Plage-en-Ré had daily markets in the square it is the largest market on the whole island. A bus can take you off the island for a trip to La Rochelle, about 15 15-minute ride.

Food and Clothes markets Bois-Plage

Food Market Le_Bois-Plage-en-Re
Food Market Le Bois-Plage-en-Re

Every morning in the summer traders set up their stalls in the hall, on the square and in the streets. You can pick up food from the local supermarket or from the independent traders in the square. It is good to stroll around the Bois-Plage and discover the many local shops. We came across some good butchers shops, (Reglin et Corain, boucherie, charcuterie, traiteur). Home cooked rotisserie chicken, lasagnes, cooked lamb and beef in sauces also freshly cooked fish in sauces. They seemed to cook every type of food, such an amazing choice. We also came across a few local bakeries producing the most amazing bread and cakes. This was only 10 minutes walk away from our site.

Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Saint-Martin-de-Ré

The Port Town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. A pleasant walk from our Campsite Amis de la Plage and through the local village of Bois-Plage. It’s about four and a half kilometres along roads and cycle tracks. It’s roughly a minute’s walk from the Campsite. When you get to the walled town of Saint-Martin-de-Re you will come across some Ânes en Culottes (donkeys in breeches). The donkeys are roaming the grassy areas outside the walls. The donkeys only wear the traditional culottes on special festival days. We entered the walls via Cr Pasteur following this road to the end and the Marina Port De Saint Martin. All roads lead the way to Port De Saint Martin in the end. It’s a nice route through the small streets and past the local shops.

Saint-Martin-de-Ré Restaurant
Saint-Martin-de-Ré Restaurant

We took the walk on a Sunday the restaurants around the port were full. Local families and tourists were having lunch outside by the water. It was busy, but it was nice to see everyone out eating and laughing. Some of the seafood platters we saw looked amazing, with so much seafood piled high on large sharing platters.

The Tourist Information Office offers discovery trips. The Ernest Cognacq Museum will tell you all about the Ile de Ré’s exciting history. Wander through the streets down around the harbour and discover the various 17th and 18th-century Ile de Ré houses. Up on the church terrace, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the sea and the city walls. There are sea trips and cruises between the islands which leave from the harbour.

Cycling is the best way to explore the beauty of Île de Ré

A diverse collection of magnificent landscapes with wild moors, salt marshes, woodlands, beaches and charming little villages. Ile de Ré is 30 km long and almost completely flat the peak is 19 metres high! With over 110 km of cycling paths, it’s a cyclist’s paradise.

Even if you are not very sporty, you can explore Ile de Ré by bike. Cycling proved the perfect way to burn off extra calories consumed while visiting the cafes, bakeries and ice cream parlours.

There are lots of opportunities for bicycle hire if you haven’t brought your own. There were normal bicycles, electric bikes, tandems, children’s bikes and small children’s bike carriers.

 

Phare des Baleines

Phare des Baleines Stairs

The tallest lighthouse in France culminating at a height of 57 m, the Phare des Baleines offers a breathtaking panorama of the Île de Ré. I had a walk or should I say climb to the top of the lighthouse. The views from the top were brilliant, you could see most of the Island. It did not seem too high even though it’s the tallest lighthouse in France. The lighthouse has an amazing stone spiral staircase which looks good from the top although it does seem to go on forever. It looks like an old fossil you would find on the beach.

Phare des Baleines
Phare des Baleines

There are two famous sentries on the site: the present-day ‘Grand Phare’ (tall lighthouse) (1854) and the ‘Vielle Tour’ (old tower) ordered by Colbert and built-in 1682. The Lighthouse has a museum and a small shop with some nice trinkets. Outside the lighthouse is a further collection of shops and restaurants plus bars. The beach is accessible by walking towards the second older tower near the front. At low tide, you can have a nice walk along the foreshore. The car park for the lighthouse is about 10 minute’s walk away they charged a couple of euros to park our van.

The Salt Marshes

Salt Marshes
Salt Marshes

After the lighthouse tour, we visited one of the salt marsh areas. We drove to Port de Loix and parked up in a little car park just outside of the village. We then walked to Écluse de Loix (moulin à marée) the house with the waterfall underneath. The lock of Loix and its mill with Tide is well worth a visit. We followed the foreshore path for about 40 minutes then walked back into the village. It’s a beautiful place

The salt workers known as “sauniers” on the Ile de Ré still use age-old techniques. Methods of salt production have barely changed here since the Middle Ages.

Ile de Ré salt marshes are composed of three main basins: the mudflat, the evaporation reservoir and the marshland. These basins were expertly carved into the natural clay so that water could flow through them by simple gravity. Salt workers respond to the slightest change in weather conditions by increasing or reducing the water flow to each of the basins.

Salt formation therefore depends entirely on the weather conditions and the harvest season usually only lasts from June to September. A single storm can wipe out several days’ harvest…

The Campervan site and a truly beautiful location

Pas des Bœufs beach
Pas des Bœufs beach

We stayed at a Sandaya campsite Amis de la Plage The website is Amis de la Plage it was perfect. The 4-star Amis de la Plage campsite offered us a central location. There is no need to travel far everything is within your reach! Bakery services, barbecue areas, swimming pool, restaurant, laundry, and WIFI access. The village of Bois-Plage is 10 minutes on foot where you can discover its famous market! There are supermarkets bakeries and butcher shops in the town.

The site was super clean, all the toilets and showers and washing up areas were in outside buildings. They were modern, clean and in good condition. Our campervan location was high on a small hill with hedges surrounding it. It was not overlooked and was quite a nice private location. We had electricity and could get fresh water from a standpipe nearby.

The most beautiful beach on the Ile de Ré

Lunch by the Beach Ile de Re
Lunch with a view

Direct access to the beach was great. I went swimming every evening we could also see the sunset from the beach. Pas des Bœufs beach also offers water sports such as windsurfing, surfing lessons and bodyboarding. There are several outlets offering activity equipment.

From the campsite beach, whichever way you walked, North (right) or South (Left) you could find a quiet spot. You can easily walk for over an hour either way while paddling in the water. There was a lovely walk into town that we did to pick up some fresh French baguette for dinner. On the way back we would walk via Rue de la Vigne aux Chiens. Past the supermarket, Carrefour keep it to the right, then take a left. This street eventually joins Rue des Fontaines which takes you back to the beach. Turn left and you are on the way back to the camping site.

For the Love of Travel – More Campervan Holiday Reviews France

For The Love of Campervan Travel France

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