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Il De Re- French Island Life

For the second week of our French adventure we drove from the Vendee to the Il De Re, an island just off the coast near La Rochelle but connected by a bridge. We stayed here Wednesday to Wednesday, this was recommended t us as apparently over the summer holidays the traffic over the bridge can build up. So midweek if you can, is something to aim for as we didn’t come any traffic.

This island, so I'm told, is where the Parisians come for weekends away and it certainly has a very french chic feel whilst oozingthat relaxed Island vibe. As soon as you drive onto the island the atmosphere changes, it has lots of cycling lanes and a very flat and a calm drive.

We stayed on the outskirts of Ars en Re, which is a gorgeous little town. We stayed at La Cormoron in one of their cabins. Considering we had been camping for a week, we treated ourselves and stayed in a premium cabin and it even came with a hot tub!

The site itself was lovely, very quiet and a completely different vibe to the Vendee, so it was a nice contrast and we instantly felt relaxed. Phil and I hired bikes hire for the week and the children used their own which we brought. The bonus of doing this is I got a nice upright bike with a basket, I mean bike goals right there! Alice and I enjoyed cycling to the local shop for bread, wine and cheese most days! We had hired a trailer along with the adults bikes for our just turned 4 year old, so we could have longer cycle rides to explore the island. His bike actually fit in the trailer with him so every now and then he could pop on his bike and join in with us.

Ars has a lovely market, many cafes and restaurants, a small marina and a little merry go round by the market. Running it is the most charastmatic man I have ever seen, he sings songs while the children go round. We were all fascinated and made a return trip just to see him! Honestly, pay him a visit!

Our highlights of the Il De Re: * Cycling a round the salt marshes and buying salt from the little stalls which you find scattered around with the honesty boxes for payment.

* Looking around the small town of Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, discovering the Baleines lighthouse and pretty pebble beach.

* We drove to the port town of Saint Martin de Re. A wonderful town, so picturesque and the most amazing Ice Creams. It has a ringed, star-shaped, 17th-century ramparts, with a huge, preserved citadel. Fantastic vistas and well worth a trip.

* We liked the beach at Plage de Trousse Chemise, backed by a forest and the beach stretching out to meet the waters of the Bay of Biscay. * A beach we loved and went back to a second time was Le Bois Plage en Re. We saw lots of people body bparding here on the first visit so we went to the islands Decathlon ( of course my husband LOVED this ((in fact we all love a Decathlon)))! We bought a body board and returned the next day... to perfectly calm waters! Isn't that just typical! We still loved it though and enjoyed swimming in the sea and playing in the sand. Great thing about this beach is the facilities, a shop and toilet just off the beach.

We spent one lovely evening at the beautiful town of La Flotte. Wandered around the market and ate takeaway pizza by the sea front.

Other ideas which we didn't try but you can easily drive over the bridge for a day out in La Rochelle, which has amongst other things an Aquarium. Had we been here for longer we would have explored that area more. When we left Il De Re we drove back up to Calais, stopping at an Airbnb just outside Rouen, to break the journey up before hopping on the tunnel to take us home. We love the tunnel and find it very fuss free.

Read about our first week on a campsite in the Vendee here.

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