Sainté Marie De Ré is situated on the south-east coast of the island. It is only 10km from La Rochelle airport and at the bridge end of the island making travel to and from Maison de l'Ange exceptionally easy by plane, train or road and avoiding and jams which can happen in high season on the island.
Whatever you are looking for in your holiday - relaxation, exploration, sports, sandy beaches, great food - there is something for everyone. This comfortable and charming restored 19th century villa has all modern conveniences and is situated in a quiet rural environment close to beaches, cycling trails and lively ports and is an excellent location from which to explore the island. Sainte Marie De Ré, with its 15th century gothic bell tower visible from the bridge, is a typical 'Rétais' village, retaining a great deal of charm and holding on to its maritime agricultural roots, as evidenced by the neighbouring vineyards and fish locks. It is lovely just to stroll through the old streets adorned with colourful flowers, but there are longer marked walks to take you into the forests and salt marshes or why not take a tour to the top of the bell tower for magnificent panoramic views which more than justify the 96 steps to get there! There is a local bakery, grocery, butcher, Post Office, newsagent and a Carrefour mini-market to provide all the essentials (in Sainte Marie and next door La Noue). And of course there is a cycle hire shop. Daily markets in Sainte Maire and around the island, showcase the best local and regional products and seafood. Mouth-watering displays, wonderful colours and aromas provide inspiration for an evening meal. Stalls filled with Artisan cheeses, charcuterie, fresh fish and shellfish, fruit and vegetables and wines. There is ample opportunity to sample the renowned Ile de Ré oysters. Dotted around the island vendors offer tasting or you can stop at one of a number of 'cabannes' for a plate of the freshest oysters and a glass of wine and gaze out over the ocean.
Each village has its own distinct feel.
St Martin is a great place for watching the world go by with busy portside restaurants, designer and souvenir shops, all within the walls of military engineers Vauban's 17th century fortifications.Neighbouring La Flotte is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has an abundance of seafood restaurants around the port and along the sea front. The centre offers some great shopping and it holds one of the livelier markets.Tucked between the coast and marshes, Ars-en-Ré was once a main port for the salt trade, now populated by restaurants and cafés and also enjoys the tilte of one of the most beautiful villages in France. A great place to stroll and enjoy an apéritif or coffee.At the far end of the island, Portes-en-Ré typifies Ile de Ré's laid-back feel, with lovely beaches for long walks, pretty residential streets and a market square with cafes and bars. There is also a 9-hole golf course at Portes-en-Ré.For an overview of the island, climb to its highest point – the Phare des Baleines – a lighthouse on the island's northern tip.
With its temperate climate and an annual sunshine record to rival the South of France, Ile de Ré is perfect for many outdoor activities. The expansive stretches of shallow sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathing, paddling and swimming.Watersports are also popular - windsurfing, kite-surfing, sailing, canoeing, paddle-boarding, jet ski - if you can do it in or on water then you can do it on Ile de Ré. From beginner to expert, no matter what level, you will find something to suit. If you prefer someone else at the helm, there are boat trips which provide spectacular views of the island's coastline.Other sports available include tennis, golf (9-hole course and driving range) and horse-riding.
For relaxation, there are a number of spas offering beauty treatments and seawater therapies. Cycling is one of the main ways of getting around the island. With 100km of cycle tracks linking all the main points of interest, it is a great way to soak up the charm of the Ile de Ré.
The largley flat paths allow you to take in the stunning views along the coast, through the vineyards and salt marshes where a variety of sea birds and wildlife can be spotted. There are cycle hire shops all over the island and prices are very reasonable. You can take a bike for a week or even just half a day. Pick up a bike from the local shop explore at your own pace and drop it back whenever you want.
The varied terrain of the island provides an excellent habitat for wildlife. A trip through the marshland on the northern part of the island is a great opportunity for birdwatching.