Jewel of the Atlantic coast, the Island of Ré is an authentic island with a preserved environment. Combining brightness and elegance, Villa Clarisse is a former 18th century cloister located in the historical center of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, a UNESCO heritage site, and nearby a charming fishing harbor.
A rich cultural heritage
To learn about the history of the island, a walk on the theme of architecture and heritage is a must. The village of Saint-Martin de Ré features the most historical sites, including the Vauban Citadel, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which makes it unique. From its church's bell tower, Saint-Martin-de-Ré offers an exceptional view of the city's rich heritage. Its history is also to be discovered at the Ernest Cognacq museum. Another highlight is the Phare des Baleines, rising at 57 meters, one of the highest lighthouses in France.
On bord a Mehari, the iconic car on the island of Ré, tour the 20 miles of the island and discover the ten villages. Each villages has its own particularity and offers a large range of dazzling colours. Discover the narrow streets lined with hollyhocks paved in Saint-Martin-de-Ré, or the whites houses with green shutters in Ars-en-Ré, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Cross the salt marches to Loix, and stop off at the beach of La Couarde-sur-Mer with its lovely bandstand, or at Bois-Plage, between forest and ocean, well known for its lively market.
To discover the secrets of the island, let yourself stroll through the picturesque food and flea markets of the ten villages of the island of Ré.
Each one is different from one another and offers a friendly and authentic atmosphere for the greatest pleasure of the eyes and the taste buds. A paradise for bargain hunting and second-hand goods, on the island of Ré the adage "he who seeks finds" takes on its full meaning and there are many treasures waiting for you that you will be pleased to take back with you.
A preserved ecosystem
With its 218 referenced species, the Island of Ré is not only a bird’s paradise, but also one of the main migration routes in Europe. Within the national nature reserve of Lilleau des Niges, located in the heart of the salt marshes, it is possible to observe a wide variety of migratory birds in spring and autumn, on foot or by bike. The Martray in Ars en Ré, the Pointe de la Lasse in Loix and the Phare des Baleines are all good places for birdwatching.
Go and meet the salt producers, called “sauniers”, who perpetuate ancestral techniques that have remained virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. In the heart of the salt marshes, immersed in the natural environment, discover how the salt flower is harvested, what a "prise" is, and what the simoussi is used for. Between March and November, the Marais Salant Ecomuseum in Loix-en-Ré offers you the chance to discover the history of salt farming and the production techniques of the Retais salt marshes.
The island of Ré has a rich local heritage, enhanced by passionate producers (fleur de sel, caramel, AOC potatoes, honey...) and quality craftsmen (bookbinding, painting, sculpture...). Come and meet those who perpetuate ancestral know-how. Frédéric Voisin will teach you all about the production of organic oysters, Paul Georgelet will make you discover his goat farm and his cheeses at the farm of Loix; Pascal and Carine Lemoine, at the origin of the first olive grove of the island of Ré, will make you taste their nectar in their shop of Saint-Martin while Le Jardin de Lydie will reveal you the secrets of the making of its organic jams made from 80% of fruits. Also, Régis Léau will open the doors of the only donkey milk soap factory on the island of Ré.
The 85 miles of cycle paths invites you to explore the island by bike and to discover splendid landscapes between sea, vines and lines of undulating dunes. From a village to another, stop in a local oyster hut to savor oysters and sea food and fill your basket all along your ride with local delicacies: sea asparagus, salt flower or honey.
The Island of Ré offers is an ideal sailing location to enjoy the Atlantic ocean's breeze. From the harbor of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, a three minutes walk from Villa Clarisse, embark on a cruise to appreciate sea sprays. Take a tour of the island, fish offshore, observe the famous Fort Boyard or spend the day on the island of Aix. You will have the chance to discover a preserved nature, mixing the ocean and fine sandy beaches as far as the eye can see.
The Island of Ré is an invitation to memorable and successful family holidays. A large range of activities are specially designed for children and teenagers: sailing, kitesurf and riding schools offer courses or training sessions adapted to the younger ones. Naturally protected with thirteen beaches, the Island of Ré is the ideal place to go cycling with your family, play tennis or try your hand at fishing at low tide.