Île de Ré

Today

-0.5° C

This tiny Atlantic island off the coast of western France is known for its chic vibe and A-list visitors, but it still remains blissfully unspoilt.

It may be connected to the mainland city of La Rochelle by bridge, but Île de Ré feels a world away from the hustle and bustle. Spanning just 30 km and only 5 km wide at its broadest point, it is covered with salt marshes where herons can often be spotted soaring overhead and fringed by wave-washed beaches backed by sweeping dunes. Its string of small villages is linked by cycle paths and bikes are the preferred way to get around.

Each village has its own character – Saint Martin is the largest, with a boutique-lined port, while little Ars-en-Ré is the sleepiest – but all are scattered with quaint, whitewashed buildings sporting green shutters and terracotta roofs. The island’s beauty isn’t the only appeal, though, and food is another major draw: there are chi-chi restaurants and colourful markets aplenty, and the oysters here are said to be some of the best in world.

Explore Île de Ré

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Explore Île de Ré

L’Océan, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré

L’Océan, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré

Hotel

Un Banc Au Soleil, Marsilly

Un Banc Au Soleil, Marsilly

Bed & Breakfast

Le Clos Cothonneau, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Le Clos Cothonneau, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Rental

La Villa du Clos, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

La Villa du Clos, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Rental

Villa Victoire, Ars-en-Ré

Villa Victoire, Ars-en-Ré

Rental

La Maison au Figuier, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré

La Maison au Figuier, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré

Bed & Breakfast

Le Vieux Gréement, La Couarde-sur-Mer

Le Vieux Gréement, La Couarde-sur-Mer

Bed & Breakfast

Ré Ostréa, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Ré Ostréa, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Restaurant

Les Huitres des Trousse, Les Portes-en-Ré

Les Huitres des Trousse, Les Portes-en-Ré

Snacks

La Cible, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

La Cible, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Restaurant

La Tour du Sénéchal, Ars-en-Ré

La Tour du Sénéchal, Ars-en-Ré

Restaurant

La Baleine Bleue, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

La Baleine Bleue, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Restaurant

L’Atelier, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

L’Atelier, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Snacks

Migration, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Migration, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Shop

La plage, La Couarde-sur-Mer

La plage, La Couarde-sur-Mer

Relax

Marché de La Flotte, la Flotte

Marché de La Flotte, la Flotte

Shop

Cyclo Surf, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Cyclo Surf, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Sport

Travel tips A-Z

Friday

1.6° C

Saturday

7.3° C

Sunday

11.2° C

Monday

11.4° C

Best time to go

Île de Ré is beautifully warm and sunny in the summer months, but it can get extremely busy – particularly from July to September,  known as “la saison”. If you prefer quieter villages and beaches, late spring and early autumn are better. You could even visit in winter for blustery coastal walks, bird watching and deserted sands, but note that many hotels and restaurants will be closed.

By air

The nearest airport is La Rochelle-Île de Ré, 15 km away on the mainland. It’s served by year-round flights from Paris and Lyon with HOP (part of Air France) and from London Stansted with Ryanair. There are also seasonal services from Geneva, Dublin and various UK airports with easyJet, Ryanair, Flybe and Jet2.

By car

We recommend hiring a car if you want to explore the wider region, though you can manage without one if you’d prefer not to drive – a network of cycle paths connects the villages, and you can take a taxi from the airport in around 40 minutes. Bear in mind there’s a toll charge to cross the bridge to the island.