Ile de Ré ?'s

Feb 18th, 2014, 12:36 PM
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Ile de Ré ?'s

I am hearing that Ile de Ré is a " place not to be missed "....and I would love to hear more
about it ....also, La Rochelle. What time of year is good to visit ? May/June--busy time ? How many days to spend ? We are yearly visitors to France, so always interested in visiting a new region/city/town etc. Many thanks in advance for your information.
Nottingham is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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Hi there-we have a house in St. Palais sur Mer which is about 50 minutes south of La Rochelle and so we have been to both La Rochelle and Ile de Re many, many times.

May June is a perfect time to visit IMO. As you probably know Ile de Re is super flat and accessed by a bridge from La Rochelle. It has great biking and some lovely houses, although most are walled so you can't see much of the architecture. Many well to do Parisians have homes here and it is considered a very "up-scale" vacation spot on the Atlantic side.

La Rochelle is a fortified city so it is fun to explore the ramparts and there are good restaurants in both places. TGV from Gare Montparnasse is 3 hours.

Other places in the region that people like to visit are the Corderie Royale in Rochefort and the beach areas down by us near Royan.

This is also a region for wonderful oysters if you like those. In addition if you go further afield you can tour the cognac distilleries.

We have been going to this region for years since my French husband's family home is there-and it is still an area with very few English speaking tourists. If you have specific questions feel free to email me directly-my email is in my profile.

If you haven't see it, you can see get a feel for ile de re in a movie we saw at the Palm Springs film festival last month called "Cycling with Moliere"
jpie is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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Well, there's infinite information on both places all over the internet, so I'd start there. I've been to La Rochelle and the Ile de Ré several times, never in May, but in June and July and September. It's very crowded through the end of September. La Rochelle's main attraction is the old port, lined with cafés and hemmed in by two towers, and the shops in the streets behind it. It has beautiful parks as well, and a gorgeous old arcaded area not far from the central Place de Verdun.

Ile de Ré is relatively small and utterly charming. St-Martin, the capital, has a marvelous old citadel where Alfred Dreyfus was imprisoned. Today, behind it, stands the largest (or maybe the only) high-security prison in France. In summer the island looks like Mykonos, with bougainvillea and whitewashed houses all over. The seafood is outstanding (in La Rochelle as well). The island harbors a microclimate and has many types of vegetation never or rarely found inland. Bike paths are everywhere. There is an enormous boating culture and a number of beautiful beaches. I like staying in La Flotte. It's a relatively expensive place, being the playground of a number of celebrities.

If you haven't been, you should go. There's also the Ile d'Oléron, the poor sister, which I've very much enjoyed.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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That should read "if you haven't already seen this film, you can get a feel..."
jpie is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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The bridge that takes you there from La Rochelle is my favorite even compared to the celebrated Millau bridge
cigalechanta is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 02:46 PM
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I have to admit the the Ile de Ré has always bored me, but I absolutely love La Rochelle.

If you are driving, though, at least half a day can be spent at the Ile de Ré to see what you think about it. Huge numbers of people love the place, so there may be something that I am missing.
kerouac is online now  
Feb 18th, 2014, 04:05 PM
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We've just had one brief visit, but we both really liked the Il de Re. We spent our day driving and walking about and had a great seafood lunch and did some shopping for the famous fleur de sel of Il de Re. I would go back, if that's any help.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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Well like kerouac I enjoy ile de re most when we are going with first time visitors for the day and go for lunch and just walk around a bit.

I have never stayed overnight and probably think I would be bored if I spent more than just the day there unless I really just loved biking around for days on end (which I don't). But to go over for part of a trip of the region it is well worth it if you haven't been.
jpie is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 03:17 AM
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In the old "French in Action" series the characters were stuck for a rainy week in a cottage in the Ile de Re. They described it as " mortelle", a new usage for me, and more expressive than "ennuyeuax."

Go in nice weather!
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 03:19 AM
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That's 'ennoyeux' of course.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 03:44 AM
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Or perhaps ennuyeux ;-)
kerouac is online now  
Feb 19th, 2014, 04:12 AM
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I like both Île-de-Ré and La Rochelle but La Rochelle is certainly more lively. Unless you are looking for a do nothing holiday where you just relax and soak up the sun I think one day on Île-de-Ré would be enough and you can hit the three highlight villages La Flotte, Ars-en-Ré and Saint-Martin-de-Ré, which are all charming.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 06:44 AM
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We'll be on the Ile de Re for 2 weeks starting Aug 23. We're staying in a Gite in La Flotte. Here is what we have planned for our day trips. The "Pg" refers to the page in the Michelin Green Guide where the site is described. The stars (*) is the rating in the guide. "Ch" is Chateau. Times are "opening" times.

Aug 24 Sun
Daily Market in La Flotte, or La Rochelle
Explore Ile de Re
Dinner at Gite.

Aug 25 Monday
Ile de Oleron pg 441

Aug 26 Tues
La Rochelle

Aug 27 Wed
Marennes pg 440
Cite de l'Huitres
Ch Gataudierre* Aug 10-12 2-6 Sept Tu 2-5

Aug 27 Thurs
Rochefort ** pg 430
museum, garden, bridge
Driving tour #2 pg 435
Brouage pg 438 2 hrs
Halle aux Vivres

Aug 29 Fri
Saints** pg 458
musee Dupy-Mest* 10-12 1:30-6
Pierlonge pg 464

Aug 30 Sat
Royan** Pg 448 may skip - bombed
Corniche de Pontaillac*, les Jardins du Monde*,
Driving tour #4 pg 449
Driving tour #5 pg 452
Ch de Beaulon

Aug 31 Sun
free day

Sept 1 Mon
Drive #2 pg 465 1 day
Ch de Roche-Countoc 10-7 pg 469
Ch Crazannes Sept?????
Ch Panley guided 11, 5, 6

Sept 2 Tues
St Jean d'Angley pg 470 1 day
Tour de l'Horlogue
Driving tour #3 pg 471
Ch de Beaufeif Aug 3-7 Sept ???
Les Tresors de Lisette * Aug 3-7 phone for Sept
Dampierre sur Boutonne* Aug 10:30-7, Sept 2-6

Sept 3 Wed
Pons pg 475
Castle Donjon 10-1 2:30-6
Ch des Enigmes Aug 10-8 Sept 10-7
Driving Tour #4 pg 476
Ch de Meux Wed-Mon 2-6:30

Sept 4 Thurs
Cognac** old town
lots to see in town
Drives 4, 5, 6

Sept 5 Fri
Anniversary dinner at 2 star in La Rochelle,

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Feb 19th, 2014, 08:04 AM
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Stu, get an early start for the Ile d'Oléron daytrip. Was there in August once and it took more than an hour just to get over the bridge, then another 2 to get to our hotel at the far end of the island. Unbelievable traffic!
StCirq is online now  
Feb 19th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Oh, Stu, I think you have misunderstood the point of going to Ile de Ré. People go there to do nothing.

More seriously, considering the regular traffic jams on the bridge, if I were going to see so many places on the continent, I certainly wouldn't stay on the island.
kerouac is online now  
Feb 19th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Maybe we'll do it the next week. Thanks for the warning.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Feb 21st, 2014, 12:55 PM
Original Poster
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Thank you all for this great info.....Stu, are you referring to Michelin's French Atlantic Coast Green Guide..?
Nottingham is offline  
Feb 21st, 2014, 01:20 PM
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Stu Dudley
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