Off to Nantes! At least I thought I was. As soon as I got into the airport Fred said to me ‘You know, François and I were thinking it might be super nice to go to the Île de Ré this weekend, as the weather is looking good and all. Would you be ok with that?’ Hell yeah!
The pretty island in the Atlantic Ocean had been on my French wish list for quite some time. I remember from my life in Paris how many Parisians seemed to love spending their long weekends on the Île de Ré and how apart from the French so little foreigners seem to know about it. All the more reason to check it out.
From Nantes it’s about a two hour drive to the Île de Ré, but I believe Ryanair is flying to La Rochelle (which is very close to the island) a few times a week from London Stansted airport.
We decided to stop in La Rochelle first. If you’ve never been I would recommend spending a day or an afternoon in this town. It’s a pleasant place to stroll around. The streets are typically French; cobbled pavements, slightly dirty buildings with coloured -and inevitably crooked- shutters, a beautiful market surrounded by plenty of cozy looking bistrots, and enough boutiques to please the fashion victims amongst us.
We enjoyed a ‘galette’ (a savoury pancake, often with ham & cheese or a sausage) on the terrace of a Crêperie, and were lucky enough to get some December sun on top of the nice view we had on the harbour of La Rochelle. After the usual post-lunch coffee we did some strolling, had a bit of a shopping meltdown, and then continued our journey towards the Île de Ré.
By the time we got to Bois Plage, the small village where we were staying, it was dark so it wasn’t until the next day that I saw the island. After a night filled with good food, wine, and board games in front of the fireplace, we went to bed early because we planned to see the sunrise.
Being not a big morning person -to say the least- I wasn’t too happy with that decision the next day. That is, until we got to the seaside near Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the ‘capital’ of the island.
If you’re going to the Île de Ré, I would definitely recommend getting up early at least one day and watch the sunrise. Especially if you’re not living close to the sea like me. I mean, how often do you get to smell the salty water of the ocean and hear the sound of the waves while enjoying a spectacular palette of changing skies?
To be continued!