SUPERBLY AUTHENTIC VILLAGES BETWEEN THE OCEAN, SALT MARSHES, DUNES AND FORESTS!
Although the Charente stone drapes the Ré villages in its white hue, these vivid colours imbue the magnificent landscapes around Slow Village Ile de Ré, your campsite in Charente Martime.
The dunes, the heath, the pine forests, the salt marshes, the expansive beaches, it is an exceptional natural environment strewn with superb character villages, which make for the charm of the island. They comprise traditional white houses, with green shutters and straight alleys which is it is best to cover by bike!
A gourmet island known for its oysters and its market gardening. A notable historical heritage, with several sites classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a protected countryside between land and sea. A genuine postcard décor, popular with the inhabitants of Ré for its slow way of life in any season.
If there is a town with a matchless charm, it is indeed the historic capital of the island, organised around a delightful port, lined with restaurants and lively terraces, and protected by fortified ramparts. With the magnificent star of Vauban fortifications built in the 17th century, the town has been able to keep its murals and buildings intact, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Don’t miss out on climbing the Clocher Observatoire Église St-Martin church clock tower to enjoy working bells, the monumental clock and the superb panorama over the entire town!
The treasures of Charente Maritime
The must-sees of the Charente Maritime…
1 – Climb aboard for the Fort Boyard media attraction.
2 – Admire the frigate Hermione and the work of the Corderie Royale de Rochefort, formerly providing ropes for the French navy now a museum on the building’s history.
3 – Contemplate sea life at the Aquarium de La Rochelle aquarium centre.
4 – Learn to open oysters in Marennes, itself the town of oysters.
5 – See the 1,600 animals of the Zoo de La Palmyre zoo.
6 – Rewrite history at the Hôpital des Pèlerins former medieval hospice of the 12th century.
The genius Vauban
”Sire, it would be easier to grasp the moon with your teeth than attempt such a task” Vauban is thought to have said to Louis XIV, when showing him the first plan of Fort Boyard, the fortifications to protect the grand Rochefort arsenal former military base and dockyard. The project was only finally implemented in the 19th century. Yet Vauban continued to leave traces of his talent by erecting numerous fortifications on the islands of the Charente-Maritime, telling a major chapter of our history in France.
THE ILE D’AIX AND THE ILE D’OLERON
2 ISLAND PEARLS IN THE PERTUIS BRETON STRAITS
The island of Aix, the little cousin of the Ile de Ré island
With no bridge linking the mainland, you disembark here by boat on this small crescent of paradise of 3 km, opposite the Fort Boyard fortifications in the Charente estuary. A car-free island of tranquillity that you hasten to discover on foot, by bike and or by barouche horse-drawn carriage, during a wonderful stop on one of the five beaches of the Ile d’Aix, that some dub ”the Little Corsica of the Atlantic”.
The Ile d’Oléron, the Ile aux Mimosas islands
The mimosa trees which are fragrant in the alleyways of the villages, witness a climate of great gentleness in the most southern of the islands of the Atlantic coast. Thus you make haste on this sunlit island, which has the leading network of cycle tracks on these French islands, to admire here the Chassiron lighthouse, and there the fishing port of La Cotinière. A must-see, the “Route des Huîtres” which winds between the channels, the oyster huts and the oyster beds proves a highly enjoyable walk.
30 MINUTES FROM YOUR SLOW VILLAGE CAMPSITE, A MAJESTIC THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD CITY STANDS, WITH ITS THREE PORTS OPPOSITE THE ATLANTIC
Dubbed “white city” by the English, La Rochelle bewitches you with its coastal fortifications built in the Middle Ages, the medieval towers of the Vieux-Port (old port area) and its beautiful limestone facades, which never cease to dazzle visitors.
THE MUST-SEES IN LA ROCHELLE…
1 The Vieux-Port (Old Port)
The protectors of the city, the towers of La Rochelle stand majestically at the gateway to the Vieux Port, where you absolutely must have a stroll to admire the incredible panorama, have something to eat on the terrace or listen to the breeze making the boat masts sing.
2 The Old Town
From the Duperré quay, the Clock tower is a compulsory trip taking you to the alleyways and mysteries of the Old Town and the Hôtel de Ville (city hall), an excellent example of Renaissance architecture, bearing witness to the prosperity of the city at the time and its advantages.
3 The fortifications of La Rochelle
Three walls have successively surrounded the city, the medieval fortification, the Protestant fortification and the Ferry fortification. Plenty of reasons to admire the magnificent gateways to the city, which still remain!
4 Port des Minimes marina
For your coastal getaways, go to Minimes marina, the departure point for a multitude of sea cruises, where sailing schools and organisers of nautical activities are concentrated.
5 The Port de Pêche (fishing port)
The compulsory La Rochelle tradition, it is appropriate to do this little stroll in the Port de Pêche of Chef de Baie (Fishing Port), to the west of the city, where every day fish and shellfish are unloaded, for sale by auction on a modern site. Worth noting, some former fish markets have been converted like the old Couvent des Carmes convent, nowadays the Grand Théâtre de la Coursive, which has become a national theatre.