Still more fortifications - apparently, Vauban never grew tired of designing them! In this particular case, they ended up with an island that was entirely fortified, so that no one could even think of approaching the few remaining landing sites without the consent of the French authorities.
Being just a few days on this island next to sea I have understand who I am...the child of the sea. Living for more than one year in Burgundy in the centre of the France I missed the sea and this feeling seems so clear for somebody who got used to live next to the sea (I mean Riga and the Baltic Sea). So Lilasel left to search for a place where she can find the sea again, she can't live without it...
There are two famous sentries on the site : the presents-day 'Grand Phare' (tall lighthouse) (1854) and the 'Vieille Tour' (Old Tower) ordered by Colbert and built in 1662.
The 'Grand Phare' can be visited all year round. For its ascent, you will climb 257 steps to reach the height of 60 m with a panoramic view at 360°.
In the 12th century, Cistercian monks founded one of the largest abbeys in central and western France. Unfortunately, it was subjected first to attacks by the English and then to the ravages of the religious wars. After that, most of its stones were taken to construct the Fort de la Prée one kilometre away. The little that remains is nevertheless enough to conjure up a picture of its former splendour.
In the 19th century La Flotte was a tuna-fishing port. Every spring around a hundred boats would gather for the year’s harvest from the sea. It seems a little difficult to picture nowadays, the village being so peaceful.
La Flotte presents an interesting contrast between the grand houses along the quays and the maze of terraced cottages behind them. Don’t miss the indoor market.
The port at Saint-Martin de-Ré still recalls the great sail ships of the Royal Navy, and the departure of convicts such as Henri Charrière – better known as Papillon - to the penal colonies of Guiana and New Caledonia.
The capital town of the Île de Ré is St-Martin de Ré, a fishing port on the north of the island with stone quays and the ubiquitous white houses. The village is surrounded by Vauban’s 17th-century fortifications, rebuilt after the Duke of Buckingham’s unsuccessful attempt to capture the island in 1627.
Loix is situated on an isthmus, a little apart from the island proper, and takes its very particular character from this isolation. Marshland, oyster beds, the wild bird sanctuary – so rustic that two cars passing each other is a rare event, likely to cause a traffic jam!
Ars-en Ré - “one of the most beautiful villages in France”. The old port at Ars, built for the salt trade, today welcomes modern yachts as well as old sloops and ketches which use the black-and-white painted church tower as a navigation guide.
In Loix, in the heart of the salt marshes, an ecomuseum recounts the story of the "white gold" that gave the island its prosperity in bygone days, the salt worker's way of life and expertise, the ingenious system for carrying seawater to the salt pans etc.
The ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (Bird Protection League) manages this haven for wildlife. With their particularly rich biodiversity, the reserve's natural marshlands are home for some 250 different species of birds that are permanently resident or just stopping over in the course of their migration. It can be viewed from a discreet distance while walking and cycling, or more or more closely under the supervision of a guide.
In this village at the farthest reaches of the island, far from the madding crowd, you’ll find the quintessential charm if the Ile de Ré - narrow, white painted and flower-bedecked streets, sand dunes and the forest backing onto a vast expanse of wetland giving onto the Fier d’Ars, a sanctuary for wild birds.
The bicycle is the ideal transport to discover the island, but if you have no much time (only one day there) and so crazy like me you can try to see almost all island for this one day :-)
Actually, the bike is unquestionably king on Ré. No hill higher than 19 metres abover sea level! If you can't bring your own bike you'll find exactly what you're looking for at a wealth of rental stations, many of which even have a breakdown service free of charge.
You can reach the island using the 3km-long toll bridge (€16.77 return per car) at La Pallice, a suburb of La Rochelle, or by boat from La Rochelle (Interîles, 14 cours des Dames) to the village of Sablonceaux on Ré (same price).
NOTRE DAME de RE
alias "Des Ch?teliers"
Classified historical monument"
Also, is said that "Vehicles are forbidden the access (to the abbey area)"
At last, this is part of La Flotte commune.
Comunication to camping-cars: "Parking from 11pm to 7am is forbidden outside the camping sites"
This was at the entry of the abbey area.