Postcards from France - with love from the pearl of the Atlantic coast
Crossing the bridge from the mainland, the journey to the Ile de Ré has to one of the most enjoyable! If you know the Atlantic coast well, there is beauty to be found all the way from Finistere to Biarritz.
Swept by the Atlantic breezes, the Ile de Ré is a spectacular coastal gem just across from the water La Rochelle. Whether you cross the bridge or leave La Rochelle by ferry or yacht, arriving on the island is leaving your worries behind. Here on the white isle it's very much about cycling, sailing, walking and relaxing. You can explore the salt marshes, bird life, vineyards or seafood restaurants as well as history, art, and wonderful markets.
As well as the beautiful low lying buildings, their whitewashed facades glowing at sunset, its the hollyhocks or rose trémières that feel so emblematic of this island.
Painted by Morisot, hollyhocks are thought to have been introduced to Europe in the fifteenth century are a beautiful sight across the Ile de Ré and its larger island sibling the Ile d'Oléron (as well as the whole region Charente Maritime.) In a variety of hues, they brighten the winding streets and whitewashed charm of the island.
The island is easy to cycle on its 110 km of cycle tracks. Feeling like arriving here by bike? If you'e a long-range cyclist you can reach the island using either the Veloroute Francette or the Velodyssey EuroVelo 1 both detailed on Freewheeling France. In fact cycling is probably the best way to get around!
Need tips on growing hollyhocks? Check out this informative post from an expat gardener living in this region of France. The island is full of extraordinary rare flora and fauna, some of which is unique in France as well as the Lilleau des Niges bird nature reserve.
Don't you love the hollyhocks? For a taste of the beautiful island, there are plenty of guides and videos online that give you a tempting glimpse of this charming island destination. A weekend away perhaps?
These postcards from France remind me of the happy times I've travelled through France and yet there's still more to discover. There's always another region, another town or beautiful village (officially a Plus Beaux Villages or not). There are customs and regional food and wine to discover as well as accents and words you might have never heard before.
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