Il de Re: Where Parisians Go To Get Away
So you’re on a tour of France and in need of a way to get off the radar. Why not head to a tiny inlet where locals spend their holidays soaking up the sun and throwing just about all of their cares away? Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, Il de Re is the type of place where the residents are encouraged to keep the villages as traditional as possible. At only 18 miles long and a bridge crossing away just outside the city of La Rochelle, it's the perfect escape.
Here are some top notch reasons for making this island off the west coast of France your getaway:
The villages on Ile de Re recall a France from decades ago, when few cars were around and the main form of transportation was the bicycle. City planners and residents have played a heavy hand in keeping the island as quaint as possible, and no one is allowed to have exterior antennas on their houses, nor can any businesses build new complexes. Additionally, people who have summer houses here, or who call this place home throughout the year, can only paint their shutters shades of blue and green.
While wandering these cobblestone streets, keep your camera poised to take photos of the orange-roofed houses against the bright blue sky.
Go for a ride
Thanks to its small size, Ile de Re is easy to explore within a day, especially if you rent a bicycle. There's a wide promenade that wraps around the islet, making a short ride even more appealing for travelers who want to take in the sites without having to stray too far from the cool and refreshing water. A great way to burn some calories during a France tour is to do two things at once - exploring either on foot or on two wheels.
Wine, dine and more wine
After you spend the morning and afternoon exploring the village, going to the beach and perusing boutique stores, you can do what the French do so well: eat. At Le Bistrot du Marin, you can order a platter of oysters and juicy steak while closing out the day sipping perfectly paired glasses of wine and catching snippets of animated conversations around you.
For more inspiration, click here to view Kensington's collection of customizable France tours.