In search of ideas for a family holiday? Here’s six reasons why you should visit the French island of Ile de Ré
The island is easy and quick to get to
Situated half-way down the west (Atlantic) coast of France and lying opposite the stunning port pf La Rochelle, you won’t face a long journey to reach Ile de Ré. There are flights from LGW and Stansted direct to tiny La Rochelle airport, and the flying time is less than 1.5 hours.
What’s more, from the airport it’s a quick and easy transfer over the Pont de Ré to the island. If you want to avoid flying, it’s equally stress-free to arrive by TGV in La Rochelle (under three hours from Paris) or do a ferry and self-drive from one of the channel ports.
Ile de Ré is warm and child-friendly
The Med in summer can mean hot, tired kids and stressed parents. Island summers are warm (around 25 degrees celsius) rather than hot. It’s therefore a manageable temperature for days on the beach and family activities such as cycling. Plus, the Atlantic keeps a lid on night-time temperatures so everyone can get a good night’s sleep.
It’s considered the ‘cycling capital’ of France
With 110km of family-friendly cycle trails to explore the island’s 10 villages (including two in the collection: ‘The Most Beautiful Villages of France’) and its many wonderful beaches, you can leave the car behind on your Ile de Ré holiday.
There are dozens of hire shops, and all the usual chariots and child seats are available as well as kids’ bikes too. It’s a fun way to see the island and enjoy some family time together.
The beaches are sheltered and child-friendly
Ile de Ré is situated long the north coast with several sandy beaches, where the waves are small and the water is shallow. One family favourite is Plage de la Trousse Chemise on the island’s northern tip (it’s a fabulous spot for picnics too).
For a body-boarding wave, head to Plage de la Conche or the longer stretches of sandy beach on the south side between La Couarde and Le Bois Plage.
Ile de Ré offer plenty of fun trips out for the kids
Climb the 257 steps to the top of Phare des Baleines, while next to the lighthouse, there is excellent rock-pooling to be had. Take a boat ride to Fort Boyard or La Rochelle, which boasts a superb aquarium.
Ile de Ré is a haven for ‘foodies’ and the style-conscious
Let’s not forget the parents! Ré is the epitome of Bobo chic – understated luxury is the theme here, not the bling of France’s Riviera. The cute village lanes are a jumble of independent boutiques and galleries and it’s impossible to return home to the UK without several home interiors purchases. The distinctive Rétaise style is all around you – the colours read like a Farrow & Ball palette.
It’ll be no surprise to learn that good food and wine are at the heart of island life. There are vineyards and tempting markets to explore, while the island’s oyster shacks and ice cream salons are the talk of France.
Planning your holiday for 2020? Speak to one of the Ile de Ré and France experts on 01395 576655 or visit Alternative Aquitaine’s website (part of the Simpson Travel family).
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