Nature and charming villages on the island of Ré in western France

Panoramic views from the Whale Lighthouse on the island of Ré

Do you know that the island of Ré is known as the White?

As soon as you cross the long bridge that joins the vicinity of the historic city of La Rochelle with the island of Ré, on the Atlantic coast atwest of france, you will realize the reason for this popular denomination.

Through this bridge you will access a small island where nature and charming villages are combined, in which all the houses are white.

Bridge between La Rochelle and the island of Ré in western France

How is the island of Ré

The island of RéIt is an idyllic vacation spot, ideal if you like nature and bike tours.

Indeed, with only 30 kilometers long and 5 km wide, it is an enclave that you can travel by bicycle.

Or being more precise, if you go during the summer season, it is almost the only way to visit it.

Its great attraction is a good example of the fact that this island in which only 12,000 people live in winter, during the months of July and August it reaches up to 200,000 visitors.

Donkey with long hair, characteristic of the island of Ré in western France

Therefore, in summer the long bridge becomes a toll access.

This invites many of the visitors to leave their cars parked on the continental shore to cross the island by bus, and then move by bicycle.

Such massive use of the bicycle is facilitated because the island of Ré It is completely flat, and to have a panoramic view of it you must climb to high points as the top of the Lighthouse of the Whales.

Or to the bell tower of the church of Saint Martin de Ré, the main town of the island.

What to see on the island of Ré

In the island of Ré you will find green landscapes, very green, with the same lushness as in the Spanish Cantabrian cornice, although without the mountains of this.

Port of Saint Martin on the island of Ré near La Rochelle

Donkeys from the island of Ré

And among nature you will be surprised to see donkeys with long mane; is about native donkeys that show a characteristic long hair, as if from dreadlocks It will be.

Did you know that until recently from April to November they were protected with pants! to avoid insect bites during your work in salt flats?

Las Salinas Ecomuseum on the island of Ré

Yes, one of the characteristics of the island of Ré They are their salt pans.

In the northeast area you can visit the Ecomuseum of the Salinas, where you will know the history of the long salt tradition.

Corner of the port of Saint Martin on the island of Ré near La Rochelle

You will also find beaches with great sand, with the characteristics low tides of the west coast of France.

Y lovely villages, with lively pedestrian streets and sometimes cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Or marinas, with terraces and restaurants with delicious cuisine, and charming hotels.

Of course, in the island of Ré, with severe urban restrictions, only white is allowed on the facades of houses, which must have wooden doors and windows, as well as rolling shutters of only three colors: green, blue and gray.

In the island of Ré don't expect to find big hotels, nor resorts, or large shopping centers.

That is why it is said that some of its villages are of the most beautiful in France.

Alleys in the fishing district of Saint Martin de Ré on the island of Ré

San Martin de Ré

Saint Martin de Ré, as I have already mentioned, it is the main town of the island.

The first thing you'll see when you visit it is its citadel, the first one that built Vauban,famous marshal of France and military engineer of the 17th century.

In the second half of that century, it rose through this area of La Rochelle a series of fortifications that have been declared World Heritage by Unesco.

Then I advise you to walk through the alleys of the old fishing district, between white and flowery houses, to reach the marina.

There you can enjoy its great atmosphere sitting on a terrace.

Saint Martin de Ré on the island of Ré in western France

How to climb the Whale Lighthouse on Ré Island

On your tour of this delicious island you should not miss the westernmost point of it, the Whale Lighthouse.

You will find it at the west end of theisland of Ré, next to an old tower built in 1682 by order ofColbertking ministerLouis XIV, which was the first to do the lighthouse functions.

Built in 1854, with its 57 meters high it is also one of the tallest lighthouses in Europe, and the light surface that covers its light reaches 50 kilometers.

It is a lighthouse that you can visit and, above all, climb to the viewpoint that is at the top of the tower, from where you have excellentpanoramic views of the island of Ré.

Lighthouse of the Whales on the island of Ré in western France

Of course, take a breath because you will find yourself before 257 steps that luckily are quite comfortable and which you ascend in a circular way.

Also, if you wish, you can visit a small museum next to the old tower ofColbert, where the history of the lighthouses is shown with audiovisual animations.

HeWhale Lighthouse At present it has become one of the main tourist attractions of the island, with numerous restaurants and shopssouvenirs in its surroundings.

Schedules visit of the Whale Lighthouse

TheVisiting hours of the Whale Lighthouse on the island of Ré they are, from the end of June to the beginning of September, from 9.30 am to 9 pm.

Lighthouse of the Whales on the island of Ré in western France

In spring and September, the schedule is from 10 am to 7 pm, and from October to March, between 10.30 am and 5.30 pm.

Prices of Whales Lighthouse

The Ticket prices to climb the Whale Lighthouse (2019) are, adults, 3.50 euros, and children from 7 to 12 years, 2 euros.

If you also want to visit the museum, the price of the joint ticket is, respectively, 8 and 4 euros.

In short, an island that you can very well visit in one day, but to enjoy it I advise you to extend your stay.

How to get to the island of Ré

The island of Ré You find it on the Atlantic coast west of France, near the city of La Rochelle, west ofPoitiers.