Île de Ré a small island off the coast of La Rochelle is cycling heaven and after crossing the toll bridge is definitely a case of leaving your motor home securely on site.
The Île de Ré is the second sunniest place in France, second only to the Côte d’Azur but that is where comparisons end. Do not get me wrong, it still attracts its fair share of the rich and famous and is very popular with well heeled Parisians and this is amply reflected in the property prices on the island, but here you are more likely to be run over by a bicycle than a Ferrari.
Simply avoid August when the island will be rammed but once you get in to September the crowds will have disappeared and it should still be warm. As the island is only 30km by 5km you will never be completely alone but it will now be peaceful and you will have no problem getting a table at the many excellent restaurants and seafood establishments, serving excellent oysters at ridiculously low prices.
The best and really only way to see the island, with its small fishing ports, dunes,salt marshes,and salt pans illustrating its past dependence on fishing and salt production is by bike.
The island could easily be cycled in a day but that would be missing the point, this is an island of lazy days and long lunches. It is impossible to get lost and the cycle paths are all well signed, as you move from one village with its narrow streets, white washed houses with green shutters, to the next, stopping off at the long golden beaches on the way, with perpetual sea views.
We based ourselves at La Grainetiere campsite, within walking distance of La Flotte, a small attractive port.
This was an ACSI site and we could not fault this site at all, it was well equipped with
motorhome service point, restaurant,shop and small pool area which we often had to ourselves.
We tend to avoid recommending restaurants but La Cabine de Bain at La Couarde Sur Mer has to be an exception. There is something surreal about arriving by bike and even more so to discover that your chef was from Donegal.The food was exceptional and extremely reasonable.