The island of Ré is full of treasures: the beach and farniente, the architecture, the history, an ancestral and yet diversified local life. The whole place is still rather wild and authentic thanks to the action of the local political actors (and to a 16€ toll on the road that gives one access to the island during high season).
The Northern beaches are gorgeous and lay behind wild, dense forests.
While we’re at it, there’s another treasure I’d like to mention, let’s hop back on to the mainland.
Indeed, La Rochelle has one very precious treasure: my brother’s restaurant, Le P’tit Nicolas. Two years ago, my 24 year-old brother decided – without any experience and with utmost humility – to open his restaurant and to offer a beautiful combination of gastronomic and relaxed food. Fast forward a couple of years and he’s one of the best chefs in town, and I’m saying this objectively because that’s what his ratings on TripAdvisor say. Depending on the month, he varies between fourth and second best chef in town.
I am very moved by the authentic passion that pushes him to explore new products and flavors relentlessly, with infinite humility.
(Let’s hop back on to the Island of Ré).
It’s hard to get bored of it and easy to marvel at its many facets, given that bicycles rule there. The island has countless bike routes and it’s simply lovely to be able to discover lakes and vineyards on the coast.
The oysters are bred in the sea and in the island’s salted water marshlands (they’re even tastier) from which the locals extract the famous Island of Ré salt.
The sturdy vineyards endure the coastal winds and produce a beautiful rosé wine.
(You may have noticed this is a very culinary post 😉
In terms of architecture, beyond the prettiness of all the white housed with green shutters, the most interesting town is Saint-Martin-de-Ré, a fortified town carved by the course of history.
In 1622, the town took part in an anthological battle beside the protestants of La Rochelle against the French royal fleet. In 1627, the English swooped in to save them yet the besieged town was still forced to admit defeat. In 1681, under the command of Vauban, the town became a citadel. Today, the sever walls remain and create a pleasant contrast with the pretty white houses.