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News Every Day |

Tiny French island where the locals go on holidays – with sandy beaches and ‘farcically cheap’ food

FRANCE is one of the most popular summer destinations for British holidaymakers.

However, the French are just as partial to a holiday in their own country, with one island in particular high among the locals’ favourites.

Getty Images - Getty
The villages in Ile de Re have been described as ‘absurdly pretty’[/caption]
Saint-Martin-de-Re is a Unesco heritage site[/caption]
The beaches in the south of the island are best for swimming[/caption]
Each of the 10 villages on the island has its own market[/caption]

Ile de Re, not far from La Rochelle, just off the west coast, is where Parisian residents like to head for a staycation during the summer months.

But the good news is that there’s more than enough places to visit on the island that you can head there when it’s warm, without it being too crowded.

It’s easy to see why some French people prefer to go to Ile de Re on holiday instead of heading abroad.

Its clean, sandy beaches and picture perfect villages are as good as any, while its inexpensive food and drink mean a visit doesn’t cost a great deal.

These are all points picked up by travel experts Lonely Planet, who described the island as “French seaside chic at its best”.

They wrote: “Come July and August, irresistible Ile de Ré is where you’ll find half of Paris on their holidays.

“With absurdly pretty villages, strips of uninterrupted golden fluffy sand and some freshly-caught (but farcically cheap) seafood, this tiny island is laid-back French seaside chic at its best.

“Even during the annual Parisian invasion, you can still find quiet corners of this exquisite Atlantic outpost if you know where to rummage.”

The port town of Saint Martin de Re is the main place for visitors to head to, due to its historical monuments, its lighthouse and restaurants.

In fact, the town is a Unesco heritage site, with Holidays Ile de Re describing it as “a place of life that does not leave you indifferent by its charms”. 

However, there are 10 villages on the island altogether, with plenty more to explore beyond Saint Martin.

For those looking for a day at the beach, heading to the south of the island is your best bet.

Everything you need to know about visiting France

  • Brits need to have a passport with at least three months left on it.
  • No visas are needed for anyone staying up to 90 days within an 180-day period but you need to make sure your passport is stamped on entry and exit.
  • You may also need to show proof of accommodation and funds, around €120 a day.
  • The country uses the euro with with around €10 working out to £8.55.
  • France is one hour ahead of the UK
  • Direct flights to France from the UK take between 1-4 hours depending on the destination
  • Or you can travel by train with Eurostar, with destinations including Paris or Lille.

The Telegraph explained that this is because there are better protected coves in this part of the island, as well as family accommodation.

There are beach bars serving food and drink right on the sand.

They said: “The best beaches are in the south of the island. Bordered by dunes or forests, La Couarde, Gros Joncs and Grennettes are better protected from the wind and ideal for taking a dip.

“At Plage des Gollandières, Beach Bar serves up hulking plates of steak frites and has tables on the sand.

“Nearby Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré is ideally placed for family holidays, with many of the island’s Eurocamp-style accommodations hidden among the pine forests.”

Away from the seaside there are more than 85 miles of cycle paths throughout the island, leading to salt marshes, cornfields and vineyards.

Each village will also have its own market, selling fresh food, including French cheese, wine and fish caught just off the shore.

And with it being so easy to reach Ile de Re, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular with the locals as well as visitors.

Getting to the island is simple from the UK, with Ryanair flying to La Rochelle from as little as £25 return.

The Eurostar to Paris, followed by a three hour connecting journey is also an option.

A night for two in Ile de Re can be booked from around £60.

Ile de Re dlight and hotel deals

*if you click on a link in this boxout we will earn affiliate revenue

  • Hotels on the Island de Re from £36 per night – find here
  • Airbnbs near the Island de Re from £16 per night – find here
  • Eurocamp – LA GRAINETIÈRE from £515 for 7 nights per family of four – find here
  • Flights to La Rochelle from £22 return – find here

Meanwhile, these are six secret holiday spots in Europe.

And this French holiday spot has been described as “unfairly overlooked”.

Ile de Re is a popular holiday destination for French people[/caption]

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