Saint Marie/St Martin de Ré in the Île de Ré!!!

Now this was a pleasant surprise the first time there, this trip. Back in 2016 we decided to take a different vacation as one event was happening;:;;; the 2016 European Nations Cup were held in France! and the training ground for the national team of Spain was you guess right, Sainte Marie de Ré in the Ïle de Ré island!! So we went there period!

The Île de Ré is a nice wonderdul island , the fourth largest on metropolitan France! It is in the Charente Maritime dept 17 of the new region of Nouvelle Aquitaine

I have written before of La Rochelle, where my oldest son studied and we have visited several times. Ile de Ré been just on the other side was not our wish, but due to the National team of Spain staying there while the Euro16 European football/soccer Championship going on in France, we decided to take a look. Nice  surprise especially on St Martin de Ré.

The ride was nice and we got up early leaving by 6H or 6AM taking the N165 direction airport of Nantes ,Nantes-Atlantique, then Bordeaux on the toll A10, and then La Rochelle on the A83 then  exit 7 to  the D237 , N11  and continuing to Ile de Ré  and then in the island on the D735 and D201 and D103. Coming back we took a more quaint trip going all the way on the D137  passing by the wine region of Clisson into the beltway or périphérique of Nantes into the N844 and then N165 home. The morning ride was foggy and cool at 10C and then the day went up into sunny and 24C as well as 21C on the way back.

The other nice thing of the road trip was crossing the the bridge linking the Mainland with the island, the Le Pont de Ré, magnificent and 8€ roundtrip toll in winter. webpage:


I went straight to the Atalante Thalasso hotel in Sainte Marie de Ré where the Spanish team was staying and to my upsetting disappointment the whole was block by police ,gendarmerie with wagon and steel barriers all even before reaching the hotel!!! We settle for a hola at a distance! For reference webpage:

We console ourselves with a walking tour of the town of Sainte Marie de Ré.  There is decent Church of Ste Marie de Ré, (see post) a typical nice quaint market day by place d’Antioche; we had our breads at boulangerie maison Marin, right there, we walked to the dunes at Plage de Montamer, rocky and good for on foot fishing with some white sandy sections.



Good to insert here the tourist office of the Ile de Ré things to do:

We move on to Saint-Martin-de-Ré a bigger town and nicer, nice surprise should be a nice stop for all. Here we went straight for the Stadium stade Marcel Gaillard  where Spain was to train during the Euro16. Again ,another disappointment as the stadium was under security not even parking in the parking area, all cover the fences with a mesh to avoid the view in. Due to the terrorist condition the bus comes on training time and leave again, very difficult to see unless you camp out according to the security guard on duty…..Some things have not change. The stadium is home of the AS Rethaise football team:


We again has to settle for a walking tour of the town. We found parking by Vauban near the Citadelle , first hour free and then for the day 6€. This was a nice surprise as it has wonderful Vauban citadelle fortifications that you can go in into the inner yards of the enclosure, but not Inside as it is now a prison. The Ïle de Ré tourist office on the Citadelle of St Martin de Ré:

A webpage on the Vauban fortifications and the Citadelle of St Martin de Ré in English:,748


All along the border a wonderful view of the sea and views of the other smaller island the île d’Aix. There is a quaint lighthouse red (phare toit rouge) there and a wonderful harbor for pleasure boats into the center of the town.

By now we were hungry and mostly thirsty so without any real choosing I told the gang to eat at Le Phare resto pizzeria by 4 Quai de Bernonville facing the habor, and it was a 10. We ate in the terrace just next to the water, with a friendly fishing dog that no fear of going into the water! the service was fast and friendly and we had our usual mussels or moules au curry and Rochefort with pizzas, great Leffe beers and desserts like the rice pudding in caramel sauce with express coffee to finish all for 36€ per person, a bit high but good considering you are in a very touristic  island! Facebook page:



We move on to the inner city, visiting the Church Saint Martin, (see post) with gothic ruins (from Normans invasions)  in the middle of the high city to be seen from the harbor. Today the oldest part dates from the 15C  on the walls on both sides of the high towers in ruins.  The belltower has a square tower and has three bells, such as the Marie Thérèse, the big one that sounds, the  Charles Catherine , the medium one, and the  Marie Pierre Michel Samuel Augustine , the smallest sound.


The refreshing busy town and the quaint harbor, pleasure marina ,and citadelle and great ambiance by the wharfs was a great surprise and a good consolation for missing out on the Spanish team. It would be a great vacation area combining it with beach there and sights additional at La Rochelle or even further north at Rochefort-en-Mer.



The Île de Ré has other spots such as Loix, La Flotte, Rivedoux-Plage,Ars en Ré, Saint-Clément-des-Baléines, and Phare des Baléines , as well as Les Portes en Ré passing a natural reserve area.

Another wonderful spot in my belle France, but they are so many ,can go nuts trying to see them all lol!!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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5 Comments to “Saint Marie/St Martin de Ré in the Île de Ré!!!”

  1. This one is on my bucket list

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had pleasant stays there, perfect for cycling, it’s flat, except in windy, rainy and hot weather 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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