You are probably here after reading my previous blog post, France – A Moment In Charente-Maritime – Part 1, which was about my first two days in the Charente-Maritime area in France, thanks to Office du Tourisme de La Rochelle. This blog post is for the remainder two days as part of our french road trip.
DAY THREE – ILE DE RE
After such a wonderful second day, I was looking forward to starting day 3. I knew we had lots of amazing activities planned so I was already looking forward to it!
The first thing we did that morning was to visit the Baleines Lighthouse at Saint Clément on the Ile de Ré. This lighthouse is beautiful and the view of the island you get from the top, of the coastline, the ocean and Oléron Island is out of this world!
At 57 metres it is one of the tallest lighthouses in France with 257 steps to the top. I thought I wasn’t going to make it or that I would feel super tired after the climb but I was fine and it was 100% worth the effort! I loved it!
This is an emblematic site of the island. The name comes from the fact that whales and dolphins would run aground here. At the foot of the tower is a museum about the lighthouse and its history.
To give you an idea of prices, the cost to get inside Baleines Lighthouse and the museum is €10 for adults and €5 for children.
Before moving on we decided that it was the perfect moment to have a short coffee break and a little chat of how amazing this place was! It was perfect and what we needed to carry on our day!
We then went to Ré Oyster Farm for a tour and tasting at L’Huitrière de Ré (mme berthelot). I have never been to an oyster farm before so this was something very interesting to do. I am not fan of oysters but I was very curious to learn about the whole process of farming them! I think my dad would have been in heaven here as he loves oyster!
Oyster farming is integral to the local maritime culture. The raising of shellfish to the rhythm of the sea is there to be seen. Classified as a ‘Ferme de découverte’ (Discovery Farm) and part of the ‘Bienvenue à la Ferme’ label, this is a typical oyster farm on one of the narrowest parts of the island of Ré which itself is a ‘Classé et Remarquable’ site of France.
The farm has an area where you can buy fresh oysters and one of the most interesting things was that there was a vending machine for oysters! How cool and modern is that? I thought this was fascinting!
LUNCH AT LA CABANE DU FIER
After the visit to the oyster farm we went for lunch. Well, guess where we went? Yes (you probably guessed it), we went to a restaurant specialising in oysters! The seafood there was supposed to be amazing so I was really looking forward to trying it!
The restaurant, La Cabane du Fier, is a typical oyster shack with a lovely terrace overlooking Ars-en-Ré. The views were really nice and it was a very pleasant place to eat.
With Stephane from Charente-Maritime Tourisme – our host for this press trip
My meal was delicious. I had the most tasty monkfish! I hadn’t tried it before so I was very intrigued and absolutely loved it! I didn’t have dessert as I was feeling full but instead really enjoyed an amazing latte!
After our meal we were taken to Ecole de voile de La Couarde in Les Dauphins area where we were going to do paddle boarding. OMG, I hadn’t done paddle boarding before so I was really excited to try it! 🙂
We went to a sailing school, Ecole De Voile De La Couarde Les Dauphins for a discovery of the paddle activity. We got into our wetsuits and had a short demonstration of what to do. The boards were actually very big and heavy. I was already worried I wasn’t going to be able to stand on it very easily. But I actually managed to do it for about 1 second I think!
Just so you have an idea of costs, 1 hour per person costs €30, 1.5 hrs is €40 and 2 hours is €45. For 2 people for 2 hours it’s €80 and 4 people for 2 hours is €150.
We also had the opportunity to meet Antoine Albeau whose father is the owner of the surf school. He started wind-surfing at the age of five and he became the wind surfing world record holder. Then he became World Champion, European Champion and French Champion (one of the most decorated exponents of his sport). I was very lucky to meet him and I really enjoyed the paddle boarding experience too!
After such a lovely hour paddling in the sea, we were taken to our new hotel in Saint Martin. The Vauban fortifications of Saint-Martin-de –Ré have been recognised by UNESCO since 2008 and it is one of the most charming villages in the area. It’s an unmissable attraction for all visitors.
One of the things they recommend to do is trailing round in Martinmas, passage in Martinière at master craftsman glacier and shops. It is a beautiful place to walk around.
HOTEL LES COLONNES
We stayed at the Hôtel and Restaurant “Les Colonnes” which is an accommodation of Sophie Cochard. This hotel has an amazing view. My room was so cute and comfy. It has everything I needed and I loved staring at the boats from my window.
This is the view from my hotel room – I thought I was dreaming!
READY FOR DINNER
I met Rosana at the bar of the hotel while we were waiting for the others to go to dinner
Selfie in front of the hotel Les Colonnes
DINNER AT COTE JARDIN
We then all went walking towards the restaurant. It is just a few minutes away and it was a pleasant walk. The day was beautiful and the sun was shining!
We had dinner at Côté jardin where home cooking is produced from fresh products. It is situated just a few steps away from the port. It has a small but very pleasant patio.
The restaurant is lovely and I really like the decoration. You have this feeling that you are surrounded by a beautiful garden. You can see a lot of green around the tables. The food was delicious too and the whole environment was lovely! We all had a really nice time!
WALKING AROUND SAINT MARTIN
After such a lovely meal and good company we all decided to go for a walk together. It was going to be our last night so we wanted to have a nice photo of the group so of course I took my selfie stick out and did the honours, LOL! I love selfies!
DAY 4 – MARAIS POITEVIN
The following morning we had a yummy breakfast served in the cutest tray! It was so colourful! There was fresh bread and orange juice! It was lovely! We left Saint Martin after breakfast and headed towards the Swamp from Poitou.
Our next activity was a kayak experience! I had done kayaking before but in a real swamp so I was excited to do this. I love new experiences!
We had two hours of kayaking with Jean-Michel Niobé, a local expert in the art of kayaking who is preparing for his round the world kayak tour in 2018. How amazing is that?
I was actually lucky because I was in charge of taking the photos so Stephane kindly agreed to paddle the kayak that we were sharing. He did a fantastic job! The cost of kayaking is €18 for 1 hour, €28 for 2 hours, €48 for one day, €85 for 2 two and €180 for four days.
LUNCH AT AUX ETANGS DE JULIE A BAZOIN
After such an amazing experience, we were super hungry and looking forward to having our lunch. We went to Aux Étangs de Julie à Bazoin, a local restaurant which specialises in local and fresh products. It was delicious!
After our lunch, it was sadly time to leave from La Rochelle to the airport. I couldn’t believe the weekend was already over! I had the most amazing time in Charente-Maritime! The people, the places, the hotels, the food, the company and especially our hosts were amazing! Thank you so much to Charente-Maritime Tourism Board for such an unforgettable press trip! I loved it and I am sure I will return with my family!
This is the end of PART 2 of my trip to Charente-Maritime. If you missed PART 1 you can have a read HERE. I really hope that you enjoyed it! 🙂
After reading both posts, would you consider putting Charente-Maritime on your list of places to visit? If you do visit please let me know via the comments below or through my email or social channels! I would love to know.
*Disclosure: I was invited by the Charente-Maritime Tourist Board for a press trip to visit the area. Everything was complimentary for the purpose of this blog post.
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