Yesterday I did a lovely island tour of Île de Ré. I’ve fallen in love with the island! The December sunshine made it a lovely place to spend the day.
I stayed overnight at a caravan park in Rivedoux-Plage. The caravan I stayed in was quite cosy, despite it having frozen overnight. This morning when I went out to buy milk I had to scrape the car!
The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge – €8 to cross – meaning that although it is winter there was still a fair few visitors on the island today. I was up early enough to see a lovely sunrise with the bridge linking the island to the French mainland in the background.
There’s a pizza vending machine in the town centre as well – How interesting!
From Rivedoux-Plage I drove right to the far end of the island (30km in length) to see the lighthouse at the tip of the island. The Phare des Baleines (Lighthouse of the Whales) has spectacular views. It is so called because of the beached whales which appear in the area.
From the lighthouse I then drove in to the nature reserve which makes up much of the Northern half of the island. I loved watching and listening to the birds in the area, in an otherwise quiet landscape. The winter sunshine made it so much better – and as it was the middle of the day it was warm enough to walk around in just my t-shirt!
Saint-Martin-de-Ré was my next stop. The island’s capital is a lovely little port town with an interesting church. I also made a feline friend while walking along the seafront.
From Saint-Martin it was on to La Flotte – the largest settlement on the island. Still a lovely port town. I love walking along the seafront in these towns and seeing all the boats!
I then stopped briefly at the Abbaye des Châteliers – the ruins of an abbey which sort of rimind me of Tintern Abbey, but on a smaller scale.
After that I arrived back in Rivedoux-Plage where I stopped to buy some lunch. Only an hour or so before sunset and with a 6 hour drive ahead, I didn’t hang around for long – just got lunch in the mini market (a baguette to eat in the car).
As I drove North East towards my final night in France, after just 20 minutes of leaving the La Rochelle area I then spent the best part of 3-4 hours in freezing fog. It was so cold that when I stopped at the motorway services, my wing mirrors had frozen over, and when I drove at slow speed my parking sensors went mental as they too were covered in ice!
This being France though, the motorways were as clear as ever – love that there’s never any traffic once you get on the French autoroutes – although when the bill comes in at the end of the month the cost of using the toll roads is likely to be in the region of €70 in each direction (so €140 in total). It isn’t cheap! Or maybe it is – it is just that France is a big country.
One last thing to add: England played France in the football last night. I’m watching the sports news on TV now (France Info TV) and see that the French seem to be very happy, so I guess they won? I don’t know what happened – I did hear the start of the build up to it on the radio (the whole of the France Bleu local & regional radio network joined together for one single programme called “Angletterre – France: Le Match”). Not understanding a word of French I switched to RFM to listen to music instead of the football…
For the record, if any of the French ask where I’m from…. Ecosse is the answer. My car of course has Scottish numberplates so I can safely deny being English!
Returning to the UK today and I need to de-snow the car. I’ll post an update once home!