DestinationsTravel

My Ile de Ré secrets by Jennie Hogg of Lois Avery

Because one post just isn’t enough – here’s a bonus! The lovely Jennie from Lois Avery (aka the best cashmere scarves in the business) has been a Ré regular for more than ten years. Here’s her Ile de Ré secrets…

Follow Jennie on Instagram @loisavery and see the collection online at Lois Avery

I discovered the Ile de Ré when…

We made our first trip 11 years ago with our baby son, after I was enchanted by Herbert Ypma’s review of Hôtel Le Sénéchal in his book Hip Hotels: France . We stayed in a beautiful house in La Couarde owned by a translator who lived in Bordeaux. There was a comprehensive guide she had written to the island on the book shelf, I took a lot of notes, and I still rely upon her guidance today. We’ve returned most years, and we’ve introduced our family to the island and many of our friends too.

It’s special because…

The villages of Ile De Re are so charming and so French. But the real magic of the island comes from the surprising mix of prettiness and wildness! The manicured lanes have shutters painted in a regulated colour palette of blue and green, and yet outside the villages the landscape is a wild mix of forests, salt marshes, dunes and unspoiled beaches … there are no private beaches or sun loungers with parasols to rent. If you know where to go, you can enjoy a stretch of beach all to yourself even in August.

My five favourite places on the island…

  1. Le Taxi Brousse. This is without a doubt my favourite restaurant in Ile De Re. This place is an absolute word of mouth gem and very little is written about it. It’s located in La Couarde, and is only open in the summer months. It’s set at the end of a residential road just before you reach the sand dune. You eat delicious food with your feet in the sand, and then enjoy a refreshing post-lunch dip in their swimming pool. Reservations are essential and they don’t accept credit cards, so go prepared!
  2. Hotel L’Ocean in Le Bois has a gorgeous outdoor bar, and BBQ restaurant, in the summer months. Like so much of Ile De Re, from the street you would never know this place existed. It’s worth noting the bar serves Italian standard Aperol Spritz!
  3. Don’t miss the very cool homewares pop up shop Madeleine & Gustave in Ars En Re. Ars is a beautiful artistic village on the west coast of the island surrounded by salt marshes.
  4. Pack a baguette, some cheese, and a bottle of rose and head to Gros Jonc beach for a sunset picnic. Whilst this beach can be crowded during the day, once everyone goes home and the tide goes out, it’s breathtakingly beautiful and has the best sunset on the island.
  5. Our favourite spot for lunch time crepes is Les Tilleuls in La Noue. The décor is very Instagramable, and all the waiters wear Breton tops.

All images Jennie’s own.

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