Ile de Re history & heritage
Beyond the beach and the marvelous landscapes, discover the rich heritage of the Île de Ré, its history, its must-see sites and monuments ...
The birth of the Ile de Ré
Myths and legends on the island
Legendary stories from local folklore trace the birth of the Ile de Ré to terrible earthquakes that supposedly engulfed Antioch, a mythical Roman city west of Saintes and La Rochelle. The island of Ré and the island of Oléron would be the only survivors of this vast lost region.
Four islands that make one...
Originally, the Ile de Ré was made up of 4 islands (Saint-Martin, Ars, Loix and Les Portes) which were naturally reunited. The Loix peninsula still bears witness to this union.
Did you know ? Ile de Ré is the fourth largest island in metropolitan France !
The island of Ré over the years
The island of Ré in the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages were marked by the arrival of the first monks on the island of Ré. It was also at this time that wine-growing was developed and salt marshes were built. Thanks to the work of the monks, the island of Ré became an important place for the wine and salt trade. In the 12th century, the population of the island began to grow and the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Ré, known as the Abbaye des Châteliers, was built by the monks under the aegis of the Lords of La Flotte. A visit that we strongly recommend.
The 17th century: years of conflict on the Ile de Ré
In the 17th century, the island of Ré was a very coveted land for the French and the British. At that time, religious wars broke out between these two European powers. The Battle of Ile de Ré in 1627 is known as one of the great French victories. The citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré and its fortifications were built by Vauban as a result of these events. The fortress was used as a defence against English, German and Dutch attacks, before being used as a prison.
The island of Ré in the 18th and 19th centuries
The French Revolution brought in its wake the economic decline of the island of Ré and its depopulation. The wines grown on the island lost their prestige and the marshes were deserted. From 1873 onwards, Saint-Martin-de-Ré served as a stopover for convicts sent to New Caledonia and French Guiana. The 19th century also witnessed the construction of one of the emblematic monuments of the island of Ré: the Baleines lighthouse, which came into service in 1854.
The island of Ré from 1945 to the present day
From the 1960s onwards, the island of Ré was reborn and experienced a major tourist boom. For a long time, the island was only accessible by ferry from La Rochelle, but it was linked to the mainland by the construction of the Pont de Ré in 1988. The construction of this 3 km long architectural masterpiece boosted the island's economic activity and greatly contributed to its tourist appeal. Today, the island of Ré is one of the most popular destinations in France.
Take advantage of your holiday at our campsite to discover the remains of our island's past!
The vestiges of the history of the region
The heritage of the Cistercian monks
In the Middle Ages, the monks who settled on the island developed wine-growing and built the salt marshes. These two activities are still present and play an important role in the economic and tourist life of the island. You can still see the remains of the Abbaye des Châteliers (12th century).
The Vauban fortifications in Saint Martin de Ré
The strategic geographical situation of the island of Ré has made it a land of conflict over the centuries. In the 17th century, the citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré was built with its fortifications by Vauban (UNESCO World Heritage Site). At the time, the aim was to protect the town from attacks by the English, Germans and Dutch. The fortifications of the port of Saint-Martin-de-Ré were later used as a prison. Today it is possible to walk around and admire the fortifications during your holiday when visiting the village.
The whale lighthouse at Saint Clément des Baleines
The Whale Lighthouse, commissioned in 1854, remains one of the most important and imposing monuments on the island of Ré. This 57 m high building stands at the north-western tip of the island. After climbing the 257 steps, you can admire the panorama shared between land and ocean. A breathtaking visit! The whale lighthouse was named after the large number of whales that used to come ashore.
The bridge of the Ile de Ré
Built in 1988 over a distance of 3 km, the Ile de Ré bridge links the island to the mainland. The construction of the bridge has boosted the island's economic activity and tourist appeal. Your holiday will start with a magnificent view of the island from the bridge.
Ile de Ré: island heritage and art of living
Ile de Ré: island heritage and art of living
A mosaic of breathtaking landscapes, a unique island heritage and a palette of vibrant colours not to be missed during your holidays. A preserved way of life, a rich historical past and culinary traditions to discover during your holidays or during a weekend.
Ré la blanche
The island of Ré, is full of marine and rural panoramas, moors, dunes, woods, pine forests, marshes, and long sandy beaches. It is also 10 typical villages full of charm, traditional white houses with green shutters, flowered alleys which have crossed centuries of history. The island is nicknamed "Ré la Blanche" because of its typical architecture and the white colour of the houses in its villages. To admire the view, head for the whale lighthouse or the bell tower of Ars-en-Ré!
Discovering the island of Ré is a guaranteed change of scenery all year round! A resourceful place where you can let go...