Do we need a car?
The Ile de Ré is fairly small – just over 18 miles in length and only 3 at its widest point – and there are over 60 miles of fabulous flat bike paths. Both La Couarde (Maison de Charme) and St. Martin (Maison de Pêcheur) are ideally located towards the centre of the island.
Here are some things you might want to think about:
- Are we willing to do a lot of cycling?
- Are there any very young children or elderly persons in our group? This might limit the distances you can cover.
- What kind of weather are we likely to have during our visit?
- Will we want to go off the island a lot?
Remember, the best way by far to explore the Ile de Ré is by bike!
Where can we rent a car?
You will need to organise car rental before you come onto the island, at La Rochelle Airport or train station.
Where can we park?
At MAISON DE CHARME (La Couarde) road parking is available immediately in front of the house.
At MAISON DE PECHEUR (St. Martin) parking is available at one of the two nearby public car parks (100m and 300m from the cottage). Although nominally ‘Pay & Display’ facilities, no one has yet had a problem without a ticket. For futher parking options, please also refer to the plan of St. Martin provided with your arrival information.
At MAISON D’AQUITAINE (St. Martin) the spaces right outside the house are “Pay & Display”. Our advice would be to park temporarily outside the house while you unload, then move to one of the (free) car parks on the edge of the town. Please refer to the plan of St. Martin provided with your arrival information.
How do we organise the transfer from La Rochelle Airport?
Simple! Ask us to arrange a taxi to meet you at the airport (or train station). The fare is approx. € 45 to St. Martin, slightly more for La Couarde.
How much is the Ile de Ré bridge toll?
The bridge toll costs €16 return in the summer season (20 June to 11 September) and €8 return at all other times.
Is there a bus service to and from the Ile de Ré?
Yes, a service runs between La Rochelle town centre and the island (but no direct service from the airport to the island). The trip takes around an hour, tickets cost a couple of euros.
Service 3A runs between La Rochelle, St Martin de Ré and Les Portes en Ré. Download timetable 3A here
Service 3B runs between La Rochelle and Loix.
Download timetable 3B here
You can also use the slightly faster service, Ré Express.
Ré Express A runs between La Rochelle Train Station (Gare SNCF), St Martin de Ré and Les Portes en Ré.
Ré Express B runs between La Rochelle Train Station (Gare SNCF) and Loix.
Download timetable Ré Express here
What about on the island, is there a bus service?
An electric shuttle bus (“navette”) runs between St Martin de Ré, La Flotte, Sainte Marie de Ré and Le Bois Plage
Download timetable Navette Circulaire here
What time is check-in?
Check-in is from 5 p.m. onwards. We will of course make every effort to try and accommodate earlier arrivals, especially if you are arriving by air. Please let us know your plans.
What time is check-out?
We would very much appreciate prompt departure at 9.30 for 10am latest in order to prepare for the next arrivals. We understand you may need somewhere to leave luggage if you have a late flight off the island. We will try and do our best to make things as easy as possible for you.
How far is the nearest beach?
At LA COUARDE (Maison de Charme) there is a sandy beach just two minutes (300 m) on foot, virtually on your doorstep!
At ST. MARTIN (Maison de Pêcheur & Maison d’Aquitaine) the nearest beach is about one mile away, just a short bike ride through the town. The beach at St. Martin is small, crescent-shaped and sheltered. If you want long, golden expanses and bigger waves, you should head over to Gros Jonc beach, in the direction of Bois Plage (about 15 minutes by bike).
How much does bike hire cost?
You can hire pretty much any kind of bike and/or trailer from the many stores on the Ile de Ré. A traditional 5-speed adult bike, which is all you really need, will cost about €35 euros per week.
This website Bike Hire will give you some idea of what’s available, and at what price.
Should we reserve bikes in advance?
We have never reserved bikes in advance, but if you are coming to the Ile de Ré in July or August, you might like to reserve ahead of arrival just to be on the safe side. Please contact us for help.
Where can we keep our bikes at the house?
At LA COUARDE, bikes can be put away in our bike shed, or left outdoors in the enclosed patio area.
At ST. MARTIN there is a ring cemented to the outside of the house, to which bikes can be attached. Alternatively, and this is our recommended solution, you may leave rental bikes at the nearby bike hire store each evening (or place them in the store’s underground car park to which you will be given keys).
What if we have a problem during our stay?
If you need advice, or encounter any difficulties, please email or call: 0033 679 804687.
If you lose your house key, for example, we do have key holders on the island. Please call or email. There is a charge of €30 per lost key.
What baby equipment do you have available?
We have a selection of baby equipment available: cot, highchair, baby bath, changing mat. Please ask.
Do you charge extra for end-of-stay cleaning?
Contrary to many other rental properties, we don’t charge extra for end-of-stay cleaning. Everything is included in the rental price we quote when you book with us.
Of course, we would really appreciate it if guests could kindly do their best to return accommodation clean and tidy when they leave.
Please note that we will deduct an appropriate charge from your damage deposit (€25/hour) for any extra cleaning time required to rectify cases of obvious disrespect.
Is there a supermarket nearby?
Yes, the supermarket in LA COUARDE is just 2 minutes away by car, 5 minutes by bike.
Monday to Saturday: 9-12.30 and 3.30-7.30; Sunday: 9-11.45
In ST. MARTIN the indoor market (mornings) and grocery store are just down the road from the cottage.
Store opening times:
Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri: 9.00-1.00 and 4.30-7.30; Wed-Sat-Sun: 9.00-1.00
There are several other large supermarkets on the outskirts of St. Martin.
Each village also has a market, usually daily, selling a wide choice of delicious French fare.
When do you start taking bookings for next year?
If you are keen to stay with us during the peak summer months – and we hope you are! – it is advisable to book as early as you can.