La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa****

Visit Ile de Re

The first French island to be awarded “Villes et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire” status for its patrimony by France’s Ministry of Culture, Île de Ré has a rich cultural heritage and unique vistas at every turn.

« Dans l'île de Ré, Ma belle adorée, Je t'emmènerai »

- Claude Nougaro, Ile de Ré

Le Phare des Baleines Lighthouse

Leave La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa**** in the early morning to enjoy the most popular site on Île de Ré before it gets too busy. Located in Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, the lighthouse’s imposing red lantern ( will guide you on your way, after which 257 steps await you. The 360° view from the top is magnificent: salt marshes and La Conche Beach as far as the eye can see, the Ars bell tower… If who want to find out more, we recommend a visit to the very educational museum located on the ground floor.

The ports

With two harbours around a central islet, the port of Saint-Martin is undoubtedly the most beautiful on the Île de Ré. There is also the port of La Flotte where the quaysides are lined with beautiful historic 18TH century houses. To the north of the island, the port of Ars delights visitors with its sheltered position at the end of the eponymous Fier d’Ars. If you’re out at sea you can easily spot it thanks to the black and white bell tower of Saint-Étienne Church, which serves as a daymark. On the quayside, you’ll find the Café du Commerce, which is not to be missed, where people meet for a coffee early in the morning or for an aperitif after the neighbouring market closes. The former station has become the gallery of a local painter.

Traditional villages

From the seaside atmosphere of La Couarde and Le Bois-Plage to the exclusive atmosphere of Les Portes-en-Ré at the northern end of the island. From the hamlet of La Rivière which is home to the studios of local artists (including that of Olivier Suire Verley) to the tranquillity of the Presqu’Île de Loix far from the madding crowd, not forgetting the discretion of Saint-Clément-des-Baleines… The ten villages make the most of their own particular charm and differences. But they all have narrow streets, white houses with the famous green shutters and colourful hollyhocks from the month of June… The best way to discover the Ïle de Ré is simply by wandering around at your leisure.

A protected natural environment

As the seasons go by, both in summer and in winter, the Île Ré reveals amazing scenery that changes with the play of the light. The vista is constantly renewed. Stroll along the beaches that edge the whole island, walk the footpaths and dykes that protect the island; cycle through fields, forests and vineyards; roam the salt marshes observing the precise actions of the ‘saulniers’ as they harvest the Île de Ré’s famous fleur de sel; inhale deeply the scent of the pine trees… Let your fancy take you, and the island’s natural environment invade your senses as you start to uncover some of its secrets.

The Île de Ré and its leading role in history

Although small, the Île de Ré, in the centre of the Charentais Strait, has played a major part in history.

The histories of the island and nearby La Rochelle are very closely linked. In the 17TH century, Louis XIII ordered the construction of Fort de la Prée ( to reassert his royal power in the face of the Protestant city, deemed to be too powerful and with strong ties to England. Built just opposite the mainland, on the outskirts of the village of La Flotte, the military building played a major role in the siege of La Rochelle, which resulted in Richelieu’s victory. During the Second World War, it was part of the Atlantic Wall established by the Germans. Traces remain to be seen to this day (such as the observation bunker). You can visit the recently renovated site and stroll along the ramparts from which the views are superb.

Before heading back to La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa****, stop off at the Abbaye des Châteliers, also located in La Flotte and classified as a historic monument. Today, the restored ruins of the nave and Gothic-style walls are all that remain of this 12th century Cistercian building. What was once one of the largest abbeys in south-west France has a certain poetry about it, with the beauty of white stones against the blue sky of the Île de Ré. A great place to visit at any time of year.

Your journey continues from the south of the island and is sure to take you through Saint-Martin-de-Ré. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the Vauban fortifications, the village and the famous fortress never cease to amaze visitors. The harbour, where yachts come to take refuge or make a stopover between the Atlantic islands, is the beating heart of the island’s capital. Leave the quayside and head for the islet where you’ll find pretty little shops, art galleries, cafés and high-end restaurants tucked away in the maze of narrow picturesque streets. Next, climb the narrow streets from the market hall or La Martinière, one of the three most famous ice-cream makers in France. Most importantly, don’t forget to look up at the beautiful cut stone facades… Behind the discreet wooden doors, you can just picture the magnificent mansions that testify to Saint-Martin’s rich trading past. Despite serious fire damage to the church, very fine ex-votos still remain to be seen. And from the top of the bell tower, the view of the fortifications is breathtaking. It is against this wonderful backdrop that La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa**** has the real privilege of welcoming you.