• Elevation gain 115m Max 2.7%
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

This short cycle route gives a superb taste of all that is great about the Ile de Ré. It starts with the outrageously pretty ports of La Flotte and St Martin de Ré, where whitewashed buildings with pan tile roofs and perfectly faded blue/green shutters surround marinas full of sparkling yachts.  The route winds its way north along quiet lanes and cyclepaths, past oyster beds and salt flats to the charming town of Loix. The journey home through the interior of the island, is on fast straight cycle paths that pass between vines and (if you’re there in May/June) fields of poppies.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights

We love the cyclepaths that meander through the salt beds between Saint Martin de Ré and Loix. You have the calm sea and oyster beds to your right, in front is the bay that curves around to Loix and on your left are the rectangular salt beds whose calm surfaces reflect the clouds above. The paths are traffic free and the hedgerows are full of life.

the cyclepath between sea and salt beds near Loix Beautiful cycle path between sea and salt beds near Loix
Views along bike path heading north from Saint Martin de ReViews from the bike path north from Saint Martin de Ré
Long reflections in the salt beds near LoixCycle paths between salt beds near Loix

Route notes

1. La Flotte to Saint Martin: 0-4.5km

You leave La Flotte’s pretty marina behind you and head out of town on a path that follows the main road. Corn fields stretch towards the sea. 3 km later you pass over two UNESCO protected stone bridges that span the dry moat surrounding Saint Martin. Saint Martin’s picture postcard marina is a treat and, if it wasn’t so early on in the ride, a good place for a coffee.

2. Saint Martin to Loix: 4.5-14km

A flat, meandering path follows the coast north. With vineyards and oyster cabins to your left and views out to sea to your right, it’s a lovely route. As you approach Loix, the scenery becomes even more watery as the path follows a raised embankment between salt flats and sea. It’s a unique experience to weave between the two.

3. Loix to La Flotte: 14-30km

(Generally) straight, fast paths take you back to La Flotte, through the island’s pretty interior. You’ll pass vineyards, poppy fields and the odd windmill.

Early morning La Flotte harbourEarly morning at La Flotte marina
Bike path map through salt beds of Ile de RéAn unusual looking bike path map
A field of red poppies on the Ile de RéWonderful poppy fields in May

Cafe stops

There are no shortage of places to stop.

  • Saint Martin de Ré and La Flotte are the two largest towns on the island, both with lots of restaurants and cafes clustered around the port. They get very busy and it can be tricky finding a place to park your bike. Take a look at our restaurant recommendations.
  • Another option is Loix. We had an amazing pain au chocolat at the Places des Delices boulangerie and cafe on the Place de Marche: a buttery, flakey delight with warm chocolate in the centre!
  • There are lots of rustic places to try oysters along the cycle route between Saint Martin de Ré and Loix (for example Cabanajam or Re Ostrea). If you’re an oyster fan, you won’t get oysters fresher than this.

Accommodation

This ride starts in La Flotte, which is where we stayed. The villa we rented in La Flotte is listed below, together with our two other shortlist favourites in La Flotte:

La Flotte, 4 bedrooms

  • Bright and airy with shabby chic style interiors
  • 9×3.5m heated pool with automatic cover
  • Outside eating and lounging areas
  • 500m to shops, 800m to La Flotte, 1km to beach

Not right for you?

Tips

Read our tips for planning a bike holiday before you set out.

Click here for our complete guide to planning a holiday on the Ile de Ré.

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

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