Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Mini-Getaway - Ile de Re - Perfect place for reflection

 A quiet getaway for a couple of days
Do you ever have the feeling that you need to get away from it all?  That you need a change of scenery? Some fresh air? Some quiet time?  That's how I felt earlier last week - personal events (which I can't detail too much now-but they were and continue to be stressful) of the last few months had fatigued me and it was time to find a bit of sanctuary. So when a French friend of mine offered a few days on Ile de Re where she and I could relax, rejuvenate and take in the Ocean breezes, it was a tempting offer and one that I felt would be good for me.  Since the girls were spending this second week of vacation with their father, I had some free time.  So off I went.
I share this post as Ile de Re is fast becoming a very special place for me and it's only a mere 2 hours from Bordeaux. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will remember I spent a week on this stunning island last summer where we biked and enjoyed many of the islands natural offerings. This time, we were staying closer to the bridge side of the island in Sainte Marie, a village I didn't explore during my last trip.   We arrived at the end of the day on Wednesday and took our first walk to the ocean as it was almost dark.  Just breathing the crisp salt air relaxed my soul and I knew I had come to the perfect place to just get away from it all for a few days.

The next day we took a two hour walk along the beach near Sainte Maire - on the Southwestern side of the island - the beach goes on for miles and one can just walk, relax and breath.  It was great exercise and at the same time relaxing for the soul.  I could feel my shoulders soften back into my body - and the stress of the last few months blow away with the wind.
 After our walk and late lunch on the beach, we returned to the house where we just rested for a bit, before jumping on bikes to explore the village of Sainte Mairie.  Due to it being rather chilly on this February day, we returned back and then headed out by car to Le Bois Plage to see the sunset and then take an evening stroll in one of the most beautiful quaint villages, I've ever seen - Saint Martin en Re.  I have to say the beauty of this island - takes my breath away.  Having visited it last summer and returning in the Winter - I marveled at how different the island was but still so charming and natural.
The nice thing about doing a getaway was that we had no agenda, we returned to the house, ate dinner and then relaxed before turning in.  It was nice to be able to sleep in and just wake up when my body awoke.  A real vacation!!  A great way to catch up on needed rest - no plans - no appointments just doing whatever so moved us.
The path from LaFlotte toward St. Martin
 On our final day there, Friday - we drove to La Flotte, another beautiful village and then walked along the Northern coastline toward Saint Martin.  Again, these walks are beautiful, refreshing and serve as great inspiration for the soul.  I hope you can see from the photos that there is a certain peace, tranquility, beauty that is part of this island. Especially this time of year where there are only a few tourists but as there are year round people on the island, some stores, shops and restaurants are still open.

Our walk brought us back to the port village of La Flotte where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a creperie along the sea.  
I marveled at the fact that at the end of February there were daffodils in bloom.  The first signs of Spring-signs of the rebirth of a new year, new life and new growth.  Just thinking about that refreshed my mind and gave me new found energy.  (Yes, I'm sure there are daffodils in Bordeaux blooming also - but seeing them there on the island in my state of rejuvenating my soul just spoke to me).

Our final journey before leaving for the day and driving back to our respective cities was to visit the Abbey Notre Dame - founded in the 12th Century by a group of monks.  This building has suffered much damage throughout history and has been rebuilt several times - the Gothic remains stand today as testimonial to how important religion was on this island during history. Ruins of this building were also used to build defensive forts on this island during 17th century. 
I am not a religious person but more a spiritual one and find peace and solace in places of worship.  For me those sanctuaries provide places of reflection, calm and refuge, so to see these ruins magnificently dominate the countryside was a beautiful sight allowing more reflection upon history and how past events shape the future.
So Ile de Re is a beautiful island with charming villages, sandy beaches and never-ending pathways just offering up it's natural beauty for all to behold and enjoy. There is definitely something about the air, the ocean breezes and the wild untamed coastline which make it for a perfect getaway - if by yourself, with friends or even as a family!  It's just that kind of place!

If you haven't already read my previous posts about Ile de Re - They are found through the following links:
Ile-de-re-part-i-loix-salt-of-island
More-ile-de-re-biking-quaint-village-of Ars en Re
Sunset-at-le-phare-des-baleines
Ile-de-re-exploring-town-of-saint Martin en Re
Lou Messugo

16 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer, your get-away sounds wonderful. We all need those! From reading this post, I can tell I have missed a chapter or two...hope you are well and happy xo Meredith

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    1. Great to here from you Meredith. Happy Spring to you!

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  2. I would love to go there some day. Living in the middle of the United States, any ocean pictures enthrall me, but there is just something special about the French coastlines that I love (I am a high school French teacher). I'm glad you had the chance to relax and enjoy your mini-vacation. Merci for sharing your experiences.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments. It's definitely a place worth visiting. As a French teacher, I'm sure you read a lot about France and it's culture. Hopefully you will get to visit this island one day - it's definitely a totally different side to France. Let me know if I can be of any assitance if you have specific questions for your students.

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  3. We went there when we first moved to France. Unfortunately it was still too cold to really enjoy the cost (it was May!) but we still had such a good time. My husband really wants to go back. It's wonderful going on vacation with no agenda and just soaking it all in. PS I found you via #allaboutfrance

    http://www.lilliansmall.com/2013/05/camping-in-la-rochelle-la-baule/

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    1. Thank you for commenting - always nice to hear from readers. I love this island - yes, we will go back too! I can't believe it's only 2 hours from us - so close and so different from Bordeaux. Thanks for reading and commenting - PS - I love #allaboutfrance. A great link up to read about so many fun places!

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  4. Love Ile de Re! It's not too far from where I live and is a beautiful place to discover. We stayed in La Rochelle the night before and then explored the island the day after. Can't wait to go back! #allaboutfrance

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    1. Thank you for your comment. That's one of the things that I love about the island - easily accessible from La Rochelle. So close but yet so different! Enjoy it when you return!

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  5. I love Ile de Re too. We are about an hour and a half away and often drive to La Rochelle, leave the car and cycle over the bridge. Although it can be busy, it is a great place to spend the day on the bikes. I'm glad you were able to get some relaxing time. #AllAboutFrance

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  6. Gosh your photos are beautiful, such different light from the summer ones. I'm another île de Ré fan though as you know it's pretty far from me and I've only been once. I seems like you got the rest and rejuvenation you needed. Thanks for linking to #allaboutfrance, good to have you back!

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  7. Wow it looks lovely and relaxing, I've never been but I could see myself there cycling. I will read some of your other posts too and enjoy the wanderlust! I've dropped by from #Allaboutfrance

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    1. Thanks for commenting - yes - It really is the perfect place to cycle. In fact, when we were there last summer - cycling was our main mode of transportation for the week. I was so impressed by the miles of bike paths along the coast and through the villages. Thanks for dropping by via #allaboutfrance - Hope you come back again soon.

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  8. What stunning photos, looks like you were lucky with some great weather. I would love to visit the Abbey, it looks romantic!

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    1. Thank you Kara for stopping by - yes - we did get lucky with the sunshine - It was still a bit cold but so, so lovely!! I loved the Abbey also - romantic, serence and really neat ruins! Hope you stop by again soon. Always love hearing from readers.

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  9. I don't remember much about our visit to Ile de Re other than the beautiful coastline - possibly means it is time to return!

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    1. It's funny how this beautiful wild coastline just sticks in our memories....It's definitely becomming my "happy spot" in my head! I just have this idea that we will going back soon!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting - always so nice to hear from readers.

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