A break from the typical Normandy, Brittany, and Loire touring
During a recent tour of the Normandy and Brittany area of France, Lake Shore Travel advisor, Suzan von Lengerke had the pleasure of staying in St. Martin de Re, a great find on the west coast of France, south of Brittany, a place the French people go to get some sun, fun, and oysters. St. Martin de Re is a cross between St. Barths and Provence with miles and miles of bike paths, lots of ramparts to wander along, beaches to sunbathe, and overall, just a great spot to break up a sightseeing trip of Normandy, Brittany and the Loire, it is off the beaten path.
Where to Stay
The town has two Relais Chateaux properties with charm and eye appeal. Le Toiras, right on the harbor and in the thick of things and Villa Clarisse, a few blocks up from the harbor with a quiet garden, a pool, and an open feel.
What to DoÂ
Great shopping, small stores selling local products including Ile de Re salt, salted caramels, honeys and jams, as well as local wines. Also boutique clothing stores with espadrilles and French country fashion.
Nature lovers will enjoy a trip to the natural bird reserve for bird watching and activities. Or take a fishing trip, with a skipper and sailor, and catch sea-breams and sea-bass.
Or, take a trip to where they harvest and produce local sea salt.
Where to Eat
Along the paths leading out from the town where most people peddle their bikes are oyster and mussel casual restaurants called Cabanas. Local tradition is to bike out at lunchtime, sit at a picnic table and enjoy the freshest seafood. Stop in at Cabana Jam for a taste.
For dinner, restaurants specializing in local seafood are all around the harbor. Le Tout du Cru, Les Embruns, a gastronomic restaurant, and Belem Bleu were among our favorites.