Back to the Blog

You want to visit the Ile de Ré but you don’t know where to start? Thanks to this article, you will be directed to the most beautiful monuments of the Ile de Ré.

The Abbey of Notre-Dame-de-Ré, Les Châteliers

Monuments de l'Île-de-Ré - Abbaye des châteliers
Monuments de l’Île de Ré – Abbaye des châteliers – Photo: Elsa Girault

One of the first monuments to visit on the island is the Abbey of Notre-Dame-de-Ré Les Châteliers. Founded in the 12th century by Cistercian monks, the abbey of the Châteliers has been classified as a historic monument since 1990. This abbey, also called the Notre-Dame-de-Ré abbey, is an exceptional site which will seduce you in all seasons and with free access. . It experienced an attack by the English in 1294 and two partial destructions during the Hundred Years War in 1388 and 1462. Finally, it was largely destroyed during the Wars of Religion, in 1574, by the Huguenots. Today, only the ruins of the Gothic abbey church remain, which was the starting point for the production of wine and salt on the Ile de Ré. If you want to find out more about the life of a Cistercian abbey, you can go to the Platin ecomuseum in La Flotte to book a one-hour guided tour as well as a family game. The secret of the monks” lasting an hour and a half. For more information contact 05 46 09 61 39.

Address: Road, La Prée, 17630 La Flotte

For more information, please visit le site de l’Office du Tourisme.

The Fort de la Prée

Monuments de l'île de Ré - Fort de la Prée
Le Fort de la Prée

The famous Fort la Prée was built in 1625 with part of the ruins of the Abbaye des Châteliers. This stronghold was designed by the engineers Le Camus and Pierre de Conty d’Argenteur to face the Protestants of La Rochelle. In 1684, the military architect Vauban razed part of the outer fortifications to keep only the shape of the star. Abandoned for a long time, it was rearmed in 1793 before being decommissioned in 1934. In 1942, during the Second World War, the Fort became the “Berta” battery with the incorporation of two blockhouses used for observation and telecommunications. You can discover this fort on a free visit or on a guided tour. Prices and timetables are available on the monument’s website.

For more information, contact Fort La Prée, at or at

Adresse : Route de Rivedoux, 17630 La Flotte

The observatory towel bell of Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Le clocher observatoire de Saint Martin de Ré - Les monuments de l'île de Ré
Le clocher observatoire de Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Like all religious buildings, the observatory bell tower of Saint-Martin-de-Ré was partially destroyed several times during the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants and then completely rebuilt in the 18th century. By climbing the 117 steps of the bell tower, you can enjoy a magnificent view of Saint-Martin-de-Ré and the Cité Vauban. At night, the place becomes even more magical. Opening of the monument from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. In summer, access is possible until 11 p.m. depending on weather conditions. Address: 3 Place Eudes d’Aquitaine, 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré

For more information, please visit le site de l’Office du Tourisme.

The church tower of Ars-en-Ré

Le clocher d'Ars-en-Ré - les monuments de l'Île de Ré
Le clocher d’Ars-en-Ré

Go to Ars-en-Ré, a town listed by “The most beautiful villages in France”, to discover its emblematic bell tower attached to the Catholic church of Saint-Étienne. Recognizable by its black arrow, it serves as an identifiable fixed landmark for sailors. It is possible to visit the bell tower of Ars-en-Ré from Monday to Friday. The reservation will be made with the local guide, Philippe, on 07 67 50 88 16. The visit is limited to 6 people. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the northern canton of the Ile de Ré and its salt marshes.

Address: Place Carnot, 17590 Ars-en-Ré

For more information, please visit le site de l’Office du Tourisme.

The Phare des Baleines

Monuments de l'île de Ré - phare des baleines
Le phare de baleines – monument emblématique de l’Île de Ré

The Phare des Baleines, one of the highest lighthouses in France, is a must for anyone wishing to visit the Ile de Ré. Built in 1849, the lighthouse is 57 meters high with 257 steps, it offers a 360° view overlooking the sea and Saint-Clément-des-Baleines. For the record, we did not name the whale lighthouse at random. Indeed, in the past, many whales came to run aground in this precise place of the island. Today, the whale lighthouse does not allow you to see these splendid marine animals. However, the place is worth the detour just for the landscape and its historical richness! Moreover, you can also take a tour of the lighthouse museum which will reveal the fascinating history of lighthouses and their construction methods. A didactic exhibition made up of multimedia sequences, panels and objects that will enlighten young and old alike! Before or after climbing the lighthouse, you can enjoy ice cream, pancakes or homemade waffles, thanks to local traders such as La Martinière. In August, the place turns into a festival with the organization of Jazz Au Phare and the 2021 edition welcomed artists such as Véronique Sanson and Thomas Dutronc. To finalize the walk, what better than to go to the Conche des Baleines beach to sunbathe?

You can visit the Phare des Baleines on a self-guided tour and find prices and schedules on the monument’s website.

Address: 155 All. du Phare, 17590 Saint-Clément-des-Baleines

For more information, visit the Ile de Ré Tourist Office website: