“Cycling is the island’s international sport”, the Huttopia Chardons Bleus website declares. You can see their point. With over 100km of family-friendly cycle paths covering Île de Ré, it’s certainly the main way to get from campsite to patisserie to market to museum to beach and back again. Maybe stopping at a café along the way. Although, when you consider the miles of sandy coastline, dotted with summer swimmers and children in armbands, it seems there are plenty of water sports trying to claim that title too. Surfers, sailors and sand castle makers, it’s all about the seaside here.
A kilometre inland, spread across a vast 12-acre tract of light pine woodland, Huttopia Chardons Bleus is one of the island’s most central places to stay. With over 200 pitches – some of them occupied by pre-pitched safari tents and wooden chalets – this is no camping minnow. Facilities are plentiful – there are two new washroom blocks, a playground, boules pitches and a reception building with a small shop and free Wi-Fi – while, in 2017, they even added an outdoor swimming pool. Presumably it's there in case you need to cool off again after cycling back from the sea.
Despite its size, the pines, shrubs and foliage help break up the campsite and give it a deceptively smaller feel. Every pitch has some shade – much needed since the island can boast as many sunshine hours as the Côte d’Azur. The nearby villages of Sainte-Marie-de-Ré and Flotte-en-Ré offer plenty of places to eat if you fancy branching out from the campsite’s own restaurant and bar. Sainte-Marie-de-Ré also has an excellent daily market where you can pick up the islands famous ‘white gold’ (sea salt), along with oysters, potatoes and other Île de Ré specialities.
The nearest beach takes about 10 minutes to reach by bike (the campsite has some for hire if you haven’t brought your own), though, for a bit of culture the 20-minute ride to the Vauban fortifications of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a must. Now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 17th century citadel here was designed to accommodate the entire island population plus, of course, their cattle, and the sturdy walls, moats and drawbridges are quite a sight. Don’t worry, the town also has a beach too – Plage de la Cible – so your cycling can still be complimented with some added water sports.
The campsite owner says
Nestled between Sainte-Marie-de-Ré and Flotte-en-Ré, the Huttopia Chardons Bleus – Ile de Ré campsite is located in the heart of a magnificent pine forest, 10 minutes by bike from the ocean. Enjoy an invigorating stay between ocean, vineyards and forests and set out to discover this little haven of paradise on the Atlantic ocean. Put on your sailor’s top and breath in the sea air: you are on holiday!
At Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, Notre Dame beach is recommended for shellfish gathering, the beaches of Montamer and La Salee allow you to swim when the tide is in, and Grenettes beach is recommended for surfing. Fancy swimming in fresh water? Children and adults will all love the new swimming pool and paddling pool at the campsite, designed in harmony with the natural spirit of the site. There is also a great new playground for your children to enjoy along with installation of brand new washrooms and a more pleasant reception area where you can ask for good tourism advice.
With markets, horse riding, cycling, hiking, and of course the Atlantic Ocean and beaches all on the doorstep of Huttopia Chardons Bleus, everything is accessible for a great stay on Île de Ré. On a pitch in the shade of the pine trees, in a wood and canvas safari tent, a wood trailer or a chalet, everyone can camp the way they like best for a truly personalized holiday in France.
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