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The Ile de Re sandy beaches

The bigger sandy beaches can be found on the south coast of the island (Bois-Plage, La Couarde) whilst the harbours can be found on the north coast (Saint-Martin, La Flotte, Ars).

In the far north of the island, stretching from the Phare des Baleines lighthouse to the village of Les Portes, you will find the beautiful beach of La Conche des Baleines. At the very end of the Ile de Ré, close to the golf course and the "Banc du Bûcheron" sand bank, the famous beaches by the Trousse Chemise forest hold many charms.

The untamed coast of Sainte-Marie and Saint-Clément is less busy, but a great success with shell and crab hunting. 

Last but not least, Rivedoux is the only village to boast a harbour and 2 large sandy beaches which stretch from one side of the Ile de Ré bridge to the other, to the great satisfaction of kite surfers.

Enjoy your beach !


A different beach for each village of the Ile de Re

Fully deserving of a chapter all to themselves, the beaches are where you will probably spend a large part of your holiday.

The most beautiful beaches are mostly situated on the south and west coasts of the island, flanked by dunes and forests, they are better protected and more suitable for bathing than the north facing coast which is rocky and offers small coves. Basically, the best beaches stretch between Le Bois-Plage & La Couarde and from the Phare des Baleines, next to Saint-Clément, along the coast to Les Portes.


As you cross the Ile de Ré bridge, you get a first breathtaking look at the endless sandy beaches that Rivedoux has to offer, whether it be the south facing beach which overlooks La Rochelle and the Ile d’Aix, or the north facing beach opposite the Vendée coast. These wide strips of sand which stretch on the south side from the old embarkation site of the Ile de Ré ferry to the Chauveau point and on the other side as far as the port of Rivedoux are greatly appreciated by those who want to bathe, but also by windsurfers and kitesurfers who appear to literally fly across the surface of the water, like great winged creatures circling the bridge.

Sainte-Marie de Re

Notre-Dame beach is good for rock pool fishing, Montamer and La Salée beaches allow bathing at high tide while the beach at Les Grenettes is reputed for surfing (like le Lizay near Les Portes).

La Flotte & Saint-Martin de Re

The Arnérault beach at La Flotte and the Cible beach at Saint-Martin (also known as the Citadelle beach as it lies next to the fortified city) are family beaches and are quite similar – they are not far from the centre of each village and reveal pebbly and also muddy areas at low tide. In periods of very high tides, the strip of sand at La Flotte disappears completely as the water reaches the sea wall. On the plus side, both beaches are great for digging for molluscs and shellfish on foot at low tide.

Le Bois-Plage

The beaches here are very popular with family groups as certain amongst them are supervised and bathing is possible even at low tide. The Gollandières and Gros Jonc beaches offer various nautical sports.

La Couarde

The Pergola beach is very lively at nightfall as it hosts the nightclub of the same name and other bars. Windsurfers will appreciate the Charge-Neuve beach while all the beaches along the coast going towards Ars, parallel to the Chemin des Brardes are superbly sandy as far as Le Martray.


The beach at Loix has an exceptional view of Saint Martin and is never too crowded. Underfoot tends to become muddy which makes sea bathing more palatable at high tide.

Saint-Clement des Baleines

The Conche des Baleines beach is one of the best on the island, stretching for 3km from the lighthouse to Les Portes. Certain parts (Le Lizay and Le Petit Bec) are renowned for surfing, other parts offer naturists the possibility to strip off and the whole beach formed a backdrop for certain scenes of the famous film “The Longest Day”. Such is the attraction of this beach that many who live at the other end of the island will willingly make the 30km trek to stretch out on the sand here.

Les Portes en Re

This village offers a wide variety of beaches: La Patache is good for walking, Trousse Chemise is for strong swimmers who aren’t put off by the strong currents in the area, while le Lizay beach has clear waters and, along with Le Petit Bec, offers good surfing opportunities.

Our favorite beaches

The beaches on the Ile de Ré can mainly be found...

  • between Bois-Plage and La Couarde, from Les Grenettes to Le Martray,
  • between Saint-Clément and Les Portes (from la Conche to the Petit Bec),
  • at the end of the island towards Trousse-Chemise and la Patache.

We don’t intend to reproduce the information you can find in any tourist guide to the island. We have limited
our choice of best beaches to 5 places we like to go to, from South to North:


Go to Les Grenettes car park (which, by the way, is a surfer’s paradise), then take the path behind the dune for around 500m before crossing it using the first beach entrance you come to.


Not as many people as on the Gros Jonc or Gollandières beaches but the sand and waves are just as good.


Coming from La Couarde, take the Chemin des Brardes, which follows the dune parallel to the main road to Ars. When you get to the level of no. 73, take the path that leads to the beach. Not as many people as on the other beaches of La Couarde and the Bois Henri IV.


It’s on this long stretch of sand behind the forest and the dune, which runs from Saint-Clément (after the Baleines lighthouse) to Les Portes, that you’ll find the most beautiful beaches: La Conche, the Lizay beach (named after the forest right next to it) and the Petit Bec beach which is much loved by surfers.


For parents with small children, Gros Jonc (at Les Portes not Bois-Plage) has supervised activities for 3 to 12 year olds (
Starting at the beach at La Loge, where the Patache sailing club is, opposite the Ars water channel, you will find a succession of great sandy beaches where you can bathe in calm, transparent waters. When the tide comes in, bathers let themselves be carried away by the “Mao”, a strong current which runs along all these beaches. Ideal place for a family picnic in the shade of the forest of Trousse-Chemise.