Referenced among the most beautiful villages of France, Ars-en-Ré takes place in Charente-Maritime, in region New-Aquitaine. Located at the eastern end of the island of Ré, it is part of the arrondissement of La Rochelle, and has been registered with the Villages of stones and water, label organized by the General Council.
With a direct view of the Atlantic Ocean, the commune of Ars-en-Ré is today mainly focused on seaside and natural tourism. Born in the eleventh century of the salt marshes, it knew a very important port during the time of the salt, until the twentieth century. Even today, about sixty people exploit this salt production.
Visitors to the island appreciate the quietness of Ars-en-Ré, as well as its exceptional architectural heritage, which has earned it the status of one of the most beautiful villages in the country. Calm in normal times, the island community is experiencing a greater animation as of the arrival of the summer period. The local gastronomy also attracts many visitors eager to discover the pineau, the potatoes or the fleur de sel.
The church of Saint-Etienne is recognizable by all thanks to its bell tower with painted black and white and its height of more than 40 meters. The latter used to serve as a landmark for navigators arriving at the port of Ars-en-Ré.
Walking through the village, you can also admire the house of the Sénéchal, a building built in the course of the 16th century, which reveals several medieval elements like watchtowers. Part of the Historic Monuments, the salt refinery recalls the main economic activity of Ars-en-Ré until the 20th century, while the port, entirely refurbished, hosts very pleasant terraces of coffee.
You will also be able to discover the old railway station of the little train of Re, on the port, which dates from the end of the XIXe century, or the remains of windmills now serving as private residences.
The natural heritage of Ars-en-Ré is of great interest, as with the Martray, the narrowest place of the whole island, or the salt marshes and the Fier d'Ars, a bay of 800 hectares to discover the time of Marked hikes. Not far away, oyster farms allow to taste the famous oysters of the island of Ré and their production.
The more sporty will take the direction of the point of Grignon to discover one of the best spots of surf of the island of Ré. To enjoy the sun and the ocean, head for La Grange beach. It is possible to bathe and exercise some nautical activities.
The weekly market is held on Tuesdays and Fridays morning. In the summer period, between June and September, there is a market every morning of the week.
In May, Ars-en-Ré hosts a pleasant flower market with sales and exhibitions of plants.
The port and sardine festival is held every year at the end of June. On the program, boat excursions and tasting stands for marine products.
Very animated, the festival of Saint-Jean is held with its ball at the beginning of July. A flea market and a garage sale are also offered.
In July and August, demonstrations of dances and songs are offered in the village.