Gorgeous double room in a newly renovated house in the heart of la Flotte, with its own private ensuite bathroom and double doors to the walled garden. The garden has an outdoor heated swimming pool, terrace and lawn; with sun loungers and a BBQ. The theme of the house is relaxation, peace and comfort. The house is perfectly situated in the heart of the village by the church, yet it is in a quiet cul-de-sac. The market, shops, seafront and harbour are all only a few minutes' walk.
The house has 4 double rooms for clients, if this one is full, try another. It is situated close to the church and behind the village primary school, so both the church bells and the children playing can occasionally be heard, other than that, the house and gardens are incredibly peaceful. We have tried to think of everything to ensure your stay is lovely, but are very happy to help if you can think anything further you need to make it better. Please ask and we will always try to say ‘yes’.
You will be sharing the house with the Charlie, the cheerful cocker spaniel and Ho Chi Meow the beautiful Burmese cat. They are both very gentle and polite and will take as many cuddles as you can give, or just ignore them and they will probably ignore you, whichever way you like.
We have decided to say no to other animals and children, so the house and gardens remain tranquil and relaxed. The only other rule we have is please be respectful.
Guests are very welcome to use the garden, pool and BBQ and from July onwards there will be a utility room for guests where they can use the shared fridge and make sandwiches, teas, coffees etc.
Since the house is in the heart of la Flotte, parking can be difficult. We would recommend you unload your car, then drive to a free parking which is 7 minutes walk from the house. If you like you can leave your car there for your stay. We will happily give you directions when you are here. If you have mobility issues we can give you our space in front of the house.
The seafront is just a 5 minutes’ walk from the house and the local beach is about a 15 minutes’ walk through the village. One can hire bikes and cycle on cycle paths through fields, woods and vineyards, across the island to the large beaches by St Marie and Le Bois Plage. On low tide, they have rock pools and one can collect shell fish. It takes 30 minutes’ to cycle across the island. If you want to get in your car you can drive to the northern beaches, which just huge, lovely and sand. There are so many beaches on the island, that even in peak season you can find a fairly empty spot somewhere. We will be happy to provide you with maps and more information on other options – just ask.
Kite surfing, surfing, windsurfing (yes – surfing here is generally liked and fun to watch, even if you don’t want to try!) and sailing are all popular on the island and there are several options for hiring equipment and/or taking lessons; again, just ask and we can provide information or make bookings for you.
The island is famous for its cycle paths and you can cycle round and across the island all on cycle routes, so you barely have to touch a road. One can cycle along the sea; through the marshes, woods, vineyards and fields. There are many villages within a half an hour to an hour`s cycle of the house and many further if you are more energetic (or get an electric bike, these are fairly popular here). In la Flotte there are 4 places to hire bikes. We can tell you our favorite if you like. If you bring your own bikes, you are welcome to store them in our garage.
Since the island is popular for cycling, there are many fabulous walks which, even in peak season, one can take and meet no one. Charlie (my cocker spaniel) and I love walking in the woods, they are sandy, so (unsurprisingly) not as mucky as mud, but the added advantage of sand is, it is really difficult to cycle in, so you can walk without bumping into a bicycle.
From the house one can head left along the sea front and there is a walking path (no bikes allowed, but this is France, so there may be some!) which takes you about 3km to St Martin. In the other direction one walks through the village, then past the beach and onwards, again along a walking path which hugs Ile de Ré’s version of cliffs (i.e. not very high) and one can walk to the ruined Abby and onwards all the way to Rivedoux, then take a bus back, or if you still have energy, you can walk back through the woods, but this is about a 15km round trip.
If this sounds too energetic, just wandering around the tiny lanes of La Flotte is really quite a lovely way to spend time. It is fairly easy to get lost since all the houses are white or stone and many look similar (very pretty) , but if you ask anyone where the church is you will always find your way back to us, and it really not very big.
As with everything we are happy to give you more details on walks when you are here and tailor them to your mood.
Eating and Drinking
This section is my favorite and hence the largest! I will start by saying the village has a fabulous butcher (our next door neighbour), cheese shop, fishmonger (live lobsters in tanks), 3 bakers, 2 wine shops (again a next door neighbour) and in the port a highly recommended oyster vendor. We bought the house from them. You can see their oyster beds if you walk along the sea front. This is on top of the range of fishmongers, oyster sellers, local wine producers, meats, cheese, homemade meals to take away, herbs, salt and so on, you can find in the daily market.
One can buy food in the morning and then picnic on the beach, or you are very welcome to buy and eat in the garden. There is a table which seats 10 and we can provide you with plates, cutlery etc. You are also free to use the BBQ and then just lounge by the pool with a glass or two of something nice. I can put things in the fridge to keep cool. From June onwards there will be a utility room for guests use, which will have its own fridge, sink, tea and coffee making facilities. Great for preparing sandwiches and bits for the BBQ.
If that sounds like too much effort, then there are many cafes and restaurants in the village, ranging from ice cream to oysters; you can sit and watch the world go by. We enjoy recommending our favorites, whether you would like a casual moules frites lunch, or a special meal out. The best restaurant on the island (as voted by trip adviser) is in the harbour. The sushi restaurant is my personal favorite. He buys all the fish daily from the local village fishmongers. There is also a fabulous steak restaurant by the harbour. They careful source the meat and are hugely knowledgeable on the subject and proud of the quality.
There are several more we could recommend depending on what you feel like. In season reservations are recommended, again we are happy to do this for you – just ask.
If you are a lover of seafood, I would recommend a walk along the seafront to where the oysters are harvested. Within about 20 minutes you will find two ‘cabines’. These are basically oyster farmers who started by putting a couple of tables outside and serving their oysters with wine and bread. Since then, they have expanded the menu slightly and become a little more comfortable, but the idea is the same. The places are basic, but the seafood fabulous and fresh and a fraction of the price of the Parisian equivalents (having lived there for a year, take my word that they are just as tasty and probably much fresher). As a side note, if you don’t like seafood, maybe don’t go, since they do what they are good at – seafood, and not much else, but this is also what makes them great. There are others like this on the island and as always we are happy to recommend my favorites if you want to go further afield.
I could keep going for pages, but here I will stop writing on the subject, however I am happy to talk further when you get here.
There are lots, but no shopping malls in sight.
Visiting Out of Season
I love the winter here; the cycle paths and beaches are empty. It can be wonderful to walk for miles on a deserted beach, maybe seeing the odd dog walker or horse rider. Wrap up, it can be chilly, but being by the sea with the fresh air blows all the cobwebs away. When there is a bright morning we love to take a flask of coffee, fresh croissants and a blanket to the beach for a breakfast by the sea. We will happily pack a breakfast for you if this appeals.
There will still be a few cafes and restaurants, many with fires that you can tuck into to warm up with coffee, van chaud or a hot toddy. Out of season many of the villages in Ile de Ré close almost completely; la Flotte does not, but it definitely slows and reduces. The la Flotte market is still open every day, but it is greatly reduced. In the village the mre touristy shops close, but the food and wine shops are still all open. 20 minutes by bike, or 10minutes drive if the weather is not great, is Saint Martin. It is about twice the size of la Flotte and so has some more open all year round.
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라플로트, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, 프랑스