The Roadtrippers I A peaceful haven right in the sand
06/06/2021de La Rédac' Huttopia
“It’s goodbye to one island and hello to another. This time, we head over the île de Ré bridge. The memories start coming back to me straight away – memories of all the summer holidays I spent here with my grandparents.”
“It was the island of golden days, the island of reunions with friends, the island of carefree summers and afternoons on the beach. For this ninth stop on our Huttopia road trip, we head to Sainte-Marie-de-Ré and the Côte Sauvage campsite.”
A No-Frills Campsite in the Sand Dunes
“We’ve arrived! Leslie and her team welcome us to their seaside campsite with cheerful smiles. We collect the keys to our tent which is just metres from the sea. Although we can’t reach the beach directly across the sand, we can hear it – it’s really close. In fact, we’re already on the beach. Our tent is set in the sand and the plant life around us is specific to the dunes. What an amazing place to be able to sleep in!
There’s no pool at this campsite, but we quickly realise that this might be one of its assets. There’s a simple and friendly feel to this site small enough to have a personal touch. With no frills, it encourages us to make the most of its greatest asset: the special location on the dunes.
It’s 4pm and the sun is high in the sky. We settle down on the bed for an impromptu nap, lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves.”
The Island of Bikes
“île de Ré is also the island of bikes We hire two at the reception and set off to explore Sainte-Marie and the surrounding area on two wheels. There’s no shortage of cycle paths on the island. If we wanted to, we could have cycled all the way round the island. It takes a whole day to visit the Phare des Baleines lighthouse from the campsite, with a lunch stop at one of the oyster shacks on the salt marsh.
We marvel at how pretty the alleyways of Sainte-Marie are; these narrow streets with white façades that perfectly set off the hollyhocks along the walls. There’s something very gentle and very neat about the scenery of île de Ré. Perhaps it comes from the uniformity of the white buildings that give it the nickname ‘Ré La Blanche’ (Ré the White).”
To round off what feels like the perfect day, we head to Saint-Martin for an ice cream on the harbour. La Martinière is the island’s go-to ice-cream shop. When I was younger, my grandparents always took us to the harbour at least once to lick on one of these sorbets or ice creams in unusual flavours.
With our cones topped with scoops of vanilla and pecan, speculoos and nougat, we enjoy the last orangey rays of the sun before they disappear behind the rooftops.”
Last Morning at the Campsite
“After 3 nights here, our stay is already drawing to an end. The time has gone by quickly but, at the same time, we haven’t seen it pass. Sometimes we even got that wonderful feeling that time has stood still. Settled comfortably in our Canadienne tent, right in the sand, we just let go and enjoyed the moment. It was only when the church bells of Sainte-Marie chimed the hours that we realised they had passed.
We’ll be back, that’s for sure, as this campsite has earned a special place in our hearts. It’s such a precious place for us that we almost don’t want to share it with the rest of the world. A place that has reminded us that you need to take care of what’s important, both in nature and in our lives. »