Visiting Ile de Re from a cruise ship was one of the highlights from my recent trip with Princess Cruises.
Our second stop aboard the Sky Princess was La Rochelle and there was the option to take a shore excursion to Ile de Re. It was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t miss as I’d wanted to see Ile de Re for years!
Ile de Re is an 18-mile long island off the coast of western France. It’s known for its beaches and for being a popular holiday spot for Parisians, so it has a very elegant and luxurious feel!
I took the opportunity to visit while I could and jumped on the excursion!
This was a 4.5 hour tour and cost $89.95 per person.
A coach picked us up from the ship where our guide was waiting and filled us in with interesting facts about Ile de Re during the journey.
We crossed the famous Pont de l’île de Ré, a beautiful bridge connecting Ile de Re to mainland France.
Intriguing (and frustratingly for locals!) it costs €16 for a return journey across the bridge. In contrast, return flights from London to La Rochelle cost a similar amount!
After crossing the bridge we disembarked at Saint-Martin-de-Ré where the tour really began.
Our guide led us along the beautiful cobbled streets, along winding roads and to the prettiest spots.
Apparently Ile de Re is known for selling oyster ice cream and potato flavored ice cream. I can’t say I was brave enough to try either but a few people from the coach did! Unsurprisingly, they said both flavors were disgusting so I was glad I stuck with salted caramel!
We had about half an hour with our tour guide before having some free time to explore Saint-Martin-de-Ré alone.
This isn’t the kind of place where you need a list of ‘must-see’ attractions. I felt that the hidden side streets with wonky houses that look like they could topple over at any moment were the main attraction. Even simple little houses looked beautiful with whitewashed walls and window boxes spilling bright flowers that tumble out and reach for the sunshine. Pretty roses climb up the walls and fill the streets with their delicate scent and the cobbled streets just keep winding around to more and more pretty streets.
After our free time we were back on the bus and ready for our second stop of the tour.
We headed to the northern part of Ile de Ré to Ars-en-Re, a picture-perfect village renowned for being one of the most beautiful villages of France. It’s an official title and it’s something only 154 French villages can lay claim to!
We didn’t have as much time in Ars-en-Re so it was a quick stroll before hopping back on the bus and enjoying another beautiful journey home. I mean…back to the ship! That’s something I noticed everyone did a lot, we quickly referred to the ship as home!
The Sky Princess quickly came to feel like home and there was a reassuring familiarity when we returned to it.
If you’d like more information about the excursion I took, here’s the Ile de Re excursion with Princess Cruises
This is the exact cruise I did, just departing in 2023
Here are all the Princess Cruises on the Sky Princess departing from the UK next year
Here’s the Sky Princess homepage to find everything you need to know.