Il De Re – Wheelchair Travel on a French Atlantic Coast Island

June 4, 2015 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

Ile De Re is all about beautiful sun bleached villages with green and grey shutters, donkeys in pyjamas (yes really) and flat, flat, flat, smooth surfaced car free cycle paths, lots of them criss crossing the island going from one flowery village to another with beautiful, salty, marshy, wilderness in between and fresh Oyster bars along the way.

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La Couarde Sur La Mer

Camping La Tour des Prises

This campsite is in the perfect location for access to some of the most beautiful car free cycle paths/wheelchair walks and I would definately return. It is in delightful countryside that is wheelchair accessible and located a short distance from several charming villages.  La Couarde Sur La Mer (1.5k) is an easy cycle ride or wheelchair walk away and also nearby Loix. The campsite is flat, there is wheelchair access to the reception area. The wheelchair accessible shower and toilet is spacious and clean. Lots of trees so enough shade on the pitches. There is a heated indoor pool with a ramp for access, (although there is a step down and up through the little ankle deep pool where you are supposed to shower) there is also a small ledge to step over to enter the covered pool area. Wifi is available throughout the site. The staff were friendly and helpful too.

La Couarde Sur La Mer Village and Accessible Beach

A beautiful village with cafes, food shops, cycle hire etc and even a Carrefour supermarket and a theatre/cinema. The beaches are lovely and I found that Peu Ragot beach has a concrete ramp onto the beach. At low tide we found the sand to be firm enough to take the wheelchair bike for a roll on the beach, I think it would have been fine with the wheelchair too, at least to get onto the beach and get near the Sea.

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There is a wheelchair accessible toilet at the beach entrance with a green roof!

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Handisport were having a 2 day cycling event with 80 people of different abilities participating in a race around the Island. There were blind people riding tandems, different handbikes, trikes, wheelchair bikes etc. Ile De Re is the perfect place for it!

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The cycle path from our campsite to Loix was such a beautiful ride!

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loix, il de re, cycle path, car free, wheelchair, travel, handicap, holidayOyster beds, quaint village port, wildflowers, wildfowl and beautiful marshy sea views followed by fruity french tarts (Place des Delices) in another flowery village.

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Saint Martin De Re

Wheelchair biking from our campsite to Saint Martin on the beautiful piste cyclable along the coast of Il De Re. We passed oyster bars with amazing views of the sea. Saint Martin is the capital of the Island and is set around a marina. It’s much busier than the other villages with many places to eat out. There are cobbles, don’t worry they are not the worst kind (its totally doable), I found the other villages smoother for getting around though.

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Arriving just before the Saint Martin market closed, we bought some food and took a picnic to the park to hang out near the donkeys in pyjamas. A local artist who we met in La Couarde told us about the donkeys carrying heavy loads of oysters and salt through the marshes in the past. He said the special culottes were made to stop the mosquitoes biting their legs.

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More Il De Re Wheelchair Travel Info…

Wheelchair Bike Hire

I took my own bike but you can rent a wheelchair bike (velo pousseur) from La Maison des Velocipedes, 14 Quai de Bernonvile, Saint Martin De Re.  Rental is 35 Euros per day. You should book in advance as they only have one. Tel. +33 5 16 19 14 94.

This map is free at tourist information and cycle shops or available to download.


Wheelchair Bike Rides

The more peaceful & idyllic routes (totally away from main roads) are between Saint Martin and La Couarde on the coast, then onto Loix, Ars En Re and Phare Des Baleines. The forest path between Phare Des Baleines and Les Portes En Re is beautiful, the main road is nearby on some on some of it so you get some traffic noise. On the way back you can ride peacefully through the oyster beds. The paths on the right side of the island are still car free but many are nearby the main roads.

Wheelchair Walks

People are walking on the cycle paths too, with over 100k of smooth surfaced flat paths its perfect for a roll and stroll.

La Flotte

We also visited La Flotte which is a very pretty village with many places to eat overlooking the harbour or the sea. We had crepes and then enjoyed a wheelchair walk along coast.

Il De Re Accessible Beaches

La Flotte tourist information advised me that you can hire a beach wheelchair from La Flotte town hall for use on the beach.

We didn’t visit Le Bois Plage en Re but looks like  Plage Des Gollandieres has great access with ramp, walkway and wheelchair bathing chairs (tiralos)

Rivedoux Plage is very well set up for wheelchair users with ramp access, beach and bathing wheelchairs, for more info see—rivedoux-plage