Ré, its luminous light, its blue sky, the sunshine...

And its rich and glittering historic and architectural past!

 

Here life first appeared in the Middle Paleolithic period, and the turbulent past and various invasions allowed the edification of a particularly prestigious heritage.

Discover the ten welcoming and typical villages of the island bearing witness to its history!

 

"No, tanning is not the only thing to do on Ré! And that's what I like. In the streets, the squares of the villages, there are impressive signs of the past everywhere! So many delights to discover!"


Vauban’s fortifications at Saint-Martin-de-Ré inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

 

At the end of the 17th century, the threat of English and Dutch maritime powers compelled Louis XIV to entrust the defence of Île de Ré to his greatest engineer: Vauban, the commissioner general of the kingdom’s fortifications.

He had to face several challenges: defend the new naval port of Rochefort and the commercial port of La Rochelle, keep a watch on the local Protestant population and protect the “white gold”, the salt of Île de Ré. So, since 1681, Saint-Martin had become a fantastic fortified camp that accommodated 16,000 islanders in the event of enemy landings.

The urban surrounding wall of the city is exceptionally huge: it is an immense stone star of more than 14km of forti cation. A citadel, converted into a prison in the 19th century, was also built to the north-east to accommodate a garrison of 1,500 men.  This fortification, wonderfully preserved in its non-urbanised glacis case, is one of the 160 fortresses built or renovated by Vauban during his   y years’ career at the service of the kingdom. In 1925 this building was listed as a historic monument, and important restoration works are therefore carried out every year. 

The ramparts of Saint-Martin-de-Ré together with the eleven partners of the Réseau des Sites Majeurs de Vauban (Network of Major Sites of Vauban) are now inscribed on the prestigious World Heritage List as an exceptional and universal cultural site.

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