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Circuit Vauban

Touring cyclist ,  Historic at La Flotte

36.6 km
Touring cyclist
5h
Medium
  • Discover Vauban fortifications in Île de Ré all along a recreational and sporting circuit!

    The most striking events of the history of Île de Ré took place in the 12th century with the conflicts not only between Catholics and Protestants, but also between England and France. We should go back to 1625 when, under the reign of Louis XIII, the Protestants took possession of the island. Two years later, in 1627, Cardinal de Richelieu, an intransigent Catholic, decided to lay siege to La Rochelle with the support of the King of England. Duke of Buckingham therefore settled in Île de Ré but the island did not intend to remain passive…
  • Difference in height
    103.34 m
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Points of interest
1 Departure
The most striking events of the history of Île de Ré took place in the 12th century with the conflicts not only between Catholics and Protestants, but also between England and France. We should go back to 1625 when, under the reign of Louis XIII, the Protestants took possession of the island. Two years later, in 1627, Cardinal de Richelieu, an intransigent Catholic, decided to lay siege to La Rochelle with the support of the King of England. Duke of Buckingham therefore settled in Île de Ré but the island did not intend to remain passive… The first fortification built by Vauban is La Redoute de Rivedoux and you can view a few vestiges in front of you. The tour also provides the opportunity to discover places to visit. However, some may be closed depending on the periods, opening dates and times.
3 Head to Saint-Martin de Ré
Louis XIV and Vauban carried on the defense of Île de Ré. In 1681, the architect constructed one of the largest defensive structures of that time… Now head to Saint-Martin de Ré by following the cycle paths along the seaside and through the forest!
4 Rivedoux-Plage
As soon as you leave the bridge, Île de Ré comes into view. Small white-washed, colour-shuttered houses run alongside the road leading to this first village, the favourite one among La Rochelle inhabitants. A wide bay in which stretches a goldenhued beach bordered by a few dunes and pine trees attracts walkers and water sports enthusiasts. In the sea, sails form coloured brackets standing out in the blue sky; kitesurf lovers enjoy the omnipresent and regular breeze. At low tide, numerous oyster parks can be clearly seen together with tractors.
5 Sainte-Marie-de-Ré
The first impression of Sainte Marie de Ré is that of a small country village, and yet it is situated by the sea. The ‘magayants’, peasant farmers who fished along the seashore by trapping fish in fish locks at low tide, had settled here; after fishing, they went back to their piece of land. Renowned for its vineyards, Sainte Marie de Ré is the oldest village of the island. Besides, its wild beaches attract surfers in search of high waves.
6 At the gateway to the fortified city
You are now entering the heart of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, a very charming fortified city! Enjoy walking and wandering around the historic centre designed and constructed by the architect Vauban.
8 Saint-Martin seen from above
9 Relaxation!
Now take your time and relax! Sit outside, and have a drink at a café or a meal at a restaurant.
10 Saint-Martin-de-Ré
An ancient citadel and one of the major sites built by Vauban, today inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Saint Martin de Ré has retained its original charm within its star-shaped ramparts steeped in history: resistance to the assaults launched by the English Navy in the 17th century, increasing commercial activity thanks to the transport of salt and wine in the 18th century, town of departure for prisoners leaving for the penal settlements of French Guiana and New Caledonia in the 19th century,… Behind the harbour, particularly lively during the summer season with its evening market, quiet streets lead to the church of Saint Martin whose walls bear witness to numerous attacks. From the top of the belltower, and particularly at sunset, you will discover a superb view over the town and the island.
11 Les Fortifications Vauban
In 1681, Saint-Martin was an incredible defensive fortress designed to protect the 16,000 islanders in the event of an attack by enemy forces. The surrounding wall is consequently huge: these are immense star-shaped ramparts 14km long. A citadel that has been converted into a prison since the 19th century was also built to the north-east to accommodate a garrison of 1,500 men. However enemy forces had never attacked the fortified city… This stronghold is one of the 160 fortresses built or renovated by Vauban during his fifty years’ career at the service of the kingdom. In 1925 the building was listed as a historic monument. The ramparts of Saint-Martin-de-Ré join ‘Réseau des Sites Majeurs de Vauban’ (Network of Vauban’s Major Sites) and are now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an exceptional and universal cultural site.
12 Head to the ‘Phare des Baleines’
You are leaving one of the most important “masterpieces” built by the architect Vauban… For the more energetic, continue until you reach the end of the island. You will discover a place not to be missed: ‘Phare des Baleines’. This was the first tower built by Vauban…
13 You need to make a stop at the salt marshes!
You are coming to the heart of the salt marshes! Take advantage of a stop to view the spectacular landscape! If you have the opportunity to do another sightseeing tour, don’t hesitate to discover the Ecomuseum of Salt Marshes which helps you understand how salt is produced (subject to opening dates and times). Contact: 05 46 29 06 77. You can also make a detour and sample oysters and seafood at a local producer. Now, let’s set out for the ‘Phare des Baleines’.
14 Ars-en-Ré
From a distance, the first thing indicating the town of Ars, visible whether from the land or the sea, is the white belltower and its black spire. And it is natural since it was used as a landmark before lighthouses were built. Ars en Ré is one the Most Beautiful Villages of France. It houses the most important harbour of the island accommodating more than 500 moorings; life is spent between the harbour and its cafés, the church and the market, attracting numerous visitors. Surrounded by the sea and salt marshlands, market gardens and vineyards, Ars en Ré has an immense charm combining simplicity and elegance. No doubt you will succumb to its charms…
15 Saint-Clément-des-Baleines
The village is named after the French word ‘baleine’ (whale): at the time of migrations, large numbers of whales washed up on a sandbank at the north-western end of the island. The Lighthouse and the Conche des Baleines are the main attractions of Saint Clément. The Lighthouse, one of the highest and most powerful lighthouses in France, is the most visited monument of the island. After climbing the 257 steps, the lighthouse provides spectacular views. You will admire the two-coloured belltower of Ars, you will see the bridge in the distance, you will dominate the Conche des Baleines… Considered as the most beautiful beach of the island, the wide Plage de la Conche, bordered by wooded dunes, stretches as far as Les Portes en Ré. Several scenes of the movie ‘The Longest Day’ were filmed here.
16 Le Phare des Baleines
We are now in front of the ‘Phare des Baleines’. Leave your bikes and visit this tower – the first one built by Vauban! If you have energy left, climb the 257 steps to a breathtaking view of the island and ocean!
103 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 6 m
  • End altitude : 5 m
  • Maximum altitude : 17 m
  • Total positive elevation : 103 m
  • Total negative elevation : -105 m
  • Max positive elevation : 7 m
  • Min positive elevation : -12 m
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2 comments
Excellent
  • Parcourt velo

    Super

    ,

  • Voyage

    Très bien et beau

    ,