Culture and heritage

In 2012, Ile de Ré was the first island to obtain the status Pays d’Art et d’Histoire, thanks to its exceptional heritage.

Here are some of the most notable and accessible monuments and sites amongst the many hidden treasures to discover, especially on Heritage days.


The St-Martin-de-Ré fortifications

The fortifications make up part of the network of Vauban’s major sites, which became UNESCO world heritage sites in 2008.  This is the best example of an island reduit and perfectly illustrates the system of defence invented and erected under Vauban.

Find out more : Musée Ernest Cognacq


Phare des Baleines (Whale lighthouse) and the old tower

The Phare des Baleines is the tallest lighthouse in France at a height of 57 metres. It was inaugurated in 1954 and offers exceptional views over Ile de Ré and the ocean, once you’ve climbed the 257 steps!

At the foot of the lighthouse, the Vieille Tour (old tower) erected by Vauban is classed as a historic monument.

Find out more : Phare des Baleines

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Abbaye des Châteliers - La Flotte - ILE DE RE - Artemis Location

Châteliers Abbey

The abbey was built by the monks in the 1100s. 

It has seen many attacks, notably assaults by the English who ransacked its stones to build the Fort de la Prée. 

Find out more :  Musée du Platin


Fort la Prée

It is the oldest military structure preserved on the Ile de Ré, built between 1625 and 1625, partly built with stones from the neighbouring Châteliers Abbey.

Find out more : Le Fort La Prée

Fort de la prée ile de re Artemis Location



The bell tower of Ars-en-Ré

This is eye-catching even from a distance thanks to its distinctive shape and black and white paint. 

That’s the point – the Ars-en-Ré bell tower is used as a reference point for boats.  It’s called a waymark.

Find out more : The bell tower of Ars-en-Ré


The bell tower of Saint-Martin-de-Ré

To see Vauban’s star, and observe the fortifications in detail, you should climb to the top of the St-Martin church bell tower, which itself has borne witness to religious wars.

In the summer, the bell tower observatory offers a fabulous view, particularly at sunset.

Find out more : The bell tower of St-Martin-de-Ré

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