Ars En Re

Ars en Ré, little port of the Ile de Ré, off the coast of mainland Charente Maritime, was once famous for its salt exports. Even today there are still sixty sauniers - salt-makers - exploiting the salt-marshes of Fier d'Ars, and you can buy the finished product at many shops and in the markets of the village.

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The port is these days more frequented by pleasure craft than the solid cargo boats which transported salt to Holland or Scandinavia; several regattas are held each year. And all sailors are pleased to see the distinctive spire of the church of St Etienne, in the centre of Ars en Ré - painted black and white it resembles very much a lighthouse and indeed functions as a navigation point. One night every August the spire is lit by fire and can be seen for miles, even in the dark.

The village, with its little alleys and rose-covered garden walls, is very attractive, and has indeed been named as one of "les plus beaux villages de France".




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