Another « most beautiful village of France » on the île de Ré!
This one deserves its name too: what a charming place! Stroll along the small pedestrian cobblestone streets, with its hidden alleyways and let yourself be enchanted by the hollyhocks which grow everywhere. Here there is a special atmosphere as well as special colours which have inspired and still inspire!- a good many painters.
Ars also has the labels « Village de pierre et d’eau » (Village of stone and water) which rewards the exceptional sites located near a stretch of water, and « Terre saine » (Healthy land), for its policy to renounce to pesticides.
The village is, among other things, famous for the steeple of its church. Standing over 40 metres, spire shaped (gothic flamboyant style) and painted in black and white, this steeple can be seen from afar and was used as a daymark or landmark by sailors. The black part was visible in clear weather, whereas the white was visible in dark weather or during the night. The church itself is beautiful and well worth a visit. Built in the XIIth century, it is one of the oldest monuments of the island.
Keep on walking and head for the port. It is the largest of the island! It can take up to 500 boats and is located down the famous Fier d’Ars, a splendid 800 hectare bay, open on the ocean, ideal for nautical sports and to observe fauna and flora.
In the port you can also see remains of the ancient station, when a small freight train was carrying goods in all the island.
Its large daily market, near the port, is a focal point of local life during your holiday, and its thalassotherapy institure, an ideal way to “switch off”.
Ars is linked to La Couarde by the narrowest stretch of land of the island: Le Martray (330 metres of land winding between the Fier d’Ars and the Pertuis Breton).