Beach + Island

Celebs in the Sand

by Natalie Walsh

Where? Île de Ré, France.

Who hangs out here? There be pirates on this Atlantic Ocean island. Or, at least, a movie star approximation—Johnny Depp and his French partner, Vanessa Paradis. In fact, much of the French film glitterati will be seen at this small land mass connected by bridge to La Rochelle sometime or another, from a rotund Gérard Depardieu to Juliette Binoche.

The star attraction: Its moniker of the "St. Tropez of the Atlantic" doesn't do it justice. The small towns, villages, and beaches that comprise Île de Ré are far more stylish than wrinkly old St. Trop, and the vibe is the height of shabby-chic. Lap up the luxury and exclusivity without the garishness, but do dress the part! Stripy Breton sweaters slung effortlessly over shoulders and rust-red jeans are de rigueur. After all, this is Paris on vacation….

Stargazing Drop by in the end of June—the same time as the Festival International du Film de La Rochelle. Look out for French film legend Daniel Auteuil (well, have you ever seen a hit French movie that he didn't star in?) while Dépardieu and Depp hold court at La Table d'Olivia in the Hôtel de Toiras—one of the best restaurants on the island.

The hot bed: Those in the know who don't stay on their yachts or in their seaside cottages cosy up in the 17th-century Hôtel de Toiras, a boutique hotel in the island's harbor capital of St. Martin. Its 17 rooms and suites are each named after a French or English aristocrat, author, or adventurer.

Hôtel de Toiras
Tel: 33 5 4635 4032
Doubles from $240.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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