When we left Quillan we had a long drive ahead of us, mostly on the motorway, heading north west through Carcassonne, Toulouse, Bordeaux and on to La Rochelle on the west coast where we crossed the toll bridge to the Île De Ré, an island off the west coast of France. We had visited the island many times in the past and always enjoyed cycling from town to village along a network of dedicated cycle paths that kept well away from the main roads. Their main industry, apart from tourism, was oyster production and making sea salt. The island was 30k long and 5k wide and we stayed in the middle at La Couarde Sur Mer from where it was easy cycle to Les Portes-en-Ré for lunch after visiting the morning market at Ars-en-Ré. We cycled back over the salt marshes.
We passed through unspoiled villages with their narrow streets, there were no high rise buildings here and everything was spotlessly clean and litter free.