St Martin de Ré (some call it ‘Paris-on-Sea’) is the main town on fashionable Ile de Ré, centrally placed for the island’s attractions. La Baronnie, best described as an upmarket town hotel, is almost everything we seek in the guide, upstaging competing places on the island with its combination of good taste, peace, charming old buildings and a large garden, the last no small bonus.
You enter through wooden gates from a little street off the port and walk some 50 metres to emerge into a very fine 18thC courtyard formed by the central part and two wings of the 18thC baronnie – a beautiful piece of architecture. Walk through the central part, where the welcoming, traditionally French breakfast room and sitting room are found, and you’re in the garden. Filled with wisteria and roses, pines and fruit trees, this is a wonderful place to relax. Rooms are decorated in a homely but sophisticated seaside style, with blues and whites predominating, plenty of natural light and bucolic views. Some are located a few paces down the street, in an equally pretty 18th century building. La Baronnie is a family-friendly hotel. For a truly relaxing stay, appointments can be made with both an osteopath and a beauty therapist. Florence Pallardy is a seasoned, friendly hostess who likes to give advice on what to do and where to go. There is a private car park, however at peak times, entering St Martin by car is restricted – ask for advice.
La Baronnie was upgraded to four stars in 2015.