ILE DE RE
Who goes: French actors Fabrice Luchini, Vincent Lindon and Patrick Bruel, and Sonia Rykiel. Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis are said to have been spotted around the isle.
Where to go: Two miles off the western coast of France, Ile de Ré, with stretches of silver-colored salt marshes that dot the island's coast, shimmers in the midday sun. Vacationers have succumbed to the whitewashed fishermen's villages, fine sand beaches and cognac vineyards. For seafaring socials, head to the Bant du Boucheron, a stretch of sand that vanishes at high tide, or Trou de Chemise beach in Les Portes to soak up the sun before going to Le Chasse Marée for dinner. In the village of La Couarde, Taxi Brousse, open only in the summer, is ideal for a lazy, barefoot luncheon in the sand under graceful poplar trees. For dinner, La Salicorne serves fresh catches of the day in a quaint courtyard. After a sun-soaked day on the beach, wine is sipped while pétanque is played at the church square in Loix before dinner at La Cabane du Fier. In Ars, known for its bountiful market, Le Bistrot de Bernard is a must for lunch or dinner, and Le Chat Botté in Saint Clément boasts one of the island's best cuisines. Bô's trendy setting in Saint Martin is also a popular spot. After dinner, islanders file into La Baleine Bleue in Saint Martin for tipples and tunes, only to regroup later at La Pergola in La Couarde, where they kick up their heels until dawn.
What to avoid: There is only one main road running through the island's center, so regulars avoid rush hour and zip around the island in fishing boats. — Emilie Marsh