Ars-en-Re

Ars, a little village on Ile de Re, is on many lists as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has lots of charming little shops. We found a small parking lot for the car and when we were ready to leave couldn’t find it again, despite it being small village. It had gotten very hot, almost 100 degrees, and trudging around in the heat wasn’t the most fun thing. We had to go back to the church where we went first and figure out our route. We finally started recognizing some shops and I then saw the name of a street that I had somehow retained the name of and found our hot as an oven car.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy (2)A flower arrangement seen on a wall as we walked around.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy (3) One of these days I want to go see the famous salt production place. I suspect the workers won’t be dressed like this. Many people became very wealthy in Ars by selling salt.

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The unusual church steeple in Ars  used by sailors for guidance when at sea.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy (5) I always stop into the hotel le Senechal as I love the interior.

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Nicely decorated corner.

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I loved this poster for a jazz festival on Ile de Re. I’m trying to find a way to get a copy.

Ile de Re

We haven’t been to Ile de Re this summer but went when some friends came recently. Ile de Re is very well known in France though most Americans haven’t heard of it-however, pop singer Katy Perry was recently there with her boyfriend, Orlando Bloom which surprised me. Many Parisians go there for summer vacations, so many that it is known as the 21st arrondissement of Paris and also Ile de Riche as there are politicians and French actors in abundance although I have never seen any and probably wouldn’t know them if I did especially with hats and sun glasses everywhere. Anyway, it’s a beautiful place to visit but it is certainly packed with tourists in August.

 

IMG_1193[1] We stopped first in the village of la Flotte as it has a fabulous market in an old medieval square. Lots of doors and windows there to take photos of.

IMG_1199[1] A view of part of the market.

IMG_1198[1] Potatoes grown on Ile de Re.

 

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Butter made there too.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy (4)I loved this painting with the cow wearing lipstick. I think the poster says they prefer Emilet the cow. Even Maurice couldn’t tell me exactly what it meant.

 

Birds and the Beach

Some photos I’ve taken as I do my walk on the strand along the beach.

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There is a little seasonal café on the beach with umbrellas and loungers for, I’m sure, a fee. I think I went a little overboard with the filters on this photo.

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A typical view although it varies all of the time depending on if the tide is in or out. When it goes out, it goes way out which is why it’s an oyster producing area.

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I think these are seagulls. They almost always face in the same direction (always north) in the mornings, sort of like cows. I don’t think they do that cud thing. Maybe they are just napping. They follow the water out as low tide begins, eating small fish and shrimp I think. I see them floating in the water way out before the tide comes in. At noon or so they circle high above us. This is August so they may just be disturbed by the many people on the beach. I’ve become an observer of nature just like scientists once did before computers and books.

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I’m always trying to get photos of birds in flight but am usually not close enough. These birds (seen all facing the same direction earlier)were madly eating what looked like bread and only took off when I got near. They are flying away from me but I still like seeing their flight captured in midair.

Île Madame

We finally got around to visiting a very small island not far from us. It is reached by a natural path, a causeway, that can be covered in high tide so you always have to check the tide times. We waited for the appointed time and instead of walking over on the causeway, we slowly drove our car behind an RV and a carriage pulled by two horses. The island is mostly unpopulated. There is a farm there with a restaurant where we ate lunch. You can walk around the periphery of the island if you want, it’s that small. There’s not that much to see aside from some colorful fish cabins up on stilts, some with windows and decorations which made us wonder if people lived in them for short periods of time when the fish were biting.

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There were sheep.

IMG_1122[1]Fences and weeds.

IMG_1124[1] The fishing shacks. Some food that attracts fish is put in the middle of the net which is then lowered into the water and pulled up if and when fish can be caught.

IMG_1128[1] I especially liked the color of this one.

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A photo of a photo of the island from up above. I think it gets its name from a lady who once lived here but I can’t find the information again.

Beach Living

This and that on the beach.

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Probably a weed but I will call it beach flowers.

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I don’t think this dog was particularly friendly but was looking for other dogs. At least he didn’t bark.

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Another great sunset.

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I love sand made smooth by the wind and beach fences.

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A hollyhock against the blue sky. We have had a run of windy, gray days so this was a pleasure.

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I’m not sure if the rest of this area has this type of architecture but I sure do like it. There are many similar in our village with a steepled roof, lacy decorations and the pointed feature at the top.

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This lady laid out in the sun for at least four hours. I’m amazed by people who can do this. After a really horrible sun burn in college I learned I don’t have the skin to do this. It seems like I should be a person who hates the beach. I don’t like to be in the sun for long periods, I spend a fortune on sun screen, I won’t get in the water after seeing jelly fish the size of hubcaps on the beach, I don’t like wind of which there is a lot if you live by the ocean, I don’t like sand in my shoes-the feel of it or when it is tracked into our place-and yet I love it here watching the tides come and go, the blue skies and clouds and sunsets, the people watching, walks with interesting things to see-I love these. I pushed Maurice to get a place on a beach. It’s been mostly fun.

Natural

The Jardin des Plants, or the city garden, in la Rochelle has the Natural History Museum on one side. I loved seeing animals up close like you can at these types of museums although I imagine the animal rights people would shut them down if they could. These animals were probably preserved years ago if that helps. There was a family in the museum and the children were just charmed by seeing lions and tigers and all sorts of other creatures. It really needed air conditioning though. Maurice and I were miserable and didn’t stay as long as we would have if it had been cooler.

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On the way to the museum I found an unmarked courtyard that I had read about containing the symbol of the Templars who were once very powerful here in la Rochelle.

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There were wonderful collections of sea shells which I love seeing. I used to collect them myself. There were also a lot of fossils.

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A room full of various deer and the like.

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I liked this arrangement with the fox and its prey.

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The lion looked a little moth eaten.

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Some skeletons here and there. No whales though.

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This giraffe was at the top of some stairs. It turned out to be Zarafa, a gift from the ruler of Egypt to Charles X of France. There was an incredible amount of work to get her to Paris as there had to be a specially built boat to get her down the Nile-there was a place for her head to stick out-and then up the Seine but she survived. She lived in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris for 18 years and started a giraffe craze of high hats and hairdos. I’m surprised she ended up in Nantes and not the nice Museum of Natural History in Paris.