Beach Life


We are at our beach place for a week. We have had mostly beautiful weather and it’s so nice being back. I’m looking forward to the summer when we will be here full time. One of the highlights has been going to the Friday market in our village. It’s so lively and fun.

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A man there repairing rafftan chairs, a profession not many do anymore. There’s a man at our Paris market who sharpens knives and scissors.

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All the honey you could want. This man does all of the “harvesting” and processing himself. I love honey.

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Spring fruit and vegetables are starting to arrive-most from Spain.

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Beautiful cut flowers fr sale.

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At one of our stops on our bike ride on Ile d’Aix, we stopped at a huge oyster producing area. There were all sorts of people either getting shrimp in the water as the tide came in or digging for clams or snails. I don’t know if it was for their own tables or not. This man was catching small gray shrimp with his net.

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There were all sorts of shelves set up for the cases of oysters. When the tide came in, the oysters were covered with water. It was interesting to see them at low tide.

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Another guy gathering shrimp.

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Another view of the oyster beds. I find it so interesting.

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Our neighbor, “Madam La”, sent a IM saying, “Have you crossed the shadow of Napoleon?” We were on Ile d’Aix and, it turns out, was where Napoleon spent his last time on French soil before being sent to exile by the English to Saint Helena. This plaque showed a brooding Napoleon on his way from France.

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We took our visiting friends to Ile d’Aix where cars are not allowed. We wanted to rent bikes but were there before the bike shop opened so we stopped for a petit dejuner at a rather posh café. This fancy mirror was on a wall there.

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The restaurant was connected to a hotel and if the table had a croissant on it, it was for hotel guests. Notice that there is no plate for the croissant. This is very typical in France. No plates for pastries and on a napkin if you are lucky. Our French guests sat at our kitchen counter in our apartment every morning (sometimes they stood there) and ate bread without plates getting crumbs all over the place. Maurice does this too and it drives me crazy. A French thing.

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The bicycle rental shop finally opened and the owner had this huge St. Benard which greeted us in the street with his belly up. The last time we were on this island we ate in a small nearby café and the dog roamed between the tables begging for food.

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We were on Ile d’Aix, a short ferry ride from Fouras, and rented bikes to ride around the island.

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Our friends, for some reason, decided to rent a bicycle for two. I would never do this as I have to be in control of the speed and the brakes. They seemed to enjoy it though. Note her shoes. That was the only pair she bought for a trip to the beach. She was always dressed to the T. I as wearing old jeans and tennis shoes since I knew we would be riding bikes.

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As you can see, Ile d’Aix is shaped like a croissant. There were maps along our bike route showing our location. We stopped at Baby Beach, a small beach with golden sand. We could see Chatelaillon across the water and our friend even got a sort of blurry view of our place across the water. When we are in our apartment, we can see Ile d’Aix. If it is really clear, we can even see trees sticking up. The island has a lot of vegetation.

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You couldn’t tell it was Autumn by the trees and bushes-nothing was turning golden or rust colored. I guess most of the vegetation is the type that either stays green all year or just drops brown leaves sometime in the winter. There were a lot of berries, though, as you can see.

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We had to leave our bikes and hike a bit to find a fort. We were a bit lost when these three little girls drove up on their bikes and gave Maurice directions. He asked them if they knew bikes weren’t allowed there. They did but didn’t care. I think they were island residents. Very cute and talkative little girls.

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We were looking at this view in la Flotte on Île de Ré :

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A sea wall along the harbor there.

when I turned around and saw an interesting iron sculpture on the wall behind us:

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It was of Nicolas Martiau who, it turns out, was born on Île de Ré, immigrated to the States and built a fence in Jamestown famous for keeping out the angry Indians and, to my amazement, is related to George Washington, the first president of the US. Who knew, right? I googled him while standing there and saw that there was a statue of George Washington in Saint Martin on the island so when we arrived there we went to the Ernest Cognacq Museum to see it. Because I was an American wanting to see the statue which was in the garden, they let me in for free.

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And here it is. The sun was in the wrong place so it’s not a good look. There is a medallion underneath of Nicola Martiau. The statue is a copy of one in Virginia. It was installed in the garden of the museum by the American ambassador in 2007. Our friend who was with us belongs to the organization that had it put there-small world.

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There aren’t many signs of autumn here in this area. Most of the trees seem to be evergreens and the ones which aren’t just sort of drop brown leaves eventually. I’ve seen berries on bushes and the sun is going down earlier and earlier, the only signs I’ve noticed, so it was nice to see these bright red leaves on a building in Saint Martin.

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I liked these flowers too-maybe roses?

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There’s a really great market that I have written about before in the village on Île de Ré in la Flotte. It has been there since the middle ages and still has an ancient feel that I love.

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Here’s an old photo showing the market in action way back when. I’m so glad I don’t have to dress like that anymore.

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Here’s a shot of a corner stall there. This place sells the best food to go. We got some great savory bread that we sliced for hors d’ouvres that evening. They had a lot of things I would have bought for dinner if we had been heading straight home but I didn’t want it to sit in the car all day-food poisoning is not fun.

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A cute sign hanging on the wall behind the stall. They sold a lot of pork products.

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There was a flower stall there in the market too. I liked their sign. Our friend bought a beautiful bouquet of flowers there and, somehow, they survived the rest of the day in the trunk of the car and were beautiful at home when we finally able to get them into a vase with water.

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