Oysters

The area we live in is known for its oysters. The island, Oleron, right across from us produces the most oysters in all of France. We have our own production going on in the village right next to us. We can see the oyster bed from our balcony.

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They are doing some massive work on the walk along the beach so I don’t go in that direction much any more but on this day I decided to see how it was all going. The path takes you to the little village called les Bouchelers. As you can see the tide was out but there was enough water left for reflections.

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It’s common to see tractors taking oyster boats out onto the bed exposed by the low tide. Apparently, oysters like exposure to air twice a day. This may have been a natural oyster site at one time but I imagine it is now a farm where oysters are “planted” and then cultivated.

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Another view.

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A boat up close. They pile the hue sacks of oysters up front and bring them to shore.

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Seen in the village.

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This way to the beach.

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Nice way to finish the day.

Bastille Day

I’ve never made it to the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower to watch the fireworks Paris has on Bastille Day. I tried watching from on top of Montmartre before but it was too far way to see much. Here at the beach, the fireworks are right in front of our building. Nothing like having a front row seat.

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From our terrace. So pretty but it was really cold and windy. The fireworks were on July 13th which is typical in rural France. Bastille Day is on the 14th.

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I watched the military parade in Paris on the next day. This was a group of children who stopped in front of the President and sang the French National anthem.

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Photo of TV screen. Paris can really do fireworks!

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It was windy so this didn’t look as good as it usually does. And then that night the attack in Nice happened. I have been on that street many times and Maurice was born in Nice. A father and son from Austin, Tx were killed. I don’t know what can be done about things like this. I just plan to try and enjoy each day and hope I don’t have to say this again

A City Garden

My planned post on another sad day for France. I’m speechless.

Many cities in France have a city garden called a Jardin des Plantes and la Rochelle has a lovely one.

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You reach the garden by going down block after block of covered passages. La Rochelle is full of them.

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It’s behind the Natural History Museum and is composed of “rooms” of gardens.

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A pretty line of arbors.

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Lily closeup.

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One of the rooms had some mirrors.

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There were flowers outside on the street too gowing on their own.

A Beautiful City

I spent the day in la Rochelle the other day. It’s just ten minutes away from our beach place. It’s nice to have a place near by to visit that’s so interesting and beautiful.

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There are two light houses there. This is the first one you see as you enter the city. From a boat as you line up the two light houses to enter the horbor.

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These two towers guard the inner harbor.

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The second light house.

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I always like some Art Nouveau.

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They were having a demonstration of this device in the harbor. Looks like fun.

Saint Emilion

Maurice had an appointment in Bordeaux, which is about 1 1/2 hours from us. Afterwards we decided to drive the 45 minutes to the beautiful village of Saint Emilion right in the middle of Bordeaux wine country. I quickly googled for places to eat there and it was easy to find a restaurant as Saint Emilion is packed with them. We went to the Logis de la Cadene which turned out to be very good. It was one of those classy places with waiters in white shirts and black jackets who were very attentive and the interior was wonderful. All the tables on the terrace were booked but we got a table inside easily. We got the menu (starter, main plate, dessert) and I had doubts about the starter, a carpaccio of fish (as in raw) but it was marinated in lemon juice and topped with all sorts of yummy things and it was so delicious. Then we had very tender beef and a lovely little lemon meringue tart. We had to have a glass of St Emilion wine being in the region. I know very little about Bordeaux wine and I find it a bit strong but maybe I will learn. To tell the truth, I prefer rosé something wine experts look down upon.

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The pretty terrace with a giant vine growing in the corner.

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The church above the village. It is a very steep walk to the bottom. I saw many people hobbling down the main street over the stone street which I imagine must be very slick when it rains.

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It’s packed with shops selling Bordeaux wine like this one.

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An ancient gate into the village.

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I love this corner shop.

Along the Coast

We have made friends with a very nice French couple who, this is such a plus for me, love to speak English. He is a font of information about the area and they are always out exploring. He told us about the coast area north of la Rochelle so once nice, sunny day, Maurice and I set out to explore it.

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We could see the bridge that crosses to Île de Ré and the coast of the island itself.

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Saw this place just covered with junk, even a decorated Christmas tree.

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This sign was in front. It wasn’t open but maybe it was a shop.

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We crossed a bridge over this water running into the ocean as it was low tide-as you can see by the grounded boats-which wouldn’t be visible once high tide arrived. These extremes of tides are what make this such a good oyster farming area.

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We were too early for lunch but this place is on my list to try sometime. It just looked classy.

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We ate instead at a place with this view which had good food but really slow service which didn’t matter as we had no place to be.

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It was time for the full moon which I missed that night but when I got up early the next morning, as is my wont, and it was still dark, I got to see it setting although not to totally into the sea as a marine layer hid it.