The Village

Our village on the beach has lots of interesting buildings in a variety of styles. Very different from Paris.

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Most of the houses of families have names and most are named for their children. This one, a sad one, says no name because either the child died before or after birth.

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I like this one, especially this:

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Maurice and I were looking at this and I was taking a photo when the owner of the house walked up and told us that the previous owner was not a musician, as I had thought, but each of these notes (do, re, mi) stood for one of his three daughters, their names starting with D, R and M. I thought both that this was interesting and, especially, that the owner happened to turn up just as we were standing there wondering about it.

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I love this old photo showing that Chatelaillon once didn’t have a beach-it is man-made. So glad I don’t have to wear those long skirted dresses.

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Here’s a poster of the various types of buildings around here. I still haven’t quite figured out all of the differences but I know a villa when I see it.

Along The Water

Maurice and I went out running the other day on a beautiful morning in the direction of a little village called les Boucheleurs. It’s right on the water and a couple of years ago, during a huge storm, was flooded which destroyed some places, houses and businesses that processed oysters.

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This house is open and you can see where the flood waters damaged everything.

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A little further on was a little place set up to sell fresh oysters, shrimp and wine. This looks perfect for summer I think. I’m not a huge fan of oysters but eat them now and then. Living here in such a huge center for them, I guess I better develop the taste for them. I like mussels really well though and they are served everywhere around the area-with French fries.

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They have these little concrete pools of sea water to keep the harvested oysters from the ocean, fresh.

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A little further on we saw they wooden posts slowly falling apart. I think everything like this is made of cement now. These are much more picturesque.

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And, of course, I have yet another photo of the sky from our balcony, this one at sunset. Can’t get enough of those.

On The Beach

Still here in Chatelaillon which, by the way, is in a district of France called Charante Maritime which is south of Brittany and which gets as much sunshine as the Cote d’Azur. We just don’t have that beautiful blue water but, then again, we don’t have the crowds of people and things are more affordable. We now have everything unpacked and are still in the process of hanging pictures and putting in light fixtures-just taking our time. We’ve had a couple of days of pouring rain here and, even then, it was still wonderful to look out our big window at the beach. Kite surfers love big windy storms and they come to catch the wind and we love watching them. It turns out that our end of the beach is the only place they let them surf to protect swimmers on the other end. There is usually at least one guy on the packed sand with a sail and a type of skate board wizzing along and sometimes a little vehicle with three wheels and a sail. I’ve tried wind surfing before and never really mastered it so don’t think I will be trying anything I’ve seen, especially when I saw how long it takes to get those sails all folded away again at the end.

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Here are two guys with the kite sails after being out on the water. They walk back to the car with the sails behind them and then fold them. I guess it’s easier that way. When the tide goes way out, there is a very long walk out to the water. Looks like a lot of work.

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I like these little fences in the sand which I think are to keep the sand back during winds and storms.

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Shy little birds (killdeer?) that run behind waves as they retreat. I’d like to get closer for photos but they always fly away. They fly in interesting formations, all in a group, moving as one like a school of fish. If the sun is shining, their white bellies look like flashes of silver. I can’t manage to get that on camera either. I need my good camera which is back in Paris with a good lens instead of my little point and shoot.
I haven’t taken any photos of the interior of our place yet but plan to when it looks more settled. There are a few things I don’t like, such as the exterior color of our section of the apartment building. It’s a horrible mustard color that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the whole of our village. Hopefully, it will fade with time. I don’t like the room where the toilet is as they stuck it in with the washer and dryer and water heater. I guess we will have to add a door as it seems very strange. It was hard to pick that up when looking at a floor plan. It’s really hard to get the car out of the garage-we have already scraped a fender-and I think they will have to take down a wall or two at the exit. Other than that, I love our place. I think we will have many happy times here.

Starting Again

Finally, Maurice and I were able to go to Chatelaillon, on the beach, to approve our new place and move in. Our furniture has been in storage for almost two years. Our place, one of fourteen in the building, was supposed to be ready in October but, for many reasons including some bad weather, January turned out to be the finishing date. It turns out, that while our apartment was ready to move in to, the rest of the building is still being worked on. There are workmen here everyday doing various things. The worst thing is that there is a leak in the basement/garage area with some serious water on the floor and, in the week that we’ve been here, hasn’t been fixed. We would have been in a week earlier if the kitchen people hadn’t double booked. Because we moved in a week later than planned, our move-in day occurred during what looked like a gale to me. The wind howled and there were periods of extremely heavy rainfall. Somehow we got everything moved in with just a soggy box here and there. In France-I’m not sure about the rest of Europe-the kitchen is not included in the cost of a new place. You have to go to a kitchen store, pick out what you want, and have it installed. It adds to final costs as you might imagine. Also, there are only bare bulbs in the ceiling and light fixtures have to be bought, along with towel racks and toilet paper holders. Money-ours-is flowing.
Even so, we love our new place, our second home (we will still keep our Paris place) and even though it’s still winter have enjoyed our little village and just sitting looking at the view. We will be here a week or so more and then go back to Paris until late Spring sometime. I really look forward to being here this Summer. I think it will be great. I’ve always wanted to live by the ocean and, finally, here I am taking a photo of a sunrise or sunset just about every day.

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A soft sunrise.

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A nice sky seen from our balcony.

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This is a huge area for oyster harvesting and when the tide goes out, and it goes waaaay out, you can see rocky areas where, I’m assuming, oysters once grew naturally. Now I think there is a type of growing them inside baskets. This photo shows an area where the tide has gone out. I liked the reflections of the clouds in the water left behind.

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Oyster shells by the thousands found on the sand after a storm.

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I love the foam left behind as a wave retreats.
So, more photos around our new place to come and then a return to Paris.