A La Plage

Normally I’m strict about my working hours. None of this – we live in France so it’s fine if I get up late, take five coffee breaks a day and spend 3 hours on lunch stuff for me. However, having said that…Wednesday morning saw me cheerfully packing the factor 30 and flip flops ready for a day on the Atlantic Coast with my other half and two friends. Any guilt I might be feeling was slightly alleviated by the thought that the trip wouldn’t just be a day out. Nope, this would be “research”.

By the time we were halfway to the coast I was feeling positively virtuous, having convinced myself that I owed it to my clients to have up to the minute knowledge about places they might like to visit!

Leaving aside the well-known delights of La Rochelle, we decided to head a little further north to somewhere  quieter. The fine sandy beach at the seaside town of La Tranche glistened in the sunshine and we couldn’t resist the temptation to take off our shoes and wander barefoot along the beach. It’s possible to walk along the shore for kilometres in both directions and the bridge leading to the stunning Ile de Ré is clearly visible across the bay.  This part of the coast was hit by the huge storm of February 2010 and planners have clearly decided to use the opportunity provided by the restoration work to make some improvements such as the new boardwalk running alongside the beach.

There’s nothing like the combination of sea air and exercise for working up an appetite. In this part of the world there’s a huge range of fish and seafood so…again in the interests of research, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Equinox restaurant. Sitting at a table on the beach side terrasse, with stunning views right out to sea, we sipped our aperos and watched as the tide rolled in, a flotilla of little yellow- sailed dinghies drifted across the water and families enjoyed a dip in the sea.  Talk about living the dream!

As for the food – absolutely sumptuous. When we asked the waiter where the moules were from he pointed “ Just over there. I can always run and find some if we run out.”  I think he was actually only partly joking as both the prawns and langoustines in my starter tasted amazing while the crusted fish that my husband and friend both ordered was obviously very fresh. That’s the great thing about living near the West coast, you can always enjoy of a whole range of freshly caught produce straight from the sea.

Another stroll along the beach and a tour of some of the little shops just off the seafront and it was time to head home . I really enjoy the peace of country living but love it that we can easily pop to the coast when we feel like it. I feel another outing involving dinner on a terrasse watching as the sun sets over the sea is definitely justified. All in the interests of research you understand!

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