We’ve just come back from the most lovely weekend away. ‘We deserve a treat’, we thought, and we’ve had one.
Thirty years ago we stayed on a caravan site at St Georges de Didonne with our two small boys and have always remembered it fondly. ‘Let’s go somewhere near there and go to the seaside.’ Him Outdoors found this chateau that is a Chambre d’Hote and booked us in for two nights. And it is lovely. We were welcomed by a very lovely woman, our room was beautifully done with just the right mix of antique and comfort, dinner was delicious and the bed was huge and comfortable.
We had already gone into Royan on the way there and had a beer watching the holiday makers on the prom. The next day we went back to see the market which Him Outdoors had memories of being amazed by 30 years ago. Even after living here for 7 years it is still amazing, one of the best we’ve ever seen. More people watching with coffee this time. There is a special delight in watching loud French voices greeting each other and enjoying a glass of something with friends. We went on up to Isle d’Oleron and found a place to have moules frites for lunch – this was on the ‘to do’ list but was a bit of a mistake because it’s not really the time of year.
There was a lovely mix of amazing citadel
and boat sheds full of interesting boaty stuff to do with the oyster beds.
We then carried on up the coast to visit La Rochelle but our luck ran out as they were having a major running event and it was a holiday weekend and by the time we’d driven round three times trying to find anywhere to park, we gave up and came home to our peaceful chateau, had champagne in the garden with delicious nibbles and then more delicious food.
Yesterday we visited Saintes and Cognac. With usual French style, the amphitheatre in Saintes was closed because it wasn’t the season. Well we’d already decided you could see it through the fence.
An English guest’s face when we said that it was closed, was a picture of disbelief :-).
We had a lovely picnic by the Charente between Saintes and Cognac. Such a different river from the Dordogne, very peaceful with water deep enough for motorboats. Much excitement when a French fisherman arrived and set about launching his boat only to get his car stuck in the mud and a Dutch motorboat arrived, astounded that the map he’d been given said that there was a tap here to fill up his water tanks and there was nothing.
On to Cognac for more people watching. Cognac had changed hugely from the place I remembered 30 years ago. We went on a little tour of Hennessy distillery then, now the whole town seemed to be full of distilleries and tours and coach loads of tourists all looking for something to do out of season on a Monday (no, of course the first week of May, with two public holidays and bus loads of tourists isn’t the season.)
After checking out and having a look at the alterations they are doing to the attic rooms and picking some elderflowers from their garden so that I can have elderflower cordial from the chateau, we went to Talmont which is a tiny headland of perfect ancientness. We had a lovely beachy paddle and shell collection. We had the most delightful, delicious seafood lunch in a restaurant recommended to us that we would have missed (thank you dear children for my birthday present) and then came home.
It has been a truly lovely break. I feel that illness is over, recovery is properly starting and I will soon be my proper self again. I have booked into a yoga class tomorrow and I will do my best to get back ‘en forme’.