It was just like a wonderful Summers day last Sunday (8th) so we decided to jump in the car and head out to La Rochelle, just over an hours drive from us and a relatively easy one at that - the péage is great for us, only a 20 minute drive away and we can get to the coast far quicker and it's not terribly expensive! Although once off the toll road you do end up on a single lane road where just about everyone has to overtake, at one point we nearly had someone overtaking someone overtaking!!
La Rochelle is a city and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay and it is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department. The town has played a huge part in French and English history, from Huguenot rebellions to sieges. In the Hundreds Year war it became part of England. Until the 15th century, La Rochelle was the largest French harbour on the Atlantic coast, dealing mainly in wine, salt and cheese.
The only thing is I have always loved is that first sighting of the sea, we don't get that the route we take to La Rochelle but even so I could feel the smiles spreading over our faces as we approached the station, knowing that very soon we would be port side in the warmth of the winter sun, feeling the stress leave our bodies and embarking on some "us time" in other words me and the camera ;) *joke* Parking is now a joy as well, the new underground car park is easy to navigate and lots of spaces, so providing you go the right way around and don't mind not getting on the first floor life is good for the car!
Coming out of the car park and yes....seagulls and salt hit the senses - I did point to the direction of a Brocante but lunch was on their minds and that was it! Hitting the harbour wall and I had to stop - this is one of the places that the gulls like to gather and I fancy we had a welcoming flypast!
|So calm and serene!|
|Welcome to La Rochelle!|
|Over the top - just right for the first couple of shots of the day!|
|We always make a joke here - "take your pick Mr S"|
|forgot the bread - oops!|
So onto the restaurant of choice Café Leffe - we have been several times before and always enjoyed the food, especially Moules! I sadly think that the did not expect the world and his wife to be out though! We waited rather a long, long, long time....we did try to leave but told to wait just another few minutes - which we did but that turned to another half an hour! Finally our food arrived and so disappointed - clearly the wrong time of year for Moules! Very small and not very tasty (this is our first bad experience so not bad in 10 years!) We have been lucky when we have eaten out and maybe had I not been trying the healthy option the burger would have been the better decision! But we still had quite a fun time - watching the world go by as we sat waiting and waiting! Eventually after leaving our very apologetic hosts, we went back out into the beautiful sunshine to go for a walk down to a little promenade we discovered a couple of years ago.
|Now to spend some time just wandering aimlessly!|
|The old Lighthouse|
|New Ferris wheel!|
|Through the gates to cross the bridge - soon we will see the sea properly!|
We tend to walk out of town for the ice-cream/sorbets - not only much cheaper but you get a seaview whilst enjoying something utterly delish! I almost contemplated Lemon Meringue flavour but went Lime and Rasberry instead and we get to keep the bowl!
|OK so we got a little distracted along the way - sorbet time!|
|Love the way the trees grow!|
|Another area I wish to see - not sure what the statue is so really should go and find out!|
Everything looks amazing against that blue sky - but a lot of renovation works havee been undertaken over the last few years to clean the buildings, all worth it for photos such as these with the colour of the stone against the sky!
|La Rochelle - capital city to Grafitti! and Tasteful artwork it is.|
|Both Mr S and myself fell in love with this beautiful wooden sailing boat!|
But can you imagine how much work that takes to look after?
We have also had Pollution warnings here in the Poitou Charentes as well - quite high for this time of year, but it didn't stop the Lycéennes roaming the streets of Melle and Niort for Pere Cent.. an unusual way of collecting money these days students collect money 100 days before the BAC to go out and celebrate all dressed up and giving sweets for "donations" - we even saw Minions on our way to Niort!