Last days in La Baule

 

La Baule

29 July

It was a very grey morning, which we had been waiting for so that we could do a trip to Nantes, as it had seemed a waste of beautiful weather to sit in the car for any length of time.

Fountain in Nantes
Fountain in Nantes
Part of a fountain in Nantes
Part of a fountain in Nantes

With the aid of the nice lady on the sat nav, we managed to reach the centre of Nantes without too many navigational discussions.

Our first stop was for coffee, not surprisingly, after which we wandered through some very typically French streets, following a green line on the pavement, which we thought could be the tourist route, (saves having to think), eyeing the shops, including one extraordinary chocolate shop, making the odd purchase of fabric and then going into the Cathedral.

Inside a chocolate shop in Nantes
Inside a chocolate shop in Nantes
An odd artwork in Nantes
An odd artwork in Nantes

As it was approaching lunch time, we decided to have a ‘proper’ lunch here and snack this evening, so, with that in mind, we started reading menus and chose one with an excellent and very reasonable menu du jour. Very sensibly, we decided not to have wine with our very unusual melon and parma ham soup, which was followed by a warm duck salad. The French do food so well…!

Lunch time cafe sign in Nantes
Lunch time cafe sign in Nantes
The chateau in Nantes
The chateau in Nantes
Chimneys and spires in Nantes
Chimneys and spires in Nantes
The drawbridge of the chateau in Nantes
The drawbridge of the chateau in Nantes
Artwork in the moat in the chateau at Nantes
Artwork in the moat in the chateau at Nantes

Having only paid for 3 hours on the car park, we then had to find it again and feed more money into the meter. Interestingly, it cost €4.20 for 2 hours but only €2 for 1 seemed somewhat strange logic to me.

We spent the next 2 hours at the Chateau in town, which was quite magnificent and free to enter, strolling along the ramparts and admiring the architecture. Then it was back to the car for our return trip to Le Pouliguen.

Moat of the chateau in Nantes
Moat of the chateau in Nantes
Along the ramparts of the chateau in Nantes
Along the ramparts of the chateau in Nantes
Chateau in Nantes
Chateau in Nantes
View from the ramparts in Nantes
View from the ramparts in Nantes
A gargoyle!
A gargoyle!
The former 'Petit Beurre' biscuit factory in Nantes
The former ‘Petit Beurre’ biscuit factory in Nantes
Community garden in Nantes
Community garden in Nantes
Artwork or real house?
Artwork or real house?

On the way home, we stopped at Coueron to view a house (or artwork), residing in the river and then at Batz to have a look at the craft market. By the time we arrived back at the apartment, I had a headache and my friends were in need of a drink so they went out, whilst I took paracetamol and went to bed.

Craft market in Batz
Craft market in Batz

La Baule

30 July

I spent a lot of time waiting today whilst my friends consulted and negotiated with a real estate agent about a property they were interested in . We eventually went out and bought supplies for lunch and dinner and then cycled to Guerande.

The ramparts in Guerande
The ramparts in Guerande
On the ramparts in Guerande
On the ramparts in Guerande
One of a number of figures in Guerande
One of a number of figures in Guerande

After a grey morning, the weather was starting to improve as we reached the town. We wandered along the ramparts and around the town, stopping fairly frequently for my friends to send txts (in French) backwards and forwards to the estate agent.

Street in Guerande
Street in Guerande
Txting and emailing....
Txting and emailing….
Church in Geurande
Church in Geurande

It was a very enjoyable afternoon. The town was very busy, even though the market had finished for the day. We visited the church and had coffee but my friends were still agonising over the as yet unbuilt apartment they were considering.

Outside a cafe in Guerande
Outside a cafe in Guerande
An NZ t shirt in a shop in Guerande!
An NZ t shirt in a shop in Guerande!

Despondency ensued after a reversed decision regarding the purchase resulted in a lot of wine being drunk before and with dinner. We then went out for coffee and to send an email to the estate agent. (Thank goodness for Google translate!) I’m sure the poor cafe owner is going to be very pleased when we leave.

La Baule

31 July

Today was a fairly lazy day. My friends had an appointment with another real estate agent at 10am so I tagged along when they went to view another unsuitable apartment. Afterwards, they decided to go to the beach, whilst I stayed on the balcony and read my book, supposedly for an hour but, in fact, was nearer 3!

Mussels on the rocks
Mussels on the rocks

I had my croissant and tartelette aux mirabelles (the latest ‘must have’ daily food) and later on, joined the others on the beach, where I stayed for a couple of hours. The tide was several miles out when I first arrived and my friends nowhere to be seen, so having placed my bag and towel next to bags and towels that I thought were theirs (would have been a little embarrassing if they weren’t!!), I set off for the water, expecting to see them along the way.

Low tide!
Low tide!
La Baule from the mussel rocks
La Baule from the mussel rocks
View towards La Baule from the mussel rocks
View towards La Baule from the mussel rocks
Sailing boats heading straight for me!
Sailing boats heading straight for me!
The lighthouse at La Baule
The lighthouse at La Baule

Quite a long time later, having walked across a lot of wet sand, I met up with them. They returned to the beach and I continued walking past the very many mussel covered rocks, almost to the lighthouse. However, by this time, the tide had turned and was starting to come in again, so, as I was a bit wary, I turned around and headed back to the beach.

I sunbathed for a while and then returned to the apartment, leaving the other two on the beach. They returned a while later and, after showering off the sand and sea water, we went out for dinner, deciding on the restaurant with the (non) smiley lady where the menu was cheap and the food was good. Today, though, the lady was smiley, obviously having recognised us from previous visits. I had some very excellent oysters, followed by paella (nothing like a well balanced meal!) and then we walked along the quay to buy freshly made chocolate crepes from the stall, after which we partook of coffee at our regular wifi cafe. It was a very good food day!

La Baule

1 August

We were all up early this morning as it was our last day and we had a lot to fit in! It started with a visit to the market at Mesquer, which wasn’t quite where we expected it to be (the market not the town), but we managed to track it down. We were hoping to find some local delicacies to take back to England, but, whilst there was some food, the market seemed to be predominantly clothing and many of the stalls we had seen before at other markets.

Anti pasto for sale in the market at Mesquer
Anti pasto for sale in the market at Mesquer
Very large artichokes for sale in the market
Very large artichokes for sale in the market
Sausages anyone?
Sausages anyone?
Strange things sold in the markets..!
Strange things sold in the markets..!

However, it was enjoyable nontheless and, once we had finished looking and making one or two purchases, we stopped at the supermarket, ostensibly for a bottle of wine for this evening, but ended up with rather a lot and then had to push the trolley quite a long way to the car (very bad planning on our part!)

Pushing the trolley full of wine!
Pushing the trolley full of wine!
The beach near Mesquer
The beach near Mesquer
Sign outside the cafe in Mesquer
Sign outside the cafe in Mesquer

By this time, we were more than ready for coffee, so we drove into Mesquer itself, which is quite a small town, stopping for me to have a look at the beach along the way. Mesquer was extremely quiet and what shops there were, were closing for lunch, so we had our coffee and started back to Le Pouliguen.

Our next adventure of the day was a bike ride along the ‘Cote Sauvage’, which is the coast going towards Batz, aiming for the Creperie to have lunch and cider.

The terrace of the Creperie
The terrace of the Creperie
View from the Creperie
View from the Creperie

The restaurant was quite full and approaching closing time when we arrived, so we had some very fast service. It was most enjoyable, though, to sit on the patio overlooking the sea and rocks, whilst we ate our galettes and ice cream (not together).

Lunch time galette
Lunch time galette
Cider in cups at the Creperie
Cider in cups at the Creperie

On the way back into Le Pouliguen, I reluctantly returned my bike. I had really enjoyed the cycle rides we had done over the last couple of weeks and was quite sad to see it go.

At our last visit to the beach, it was quite windy and not as warm as I would have liked, so I didn’t go into the water. After getting a bit too much sand blown into my mouth, I later decided to call it a day and went back to the apartment, leaving the others on the beach to play click clack.

The resident guard dog!!
The resident guard dog!!

We were then invited to the next door neighbours’ for drinks, as they had seen us going in and out each day and were most impressed with our bike rides! Thus we spent about three quarters of an hour conversing in French (understanding was a great deal better than the actual speaking!) and drinking a very strange concoction that was supposedly kir but tasting nothing like a kir that I had ever had before! The cassis was decidedly thick and must have been in the bottle for the last 10 years and the added wine was minimal, making it a very sweet drink. We noted that the couple, who were extremely friendly and whom my friends, unashamedly, pumped for local information about living in Le Pouliguen, didn’t have anything to drink themselves!

We eventually excused ourselves and went for dinner at a pizza restaurant by the market that we hadn’t visited before. This was an excellent choice, with most of the diners being young and the staff being very friendly, all of which added to the ambience. The food and wine was also most acceptable which helped!

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