We changed our plans yet again on leaving Dompierre-sur-Charente last Monday and instead of going north, we headed west to the lively seaside town of Royan on the Gironde Estuary and enjoyed a couple of swims in the unusually warm Atlantic Ocean as well as a long cycle ride along the seafront all the way to the far end of town and the port, soaking up he beautiful views along the way.
It reminded us slightly of our visit to Lake Garda in Italy 3 years ago, which was empty and peaceful in the morning, but heaving with people and yachts in the afternoon heat. Equally, we were spoilt for choice on Royan beach in the morning, but when we came back after lunch and Beano’s walk, it was a bit harder to find a good spot. Still, we swam in the ocean again and continued our cycle ride to the point.
We also like the unusual buildings opposite the beach, some from the Belle Époque era, and the quaint beach huts and I couldn’t resist taking photos of some of them.
The motorhome aire we stayed at is part of the Camping Car Park system and is situated by Planet Exotica, only a 10-minute walk to the beach, restaurants and the shops. There is also an excellent restaurant nearby, L’Avocette, where we had a very innovative, creative and delicious meal and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.
We met a lovely and very friendly Irish couple, Joe and Huggy, parked next to us who said they were coming to Île d’Oléron the next day and, as we had never been here before, we thought we might as well keep going north west and explore the area a little bit.
We arrived at St Denis d’Oléron, on the far north west end of the island, yesterday at lunchtime and just walked to the village down the road from the aire to get a feel of the place and find out where the shops are and this morning we cycled all the way to the lighthouse or Phare de Chassiron. It was a cloudy morning and it seemed like many people had the same idea, as it wasn’t really beach weather, so there were lots of other cyclist on the road and a long queue to climb up to the top of the lighthouse itself. We opted to stay on the ground and enjoy the views out to see and towards La Rochelle at the north. We were intrigued by the traditional fishing method of using locks or écluses to trap the fish at high tide using a series of stone walls with grids to keep the fish in the lock when the sea receded: very ingenious and unique to this area. This is now a scientific conservation area and no fishing of any kind is allowed: fascinating and beautiful!
Joe and Huggy invited us round last night to enjoy a BBQ together, so it is our turn tonight. We have bought some mussels to make Moules Marinière and we will follow that with spaghetti Bolognese!