2018 has been a great year so far, there is lots coming up to look forward to including Disney World, Disneyland Paris, C2C and Taylor Swift in concert. The year started off though with a quick weekend trip to my parents in France, we managed to find some really cheap EasyJet flights from Bristol to Bordeaux. It’s always lovely to catch up with family and unfortunately, with them living in a different country, I see them a lot less than I would like. That being said we always manage to cram loads into our short visits.
We went to Royan on the first day to enjoy the Atlantic Coast and a couple of nice walks. It was, as expected for January, cold at the coast but that didn’t stop us enjoying a walk along the seafront. There was even a group of people who were swimming in the sea despite the freezing temperature. Royan is a bit of a ghost town during the Winter months, nearly all of the shops and restaurants are closed. It’s a stark contrast to what it’s like in Summer where you will struggle to find a table in one of the many restaurants that line the beachside. We drove from here along the coastal road to Saint-Palais-Sur-Mur where we quickly hopped out the car to see some amazing sand-art before continuing round to Le Pont Du Diable which translates to The Devils Bridge. Here there’s a long stretch of beautiful, golden beach with a natural limestone peninsula. The local legend states that in the Middle Ages a fisherman in distress during a violent storm got into trouble on the reefs at the end of the peninsula and that he sold his soul to the Devil and in exchange the Devil built a stone bridge for him to return to the mainland. It’s easily accessible from either the beach or down a set of stairs cut into the cliff face, just make sure to keep an eye on the tides and please if you do visit here and climb on it, be careful!
The sun was starting to set over the sea as we were walking around and this made for some beautiful photos. I would have loved to stick around longer for some more but it was so cold and I couldn’t feel my hands so we headed to a little cafe nearby for some hot chocolate and a crepe. Ooh, how French!
Our second day started with a great little fry up from my parents before we went out for another walk. It was still cold but the sun was shining and it seemed such a shame to sit inside all day. We went to a local spot called Rioux-Martin for a walk around the lake there. A lot of the other local walks were either flooded or far too muddy to even attempt but this one had a semi-decent path running around it. We bumped into quite a few other families who all had the same idea. The French are a friendly bunch, as you walk around and pass others they will always say hello and acknowledge you, bit of a stark contrast to most peoples perceptions of the French.
It was a very scenic walk through some woods and over little woodland streams and we ended the walk with some gorgeous reflections on the still waters of the lake. The only thing that ruined this day was the hunting. What I always seem to forget when I go to France early in the year is that its hunting season. It’s really bizarre, you just see lots of white vans dotted around the French countryside and even just sat in your back garden can hear the gunshots and calls of the hunts. My dad always makes a point out of beeping his car horn really loudly when we pass any obvious hunters, give the animals a bit of a head start. The hunters are pretty easy to spot, they have to wear high-visibility jackets and of course, they are carrying guns. Not a normal sight. One of the hunts must have been ending near the lake as the lead huntsman was there with a group of about 12 beagle dogs and blowing his trumpet to call in the rest of the hunt. It’s a horrid sight to see but unfortunately as I said it’s normal there at this time of the year.
Unfortunately, before we knew it we had to pack up to head home. I managed to fit in a quick visit to Angouleme for a bit of shopping and some lunch before we headed off to the airport. It’s always so sad to say goodbye to family but I just have to keep looking forward to our next adventure. Thankfully that’s coming up soon!