August Getaway: La Rochelle

Since Matt’s new job doesn’t start until next month, we’ve had a lot of free time this summer to travel and visit many different things. Besides going to St. Sorlin, another annual summer trip Matt’s family makes is to La Rochelle, a touristic beach city eight hours away on the Atlantic. The last time that either one of us was there was in August 2010, the first time I visited France. This time we went there for Matt’s aunt’s wedding, which was especially nice because Matt’s family from Canada came as well and I was finally able to meet them. Matt’s grandmother owns a little piece of land right on the beach in an adjacent town to La Rochelle called Angoulins. For about two weeks we “roughed it” while French camping, although technically we were camping since we stayed in a tent while everyone else had a camper. This was very luxurious camping: showers, electricity, a kitchen, a covered place to eat and hang out, a washing machine, etc. But after two weeks staying there we were quite ready to come back home to our cozy little apartment. Solo, on the other hand, did not want to leave!

We did enjoy our time there, though. The first time I visited La Rochelle and Angoulins we saw a lot! This time we did more relaxing things, but we still took a day to do my favorite activity there: go on a bike ride around Ile d’Aix! I love bike rides and I really miss having a bike. After Matt starts working again I hope we’ll be able to buy a bike for me, but until then I’ll just keep hinting at wanting one! For those of you who read my last post, remember when I said we bring Solo everywhere? Well this was the day Solo went on his first boat ride and his first bike ride. He’s still a puppy and isn’t supposed to run too much, and he’s a mountain dog, not a beach dog, so he’s also not supposed to be outside in the hot sun all day (and he knows it too, that’s why whenever he’s in the sun he immediately finds the closet spot of shade and plops himself down!). So to make things easier for all of us, we rented one of those little children’s bike trailers and buckled Solo in behind us while we rode around the island. At first I was pretty nervous about it, because Solo clearly did not want to be in there. But after a few trials he finally stayed put and seemed to relax a lot. I already feel that we treat Solo as our own baby, but that day proved it! My brother- and sister-in-law rented a trailer for Timéa and Matt’s cousins from Canada also rented one for their two-year old, making it even funnier that we put Solo in a trailer of his own!

Also during our trip we visited the old city of La Rochelle, which is beautiful and is Matt’s favorite place in France (I still haven’t asked him if he prefers it over Disney World so I can’t say if it’s his favorite place ever!). The main landmark in the city is the old fort that’s surrounded by dozens of street merchants and so many delicious restaurants, one of which served the most delicious duck leg I’ve ever had…just thinking about it makes me hungry! Next time we visit I would really like to spend more time in the old city, because it is simply gorgeous and there are so many shops and things to visit.

The hardest parts about visiting La Rochelle and Angoulins, however, are the eight-hour car rides and the lack of the amazing foods from this side of France. Unsurprisingly they eat a lot of seafood over there, but where we live most meals are made with cheese and potatoes! Mmm! Overall, though, it was a very fun trip and we can’t wait to go camping again…and this time I mean real camping!

Some snapshots from our trip to La Rochelle in August. The “mountains” in the middle of the bottom row are actually extinct volcanoes in Clermont-Ferrand!

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