25 August 2006

Part VII. People.

(NB: it's best to read the entries for France in order if you can be bothered.)

(i) Armagnac barrels. Phil, mini-me and mini-him.
(ii) Pimms o'clock.
(iii) Nirvana Baby
(iv) Mini-him almost in the pool
(v) Phil at Pyla

(vi) Creperie in the Place Royale
(vii) Kids at Notre-Dame des Cyclistes.

Part VI. Centre Jean Rostand.

Thrilled, as only booksellers can be, by the prospect of finding something to do with the author of Cyrano de Bergerac, we headed for the Centre Jean Rostand to discover it was his son. Who kept frogs. Or something. Anyway, the teenagers brightened noticeably at this point so we went and learnt all about the conservation of frogs, turtles and more types of fern than you can shake a toad at. We saw irridescent blue beetles, a praying mantis, a snake and a basking turtles.

Part V. Notre Dame des Cyclistes.

The idea for this church was created by a priest to serve as a place on the Tour de France for cyclists. Now it has become more of a museum jammed full of maillots/jerseys of famous and topical sportsmen.
We saw Lance Armstrong's jersey, bicycles from the turn of the century and even the stained glass windows were pictures of the Tour de France. As something of a token gesture they had copies of the Hail Mary in many different languages around the church representing the countries of the race participants.
Photography was strictly prohibited so these snaps are literally shot from the hip.

Part IV. Armagnac.

Maps that bore no relationship to reality became a bit of a theme on this holiday and the ecomusee was no exception. Essentially we wandered round the vineyards and etangs enjoying ourselves but having no idea where we were. Thankfully the degustation came at the end of the walk because after a glass or two of floc (aperitif - yes i know i've spelt that two different ways in my blog) and armagnac (digestif) the place looked even more like a maze than before.

I've never done this kind of thing before and on most days of the holiday I felt like I was wandering through a classy travel guide or photographic art book.

part III. nicked photos.

Some great pics taken by Phil from our trip that I have shamelessly stolen from his livejournal scrapbook.

Part II. Arcachon.

This is a view from the Dune de Pyla (spelling varies dependent on your map!) which is the largest dune in Europe. It is enormous! Phil, who joined us on our trip, said that it dwarfed his 4x4 sand dune exploits in Morocco! I visited Pyla 18 years ago with Karine and her family and it was a lot of fun going back with my own family.

The pictures of the Basin d'Arcachon remind me of pictures from 'The Earth from the Air' book that you look at and imagine you'll never get to see yourself. I felt very lucky on this trip away.

24 August 2006

Perfection part I

Back from a week in the stunning La Bastide d'Armagnac A region in south west France in the departement of Landes.

Famous for it's pate de foie gras, Armagnac eau de vie, Floc aperatif, pine forests, atlantic coast, wine regions and bastide towns.
Our accommodation was stunning. Many hours were spent soaking up rays by the pool in the back garden.

We spent mornings swimming and sleeping off the alcohol from the day before.

We took a day trip out to the basin d'Arcachon that I visited 18 years ago. At Pyla, they have Europe's largest sand dune. which is a killer to get up but a lot of fun going back down. The view over to Cap Feret, the bay and sandbanks is breath taking.