Exploring around Royan

Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Flag of France  , Poitou-Charentes,
Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our first stop for the day was at Pointe Espagnol, familiar stomping grounds for Sheahan and Meghan when they had lived in Royan. This was my second visit to the beach and I was very glad for the clear blue skies (our last visit in 2008, it had been quite overcast). We stopped that morning at a bricolage (hardware store) to exchange our camping gas as it was close to running out. On the way to the Pointe, we encountered a couple of very interesting rondpoints (roundabouts) including one which just looked odd and a bit creepy. Partway through our trip, I decided I should take pictures of the interesting rondpoints we pass through and today definitely added a few to the list. We walked for a ways along the Pointe Espagnol, enjoying the sunshine and the view, collecting shells along the way. We saw the most enormous jellyfish that any of us had seen. The beach went for quite a few kilometers but we decided to turn back about after an hour or so. We sat in the beach parking lot, just beyond the dunes, and enjoyed a picnic lunch of cheese, bread, salads, rillettes and cold Orangina. After lunch, we drove on down to Royan, where we had been planning on meeting up with the Lafeuilles. After setting up camp in camping la Clairefontaine in Pontaillac, at the west end of Royan, we drove over to the Lafeuille's place. We didn’t see anyone home and after getting no answer to the door bell, Sheahan and James went over to see their home from ’94 and the school that Megs and Braeden had attended. Megs and I waited in front of the Lafeuille’s in case someone turned up and then about half an hour later, we saw someone get out of a car and walk right into the yard. It turned out that Sandrine had been home all along and the bell just hadn’t rung! Sheahan and James soon returned and we had a short visit with Sandrine and Didier before heading back to camp.

The next morning, we visited the market in Royan. We’d been to it several times before but it was James’ first time. We split off at the market and agreed to meet up with Sheahan and James around noon. The olive and fruit/vegetable stands were out in full force and made for a colourful market experience. We enjoyed browsing the stalls and picked out a number of things for a picnic lunch: rillettes, rice wraps, olives, bread, strawberries and some tarte salée. It was a bit of an odd assortment but when we sat down in the shade by the beachfront and ate lunch, it all disappeared pretty quickly.  Afterwards, we went for a stroll along the waterfront, admiring all the old houses that had survived the WWII bombings. It was very hot and humid out, with the temperature around the high twenties so we didn’t linger too long. We were all soon back at the campsite and enjoying the lovely pool which surprisingly we had pretty much all to ourselves. Just around sunset, we went for a walk down to the bay at Pontaillac. There was a magnificent sunset and with fishing carrelets lining the northern end of the bay, I was soon clambering up onto the rocks to get photos.

The following day, we drove to Ile d’Oléron and spent a few hours combing the beach by the citadel for more shells and wandering along the ramparts and into the citadel. Megs and Sheahan were on the hunt for shells that they called "lemons" because of their colour, hoping to find a few so that one could make it back to Braed. Megs was the only one that managed to find one so I’m not sure if Braeden will be getting it. We drove up island to Boyardville for lunch and settled down for a meal at a harbour front restaurant. It was a bit of let-down for Megs and I after the last few meals we’d enjoyed although Sheahan and James made better menu selections and they enjoyed their meals much more. Our appetizer of scallops gratinée was a bit of a non-event and Meghan’s main was a skewer of prawns with some cooked vegetables, a small salad and rice.  Unfortunately, the prawns were so overcooked, the skin was sticking to the meat. My skate ray was average – not overdone but too oily and nothing to write home about. Definitely not like the plate we’d had at the Café du Phare on the Ile de Ré. After lunch, we went for a short walk out to the beach at Boyardville and it was hot enough outside that we could have gone for a swim. We drove back to Royan shortly after and enjoyed the rest of the late afternoon at the pool.

The next morning, we packed up camp and headed off towards St. Palais for a short stroll along the coast to check out the fishing carrelets. It was a lovely walk along the waterfront and afterwards, we drove south until came to Talmont. Talmont is a cute little village that is situated on a point of land jutting out into the ocean. We walked around the tiny streets of the village, admiring the houses and all the flowers lining the streets and trailing up rock walls. We walked around to the church, which towers over the rest of the town and overlooks the ocean, and then past the cemetery. We weren’t doing a planned walking tour of town but were still making it a point to wander up and down as many little streets as we could. There was an amazing amount of flowers in bloom and the roses looked especially amazing, trailing their way up rock walls. By around lunch time, we were back at the van and sat out for a picnic lunch. While the others snacked, I headed over to a viewpoint across the bay. It offered excellent views back over the coastline, lined with colourful fishing carrelets, and the town of Talmont jutting out into the ocean. I got a bit carried away taking photos and had to jog back down to the parking lot so as not be left behind. I had lunch en route to campsite in Beynac, where we had stayed back in early March. 
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