After Bordeaux, we drove North to the coast. The drive takes you through the Medoc region, which is known for it's glorious Chateaux and vineyards. The roads are quiet and lined with vine after vine of the most glorious grapes - ranging in colour from blueberry blue through to deep purple. We meandered through the countryside, stopping to peek through gates and run around castles.
The beaches on the West coast of france are beautiful - rugged and natural with fine sand and cold water. At the beach house we found some very vague instructions to a beach that was described as having a shallow pool good for little ones. On the only rainy day, we set out not knowing where we were going or what we would find. After a short drive with the musical accompaniment of crazy Euro pop on the radio, we were greeted by a small forest. Tall sand dunes lined a perfectly empty beach. Along the front of the beach was an old railway line sheltered by rocks, and it was slightly grey and melancholic. It was special. We stomped around in the sand, searching for feathers and rocks and shells. The rain got a little heavy so we left knowing that we'd be back the next day.
That day, it was all blue skies and sunshine. At high tide the water splashes over the rocks and pools on the other side of the tracks creating a little pond of perfect water. Warm from sun and deep enough to paddle safely (or be towed around on a body board by an obliging Daddy, whichever you prefer). I collected a bucket full of mussels which we took home and cooked for dinner. We built a fort of sand castles, ate a very french picnic and stayed until we we're all happily exhausted and sea salty.
Near the perfect beach was a pretty little town called Soulac sur Mer. It had a wonderful ice cream shop, a few bakeries and a restaurant on the beach that served the best confit duck. I should mention here that if you go to Bordeaux (or any where near) then you HAVE to eat Caneles. They are the most devine little rum cakes, traditionally eaten at breakfast but appropriate always. They were so good, I didn't even give myself a chance to photograph one before eating. Oops.
On the last day, after dinner we put S in his PJ's and walked to our own little beach to watch the sun go down. The sky looked like it had been painted in the most wonderful arrangement of orange and pink and blue and grey. Quietly we stood together and said goodbye, not really wanting to leave.
Here you can read about Bordeaux and the Beach House