11 June 2008

Oysters on Oléron

As you might know, when we were on the Ile d'Oléron in May, the commercial fishermen were on strike against high diesel fuel prices and the boats were not going out to fish. So there were no or very few fish available for purchase. Even the restaurants ran out.


While it is an important fishing center, the Ile d'Oléron is especially known for its oyster beds and ponds. The oysters are farmed; they are gathered in the offshore waters, separated into what in North Carolina we call "singles," and then placed in salt ponds to fatten up. After that, they are taken to market.

Here you can buy oysters, mussels,
and wines made on the Ile d'Oleron.

One of the prime oyster-raising areas is on the north shore of the island, north of Saint-Pierre d'Oléron and between Boyardville and Le Château d'Oléron. It's an area of canals, ponds, and little wooden oyster shacks. In the ponds lives a particular variety of green algae that the oysters feed on (I think) and that gives their flesh a pretty green color.


Oyster shacks

All this reminds me very much of the North Carolina (and Virgnia and Maryland) coast, at least the way it was 25 to 50 years ago. It's changed now.


  1. Wow, I was thinking,too, as I looked at the photos that it reminded me of small-town coastal New England, too... certainly not the typical French scenery that most Americans think of. I love it! Thanks for showing us all of this. :)


  2. no comments,just hello de Isabelle,Daniel et Pat

  3. That sign would have fooled me, I would have thought "more fish". Is the usage an idiom? Babel Fish (no pun intended) translated it as "more fish, sinners on strike" - an intriguing concept. I guess those little accent marks really matter...

  4. Yes, John, part of the sentence is understood but not said: (Nous n'avons) plus de poissons. And there is definitely a difference between pécheurs (sinners) and pêcheurs (fishermen), though the two words are pronounced the same.

  5. It's in that European tradition of using a positive when you mean a negative, isn't Ken? I've never got the hang of the rules of that game I must admit.

  6. Hi Susan, we just came back from a visit with Simon down at Preuilly. Nice place you have.

    As for the French negatives, they all evolved out of ne + ... constructions. The ne eroded phonetically to such an extent that it has nearly disappeared in the informal spoken language.

    Ne + plus means no longer or no more. Ne + pas is the all purpose negative meaning not and evolved from je ne vais pas -- I'm not going a step. Un pas is a step. Ne + point as in je ne vois point means I see nothing, not even a point. And ne + jamais means not ever. And so on.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?