You might have figured out by now that when I bought and cooked fish the other day, we were on the coast. The fish market where I bought the "sea bream" that I cooked and posted about is in the central market hall in La Rochelle (photo above), which is an old port city on the Atlantic Ocean north of Bordeaux and south of Brittany.
We spent a week in the area, and we also visited the coastal island of Noirmoutier, the port/resort called Les Sables d'Olonne ("the sands of Olonne"), and the beautiful old city of Niort. I have a lot of photos to post. Over the course of a week, we went to exactly one restaurant, and it was in La Rochelle. That's because we were traveling with a dog, and it was too hot to leave her closed up in the car. While dogs are welcome in many French restaurants, Tasha had never had the restaurant experience before, and we didn't know how she'd behave.
In La Rochelle, there's a long row of restaurants with outdoor seating along the street that runs along the western edge of the town's old harbor (photo of view above). We got to town at mid-morning, and after walking around and taking pictures for an hour or so, we decided to sit down and eat lunch. We got a table at a sidewalk café, on the edge of the seating area where Tasha would be out of the way and less likely to bother anybody or get stepped on.
We made sure we got there early so that we'd have our choice of tables. By 12:30, there wasn't a free table left on the terrace. Tasha was very good. She barked a couple of times when people rode by on bicycles, but nobody seemed to notice. She enjoyed attention and petting from a little girl sitting with her mother at the table next to ours. The waitperson brought a container of cold water for the dog when we sat down and ordered our lunch.
The food and wine were good. The sun was shining brightly. The temperature was in the low 70s in ºF but it felt a lot warmer in the sun. There was only a slight breeze. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. In fact, during the week we spent on the coast not one drop of rain fell. There was fog some mornings but the afternoons were sunny and pleasant. It felt like what northern French summertime weather feels like.