27 October 2018

Tasha's restaurant adventure

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.


  1. Did you have a chance to go to Les Sables d'Olonne? If so, did you eat fresh sardines there which is their specialty?

    Also, did you have a chance to see the phare Rouge on the remblai. That's were we used to sit on the beach when we spent summers in Les Sables in the late 20s and early 30s. That's where my father taught me how to swim when he didn't teach me how to recognize and pronounce the letters of the alphabet! Memories!

    1. We really just had time to drive the length of the remblai in Les Sables d'Olonne. The weather was beautiful and there were millions of people out there, walking or sitting on the beach, swimming or surfing. With the dog, it's not easy to move around in crowds. And we didn't get anything to eat, not even one sardine. I think there are no longer any sardine processing plants in the area. And the lanterne ou phare rouge seems to have been moved from its old location. We didn't see it. Look at this page.

  2. Oh the air must have felt so good :) I want to go to the beach ! I live in Florida and have not been to the beach ! Tasha is such a beauty. While living in Buenos Aires, we would take our standard poodle Tate with us everywhere. He was a total cafe pup .. he had favorite waiters all over town ! From the first time, we would sit down at a table and tell him Down and he would end up next to my chair or under the table where he was out of the way and in close proximity of snacks being slipped to him. Funny how easy all that was to tech him :)

  3. Isn't it lovely when things come together. What a great place to eat lunch with Tasha. Wasn't La Rochelle connected with The Cardinal in the Alexandre Dumas books?

  4. I just love those old French market halls like the one in your picture.

  5. Oh, wow! When did all of this occur? You did a very good job of not letting on that you were gone :)
    I'm so pleased for you two (three) to be more able to travel now.
    And, yes, I did think it was unusual that you suddenly had such a hankering for fresh fish, and that the bream at the fish monger's was so fresh :) Ha! I can't WAIT to see more!

  6. Glad you enjoyed your vaycay. The market hall is a lovely building, maybe late 19th century? Nice that Tasha was able to enjoy the restaurant scene.

  7. French market halls are full of interesting treats! Love your sweet Tasha and how she has become a traveling dog with you, two! Glad the restaurant experience went so well and that you had such warm temps. The weather here has become 10 - 15 degrees cooler this week than earlier this month. One of my classmates (french) did a report on La Rachelle and Noirmoutier. I will share your post with the class on Monday!

    Mary in Oregon

  8. Can't wait to see and read more about your vacation - and Tasha's...

  9. Oh so happy for you to have such a nice vacation. I've wanted to go to Noirmoutier for a long time. Tasha is now a certified traveler!

  10. " I think there are no longer any sardine processing plants in the area."
    I wonder where all the sardines are processed these days. There used to be dozens of sardine canneries on the Maine coast, particularly in the Down East town of Eastport. I believe all are closed now, but I think that every New Year's Eve a large sardine sculpture is lowered in Eastport at midnite.


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