One thing today — Christmas Eve — and last October 24 have in common is how uncommonly warm the weather is. Our low temperature here in the Saint-Aignan area (Val de Loire) is, at 12ºC, a lot warmer than our normal high temperature for the day would be. In other words, it's 54ºF right now, and we would expect it to be nearly 20ºF colder. It's almost weird.
When we were out on the Île de Noirmoutier, two months ago today, it was the same story. As you'll see in some of the photos I'm going to be posting now, it was almost as warm as a day in May or even June then — in late October. We had driven two hours from the gîte we had rented for the week, and there was dense fog along the way as we passed by the big towns of La Roche-sur-Yon and Challans. When we arrived at the coast and drove over the big high-rise bridge onto the island, the fog lifted and skies turned sunny and blue. La pêche à pied, by the way, means "fishing on foot" — gathering shellfish.
Noirmoutier was one of the places, along with La Rochelle and Niort, that we really wanted to see in the Vendée area. Neither of us had ever been there before. The coastal island has a surface area of about 20 square miles (48 km²) and a year-round population of about 10,000. It's nearly 12 miles from bottom to top, and on the island there are 15,000 housing units (logements in French) but two-thirds of them (10K) are vacation or summer places (résidences secondaires). Noirmoutier is closer to Brittany than to Bordeaux, but it feels southern somehow. It must be really crowded and congested in summertime.
Here's a map of the island. We drove up as far north as we could, looking for a place to eat the picnic lunch we had packed for our noontime meal. We finally found one, but not before we had stopped to take a walk on the beach with Tasha the Sheltie puppy. A lot of people were out taking advantage of the beautiful weather and very low tide. The seaweed smelled like fresh oysters. As someone who grew up on the low, marshy, sandy North Carolina coast, Noirmoutier smelled like home to me — just as San Francisco did three decades ago the first time I took a walk on the wharves along the bay there.
Merry Christmas to you & WaltReplyDelete
Merry Christmas to you and yours, too, Melinda.Delete
Happy Holidays to you and Walt and the animals ... from a surprisingly cold Florida USA ..ReplyDelete
Happy Holidays to you, Candice. And all the best for 2019. KenDelete
Merry Christmas eve! Enjoy your Reveillon feast :)ReplyDelete
Happy Christmas to you, Judy.Delete
Merry Christmas! It's 52 here- we are enjoying our first Christmas in our new house here in Birmingham.ReplyDelete
Merry Christmas, E & LDelete
Merry Christmas! I miss the smell of oysters from the salt marsh creek behind my house. I forget the term for that mud oyster smell. We've had so much rain during the last hurricane and until recently it must be close to fresh water by now. The herons and ducks still visit, so maybe there are a few feeder fish that venture in the creek. Wishing you and Walt and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!ReplyDelete
Sorry about those oysters. They'll come back. I hope they have a good 2019, and you too.Delete