Wednesday, August 01, 2012

ROYAN


After Isabella's morning french lesson was done today, we decided to spend the rest of the day in Royan and enjoy the beach. Eat some ice cream.


Located 72km straight west of Jarnac,  Royan sits on the north side of the  Gironde estuary, and it  is here where I got my very first taste of La Vie en France. 
In 1984, working for a Parisian family who spent their summer holidays here and lucky me got to tag along for 9 weeks. So there are some fond memories.


The area due to it's strategic location was heavily fortified by the Germans during the war and even after D-Day they dug in here for a while. Which prompted the Royal Air Force to bomb this resort town to Kingdom come and back. 
The most visible result of this pounding is a very mixed set of architecture you encounter as you walk around town. Mostly mid century big buildings, such as their church and the market hall, with some great Victorian structures that survived the raid. 
Not always pretty, sometimes hideous. But the town does make up for it's lack of character with a bustling summer season, as the population increases ten fold in July and August. 


Traffic in and out was OK, but on weekends it can get horrible. We got there at noon and for August it was surprisingly low key. 
We got a parking spot right down town by the promenade, the beach was not packed,  maybe because the morning did not look as promising weather wise? The clouds moved on and we had great weather for the afternoon. 


If you head there, in season or not, ice cream at the Regent is a safe bet. Huge selection and excellent quality.  Since most restaurants seems to cater to the throngs of tourists and we would not get anyone paying attention to dietary restrictions, we passed and brought our own sandwich lunch.
But when we walked the promenade, some of the seafood on display looked fantastic. 







OCEAN FRONT

THE GOOD OLD TIMES

THE BRITS DID THAT

ICONIC 1950'S ARCHITECTURE

NOT THE NICEST

COVERED PROMENADE

KEBAB!

WHERE I LIVED IN THE SUMMER OF 1984

STILL THERE - BEACH SHACK WHERE WE HUNG OUT

THE BEACH

NOT AS CROWDED AS EXPECTED


THE BEST ICE CREAM IN ROYAN




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