Monday, May 14, 2012


We have been sleeping in. I guess that is what holiday means, a bit of relaxation, but we have had some late starts to days. Jet lag isn't something we equated with Europe. It was home for so long, and jet lag was just for visitors. Now that's us.

I got up early(ish) on Friday to join Julie at the Beziers flower market. A flower market. Sigh...

Fresh flower, French city was delightful.

Julie bought some peonies, snapdragons, sunflowers and a basil plant. Carrying all the bunches through the market was so lovely.

The colours and smells...

The only thing that could improve the experience was a coffee and croissant in the square.

When we got home with our fleurs bounty, Eric and I headed off for the day. We have somehow managed to hit almost every beach between the Spanish border and Montpellier. We now consider ourselves experts on les plages.

Our first stop was Leucate. The town itself (like nearly all the beach towns) was modern and somewhat devoid of typical French charm. The beach, however, was much better than we expected.

It is early in the season still, but these beaches get packed with people. And no wonder. The sand is nice and fine and the water is clear (and cold, at least right now).

We enjoyed a baguette and dipped our toes in the water.

Because it is France, we got lots of views of topless ladies. Some of whom needed a friend to let them know that there days of productive and appealing toplessness were behind them. Maybe the more attractive women come a little later in the season?

And of course, what's a French beach without a ridiculous display of public affection. The topless couple in the foreground of the picture below put on quite a display. She never got off his lap and the grinding and humping pretty much horrified my prudish North American sensibilities.

So Eric went topless to score one for the Canadians. It was blinding.

I just squished my toes in the soft sand.

And soaked the bottom of my pants playing chicken in the waves. Top very much on...

Next stop was Le Franqui, another beach close by. It had a huge mud flat with really warm water and a sand spit that fronted onto the ocean and backed onto the mud flats.

It also had a great restaurant that was begging for us to stop for a beer.

The temperature was perfect, the beer was cold, the water was lapping the was ideal.

You can see the sand spit in the distance.

We booted home to get ready for dinner at Le Chat qui Peche. On our way down to the restaurant, we stopped in for a tour on the Athos, the canal boat run and operated by Julie and Darren's friends, Danielle and Julian.

It is an impressive operation, with five double cabins onboard and a huge commercial kitchen.

It is a luxurious holiday for the people who take their week-long cruises up the Canal du Midi.

Darren and I with the canal behind us.

This picture of the wheel is for my dad. Nice, eh?

The view from the wheelhouse is, as you can see in the picture below, quite limited. I don't know how Julian can possibly navigate this MASSIVE nose in front of him. The boat weighs 180 tons. It is a beast.

The view from the restaurant.

We ate dinner at the picnic table under the blue umbrella. The band playing was called "So Fast". They were...interesting. It wasn't bad, but for a long time I thought they were singing the French versions of well-known songs. They weren't. They were singing in "English", but boy, was it ever rough approximations of phonetic lyrics.

A great dinner and even better company.

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