Sharing La Rochelle

We had a new adventure yesterday that I want to tell you about, but first thought I’d better finish and post this one. Next post — Noirmoutier!

La Rochelle, being much smaller, is easier to share with guests than Paris, of course, but there still turned out to be plenty to do. After surviving the trek up all the stairs to Sacré Coeur (Paris, of course) that we did with Chelsea . . .

Sacré-Coeur -- Photo by Chelsea
Sacré-Coeur — Photo by Chelsea
See? Still smiling! (Note our favorite street performer warming up in the background.)
See? Still smiling! (Note our favorite street performer warming up in the background.) Photo by Chelsea

. . . we were ready to take both daughters to climb the three famous towers of La Rochelle. I’ve already shared a few of Chelsea’s shots from the top of Tour de la Lanterne. Here’s one from inside a tower, maybe Tour Saint-Nicolas, since it’s the one with stairways going every which way:

Photo by Chelsea
Photo by Chelsea

All three towers have great little book and gift shops on the ground level that I’ve never had enough time to enjoy, but since David had headed back to the house after lunch, missing the last tower, Chelsea and I could browse a bit. David is NOT a fan of shopping of any sort. Once I bought him a polo shirt here in La Rochelle, and he wouldn’t even go into the shop. Le vendeur (sales guy) came with me outside to look at him, to verify I was choosing the right size. Now that’s service! But with Chelsea I had time to discover that Tracy Chevalier has written a novel inspired by my favorite tapestries . . .

La Dame et la Licorne
La Dame à la Licorne –Photo of a notecard. The real tapestries are enormous and stunning and in Paris at le Musée de Cluny, also called le Musée national du Moyen Age.

. . .  AND someone has translated it into French. Woohoo! Not going to find THAT in Fort Collins, Colorado. Not in French, anyway.

David took Brittany when it was her turn to climb the towers, and I stayed home to recuperate from Paris and to work on my Versailles post. When it came to shopping, however, it was all me (see above). La Rochelle has a lot of nice shops, and I’m pretty sure I have now been into well over half of them. On the plus side, when I first got here, I was afraid to even walk in the door of a shop, not knowing what to say, but my first tutor one day patiently took me shopping to show me what to do and say, and most of all, that both the shopkeeper and I would survive the experience. Now I think of shopping as lots of little free French lessons, with the occasional bonus of finding something great, like these . . .

Macarons, D'Jolly, La Rochelle
Macarons, D’Jolly, La Rochelle

. . . or the fabulous leather jacket Chelsea found right away, but didn’t buy until I’d made her look at pretty much EVERY other leather jacket in La Rochelle. I learned my lesson and did not dissuade Brittany from buying the very first belt she found!

And finally, Brittany inspired us to do something we had not yet done on our own. She wanted to get out on a boat somehow, and their are a LOT of boats here:

Sailboats in Port Cropped

However, none of them belong to us, and not having a lot of time, we settled for the bus de mer, a boat “bus” that runs out to Les Minimes, the larger beach of La Rochelle. David and I walk so much, we had never tried it, but it was actually pretty entertaining. Nice to be back on the water, but with NO RESPONSIBILITY. Okay, so it only lasts about ten minutes each way, but still. Pretty views:

La Rochelle en Bateau
La Rochelle en Bateau

On the way back to the vieux port I went up to the bow and asked permission to step out of the enclosed passenger area to take this photo. While I was there talking with the guy NOT driving the boat, and noting the red buoy smack in the middle of my photo, I asked him for the French word for it. “Bouée,” he replied, same word, but with a French flair. Yes, sometimes French really is that easy.          But . . .malheureusement . . . mostly not!

Here’s wishing you the joy of learning something new every day!



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