La Rochelle, Le Retour

Gare La Rochelle

We’re back in La Rochelle, first time since our long séjour in 2014. Planes, trains and automobiles were all involved, but we’re here at last. I can already tell I’m a bit more comfortable speaking French. I chatted with the Paris taxi driver most of the way from the airport to Gare Montparnasse, then dealt with an issue on the train without switching to English. When asked if I spoke French or English, I said “les deux” (both) and defended our right to our seats in French without hesitation.

What fun it was to walk out of the train station, to the familiar streets of this charming town . . .

Rue Bazoges, La Rochelle

Yesterday afternoon, we scrambled to get a few groceries to tide us over until Tuesday, since most shops close on Sundays, and Monday is a holiday in France, so we weren’t really able to take advantage of the warmth and sunshine–not to mention being nearly comatose from fatigue.

Today, Sunday, after an excellent night’s sleep, we were ready to reacquaint ourselves with one of our favorite places. Half a block from our apartment, the main central marché was open . . .

Le Vieux Marché, La Rochelle

This marché is open every day, so we buy only what we need for the day or in this case two days, since I wasn’t sure about the holiday tomorrow.

The breeze was a bit brisk this morning and the sky was overcast, but it wasn’t too bad. Then the weather went a little crazy around noon, sending chairs and signs flying. Fortunately, we were already installed inside a port-side café by then, with pineau des Charentes and moules frites, so were able to watch the drama from l’intérieur.

Here’s le vieux port on sunnier days back in 2014.

Le Vieux Port, La Rochelle
View over Le Vieux Port, La Rochelle, to the famous three towers

The space got a bit cozy as more and more people sought shelter, but that created an air of camaraderie enough that we (well, mostly I, since it was in French) ended up chatting a bit with the people at the next table. (Remember the “next” table in France is often only 3 or 4 inches from your own.) It reminded me of Frederick Buechner’s comments about rainy days.

We lingered a bit over coffee and dessert, but finally ventured out to head back “home.” What a relief it is, having an apartment this time en plein centre ville (right in the center of town). Still David has done more walking in the past two days than he has in months, but he insists he’s doing well.

With the intermittent rain, we took advantage of les arcades . . .

Les Arcades, La Rochelle

. . . which covered us nearly all the way back to the apartment.

Tomorrow, we’ll see Pascale and Jacky, our companions in so many adventures. Can’t wait.

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.  Amelia Earhart

Wishing you congenial companions in both adversity and adventure!


7 thoughts on “La Rochelle, Le Retour”

  1. Great. Keep us up to date. For those of us who know a (very) little French, I think it would be fun for you to write a paragraph or two in English, and then write it as you would say it in French. Maybe a paragraph describing one of the photos.

    1. Great idea, except that although I said I didn’t hesitate, I can’t promise I said anything correctly! Writing is a little easier, though, since I can look things up. Maybe I will try it, especially if one or more of my French friends will offer corrections!

  2. oh la la, le pineau… miam miam… les arcades, la pluie…… ca me manque vraiment.

  3. jacky once taught me something. I think it’s mean something like what’s up…. it’s pronounced kes-ki-kuhl-lek-chuh. try it out on him 😉

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