Thursday, June 21, 2012


For me, this day is special. I love daylight, sunlight, brightness inside and out. And so of course, I’m going to be very fond of a day that has the greatest number of minutes when the sun is shining down on us. And here, in Sorède, it most certainly is shining down on us. June 20th promises to be full of blue skies and light breezes.

A day for La Franqui beach.

La Franqui is the farthest of our favorites, but it is also the best (in my view) and this will be our second and last trip to it.

But first, the walk down for breakfast, past Ed’s best cat pal (one of only two that willingly indulges a long petting session)...

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...past the usual groups, with dogs, with baguettes, with shopping bags – often all three...

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...past cyclists, 'sportif' or otherwise...

DSC08922 - Version 2 the bakery. Hello once favorite and still beloved village bakery! We’ll have two pains au chocolat and the baguette. There, loyalty trumps! (Sort of.)


Ed has taken to drinking a small beer for breakfast. Many here do and I can see the attraction – it’s cheaper than water, more thirst quenching than a hot chocolate. I stick with café crème.

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We walk back up, Ed pets cat, the usual routine (as the woman, who most every day, every hour it seems, watches the comings and goings -- including of this odd tall man who takes the time to scratch the cheeks of the old black and white cat)...

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So we are home. But now we mess with the details a bit. We want to drive to some of the coastal towns and see if there are boats for rent. We’ll take lunch with us – to eat on the beach afterwards. And since we’re driving past Le Furneil bakery, we may as well pick up (what we actually reserved for today) one of their very interesting chocolate baguettes. It is La Petrie (our favorite) au chocolat (with this interesting twist.)

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Okay, baguette’s in the car, along with packed cheeses, tomato, fruits, waters. Off we go.

It’s a winding (and therefore long-ish) drive and it doesn’t help that Ed, equipped with a detailed map, chooses the really back roads.  Indeed, I would, in some places, not even call these brittle ribbons of dirt and patches of something or other 'roads." The clunker is unhappy, but we forge on. Even when there aren't bridges over rivers and a set of (wild?) peacocks stands in our path.

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Yes! Made it across the river. Ducks, startled, swim away from the red clunker.

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I admit that it’s an interesting swing through the Roussillon landscape. Orchard after orchard of apricots, peaches, kiwi, nectarines...


With all forms of pickers now -- on elevated platforms...


... on ladders, reaching for the best of the ripened fruits.

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And now finally we've reached the beach townships to the north. It quickly becomes apparent that the boat idea is a bust. In Brittany, every coastal town will have a sailing school with boat rentals. Here, if they have them, they’re well hidden.

Eh, no matter. The longest day had this long fruitless search, or fruit filled search, depending on your perspective, but in any case, I should also point out that there is almost no wind, so sailing would have been very theoretical, even had we located the boats.

Slight breeze, delightful sunshine – La Franqui, you’re next!


Ah, lovely little village beach, extending, if you cross the inlet, forever and ever, or at least further than we’ve ever walked. (Here's the inlet, looking back toward La Franqui. Sometimes knee deep, sometimes waist deep. Where the river meets the sea.)


We pick a spot, empty, beautiful. Ed wants shade, I say let’s buy an umbrella next time. He winces at the word 'buy.' I concentrate on the words ‘next time,’ because when you’re this close to leaving, you have to speak in terms of next times. It's too sad otherwise.

We sit at the edge of the water, our backs to the sun, our lunch before us, the melting in the warmth cheeses, the oozing bits of chocolate and extremely delicious baguette, a few particles of sand here and there – all correct, perfect, and perfectly wonderful.


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Ed wants to read a little now, but me - I can’t wait.


I’m the first one in this time because to me, the sea doesn’t ever get any better than this – shallow for a long stretch (we’re at the sand lip – our favorite place), warm, gentle.


I can’t tell how long I (and eventually Ed and I) played in the water. One hour? Two? Forever?

And that’s it. Goodbye sweet Franqui sands, with a view toward the etang, and the Corbiere hills beyond. (Or, as in the photo below, with a view from the other side of the etang toward the sea.) You are and will be, for me, the best.


The longest swim puts us into early evening. We leave the car at home and walk down, and even though it's just after 9, the sun is still throwing light on the village below.


And there's, too, a second cat moment, if that second cat with the squashed face (as Ed calls him) is out and about...


And then up we go, toward the main square (and looking out from here, the light is pure gold!)...

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... but there is an 'oh dear' moment as the café bar is having kitchen issues and so they cannot serve food. We go to the next cheapest place – the grill (Auberge de Margaux) that some seem to like and we each time have the same reaction – not bad, not bad at all, not great either, a filler place because we're not willing to drive elsewhere. 

A grilled sea bream, a simple crème catalan...



... no complaints, no thoughts really, not this way or that, just an evening out, but not any evening, one when only after after ten does the sun stop throwing light on the street before us. Tomorrow, the countdown towards winter begins.