20th October 2016. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France.

Although we had planned to stay another day we couldn’t cope with another night with no sleep and it seems Kathryn and Alex felt the same, they came over to say they were moving on so Darren asked whether they would drive up to the barrier when they left so he could buy a ticket, a plan that worked to perfection.

Yesterday Indi had mentioned that she’d been told Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was a pretty town a bit further along the coast and I’d marked it on the map as a nice looking aire so we drove down there.

Once we’d left the graffiti behind the journey was wonderful.  It was very exciting to catch sight of the white horses and black bulls that the Camargue is famous for (years ago my friend Eileen painted a beautiful picture of a herd of the white horses galloping through water, I never thought I’d actually get to see them first hand!).  I was thrilled that I’d seen them but a bit disappointed that I still hadn’t seen any flamingos although Kathryn and Indi both said I was bound to see them in Spain so I live in hope.

We went to the first free aire in the town which was in the process of being dug up so we moved to the next one.

We walked into the town looking for somewhere to eat but I was worried because the free aire had changed and it now had a sign saying no overnight stays or a fine would be imposed, as it was Thursday I was concerned that the other aires would fill up for the weekend so we went back to the van and moved to an aire just up the road beside the beach.  We had to pay for that site but at least we had a pitch.

Déjà vu, we walked back down the same street minutes later again looking for somewhere to eat.  There were loads of places but the one we chose told us the kitchen was shut!  We wandered round to the imposing church and found a little restaurant there called Le Café De l’eglise.

We couldn’t decide whether it was open or not and while we were dithering in their awning looking at the partially opened door a lady came out and smiled.  She didn’t speak English but she gestured to us that we could sit either inside or out.  We chose indoors because I hate fighting the flies for my food.  There were only five tables inside and it looked very full so we squeezed into a corner table, however as we did so an older lady pulled the table out next to us and pulled the chairs out for us so we could have more space and then all the other people in the restaurant vanished, it seems they were all members of the family.

We had a gorgeous meal there.  We were given lots of fresh bread with our glasses of wine while we waited and the tartin and salad I ordered was superb, it was so good I felt sad when it had finally all gone.

We had our usual issue with ordering coffee.  I asked the waitress if we could have two double espressos but with some extra hot water for a long coffee.  She gave the order to the owner and he brought two double espressos in a small espresso cup and hot water in a jug!  It wasn’t too much of a problem, so far all the coffee we’ve had in France has been great, it just doesn’t last very long when it’s so small so we sipped the coffee and filled it with water when there was a bit of space in the cup.

We felt a little confused, we keep feeling we’re in a Spanish town and that feeling wasn’t helped when we saw a poster with a black bull on it and a flamenco dancer!

On our wander back along the sea front we bought ice cream and sat in the sun watching people on the beach.  We discovered there was going to be a pilgrimage to the town over the next couple of days and a light and sound show over the sea on Saturday night so we decided to stay until Monday.

In the evening I went out to take photos of the glorious sunset and we sat and on the rocks drinking coffee watching the sun set.

Leave a Reply