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A Day at the Beach

February 5th, 2016 · No Comments · France, tourism, Travel, UAE


Winter weather in this part of France can be fluky, we are learning.

Yesterday, we were bundled up (well, by SoCal standards) during a walk to a nearby town — but were quite cold throughout because of powerful winds that took the wind-chill factor to 47 Fahrenheit.

Today? Bright sun. Very little wind. Temps cracking 70.

A beach day.

And we saw to it that it was just that.

We decided to do something that would have seemed silly/crazy any time since we arrived in France, back on January 1.

We picked out a beach and traveled there.

We are only about 30 minutes from the Mediterranean, and we had noticed a place called Marseillan Plage, only a few miles from Marseillan the city, on the drive back from Sete, and decided to have a look at the plage — French for “beach”.

What we found has to be one of the nicest sand beaches in France, where most of its very long coastline has beaches featuring 1) rocks or 2) dirt.

Marseillan Plage is a very fine beach indeed, about 75 yards deep (at low tide) and several miles long. All of it fine, white sand.

If we used our imagination, we could see how that enormous stretch of sand could accommodate tens of thousands of beach-goers, come the summer.

This was the fifth day of February so, of course, almost no one was there. In an hour-plus there we saw about 10 people and three frolicking dogs.

The French are very attached to their calendars, and no one would think of going to a beach in February. Let alone March. Unless it were in the Caribbean or the UAE.

So it was sort of like an undiscovered paradise with lots of interesting shells, a bit of surf, clear water — and nearly no one around.

That will change, come June, when the French begin to take their summer vacations, peaking in August.

The ground behind the beach is jammed with what appear to be condominiums or apartments of three stories each — nearly all of them empty, this time of year.

(In the states, some senior citizens, at the least, would want to live right on the beach, and would not mind being there in the winter, but in France … no, it’s not done. And all this housing is used maybe 16 weeks a year and apparently makes economic sense because of the rents charged for weekly visits.)

It was luxurious to sit on the edge of the beach and feel the sun on skin that has been covered for weeks. And to listen to the surf and watch the playful dogs or the occasional sailboat.

We left when (get this) we were a bit too hot (having arrived in winterish attire), leaving to find a cafe where we could have a bit of lunch.

That was a silly concept. Not only was it 3, by which time many French cafes have closed for at least three hours, it was in a beach town, where the crowded commercial area, running down to the beach, features about 100 businesses locked up tight for the winter.

Anyway, it is good to know that we are so close to a really fine beach, and we might well return if we get another surprise day of sun and warmth.




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