Bastille Day in France

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We came back from Paris before Bastille Day and decided to spent it on the Atlantic coast, in the family house. This is where I spent most of my summers as a kid and a teen and I hadn’t been back there since 2002. At the time, I was coming back from Australia and New Zealand and I had spent the entire summer almost locked in a room trying to study for my university exams the following September.

This is a sleepy village 45 minutes from Nantes. Its claim to fame is the cookie factory. Other than that, there isn’t much: a roundabout (French love roundabouts and even the smallest village has one), a church, a bar-tabac (a small corner store) and a news agent. I both loved and hated the place as a teen. The beach is only a few minutes’ walk from the house and going there is fun, yet it gets very lonely after a while. Summer seemed to stretch forever: between going to the market and biking to the news agent to buy a magazine once in a while, there wasn’t much to do. I’m the oldest kid in the family and my sister, the second oldest, is 6 years younger than me. I spent entire evenings shouting at a bunch of kids (brother, sister, cousins…) who kept on sneaking into my room and yet I was bored at the grownups table at dinner time.

This was like a blast from the past for me. Feng and I didn’t have a car so we had to walk everywhere, like when I was a teen. Because nobody lives in the house full-time, there is no T.V and no Internet connection. I found most of the magazines I had left the last time I was there, eight years ago. I found my old swimsuit and my old posters. I found peace and quiet.

The coast had been badly damaged by TotalFina’s Erica oil spill in 1999 but little remains of the disaster today. I remember, at the time, there were pools of oils washed upon the shore and it looked like it would never be clean again. I guess ten years have passed…

You can follow our French trip here on Flickr: France (2010).

Local Cookies

Ne Pas Stationner

St Michel Beach

Bastille day Fireworks on the Beach

Bastille day Fireworks on the Beach

Streets in Pornic

Tall Trees

Boats at Low Tide

Naming Boats

Trees at Sunset

Castle in Pornic


Famous Ice Cream Shop


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I like that feeling of visiting some place that was significant from the past. Even my parents place in the Philippines was quite nostalgic even though it’s only been 3 years since I last was there. I actually wonder how it would feel like to visit Japan again, as I haven’t been there since 2000, and I would like to see what changes have occurred in the places that I used to frequent when I was still a teen.

  2. @Cynthia – My grand-parents generation was overall lucky, at the time buying houses or building them was much easier, and real estate was cheaper too.

    @khengsiong – tell me about it! In France, there is a roundabout every like ten meters it seems.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – It’s weird to visit places that don’t change much over the year, like this small village. Even Nantes, my hometown changes a little bit…

  3. Sounds like a nice play to visit for a short time. Its strange how some places never change but finding your same magazines is a hoot.

    It looks like great fireworks.

  4. you take such awesome photographs, zhu!
    and yummm, are those butter cookies that are made in pornic? to me, that is enough. i could stay there forever. butter cookies and strawberries and red wine.
    a summer in your family house sounds wonderful. nothing to do. nowhere to go. time lengthens into almost forever. i haven’t had a summer like that since university. i’d give up tv and the computer for a summer with books and beaches and nothing else to do, yes.

  5. How big is this little village. It looks so quaint and relaxing and amazing… How cool!! The fireworks remind me of Victoria a lot and how we can see that stuff here on the West Coast, Great pics!

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