We got off the train and I took a quick look around the station—a bakery at the corner (captive market since you can expect pricey croissants and water bottles inside the station), a bar-tabac to socialize when your train is late, a roundabout because French love going round and round in circles, a white COVID testing tent because it’s 2021.
So far so good—familiar environment but new territory.
I had no idea where we were supposed to go but since how to get there is half the fun—especially when the “there” has yet to be defined—it was just fine.
“The sign says ‘beach.’ This way, mommy.”
I like to get lost on purpose. I mean, I could open Google Maps and I probably will do it eventually. But new places are precious—so much to explore! Sure, it does require some imagination to pretend I’m stumbling upon unchartered land when half of the country just got off the train at the same time as us to enjoy a nice beach day. I mean, Les Sables isn’t exactly the last unmapped place on earth. But French beach towns I can’t remember visiting feel exotic to me, so whatever.
Les Sables turned out to be a very satisfying town to explore. There’s a huge, very busy harbour with two piers and several water buses (the short €1.10 ride is the best way to explore both sides), a cute city centre with shops selling soap, sea salt and huge brioches, as well as a long beach aptly named grande plage.
It was low tide when we arrived and the beach was still relatively quiet but it filled up fast. The crowd, smell of grilled fish and salty breeze reminded me of a typical Sunday beach day in Brazil.
I liked Les Sables so much we came back a second time a couple of days later. Totally worth it.