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The Quiet Charm of the French Atlantic Coast (Gimme My Sweater, I’m Cold!)

Late at night, the clouds went away and we saw stars and a clear sky. The weather was changing.

“Mommy! Can we go to the beach? The weather is nice, we can go to the beach? Are we going to the beach?”

Of course, we were going to the beach. There isn’t much else to do in Saint-Michel, official population count 4,627 souls, most of them hidden behind rows of pine trees and closed doors because it’s “tourist season” (for best effect, say it with as much disdain as you can muster).

But fifteen minutes later, my back against the brick wall, my feet in the sand, I realized it wasn’t that hot. In fact, I had goose bumps and I felt terribly underdressed in my Brazilian swimsuit—not the thong one, évidemment—considering the grandmothers besides us were wearing sailor-style blue-and-white sweatshirts.

Damn Atlantic Ocean wind. I was too cold to linger on the beach, much less swim, so I went for a walk. “A” walk turned into several walks, first to the supermarket, then to the bakery, then to the town centre, then to the ice-cream shop with Mark, Feng and my brother, then just “around” because I felt like it.

The good part of a stay in Saint-Michel—the village we’re in—is that you have to be resourceful and flexible to make do with what you have. Make do with the weather, make do with limited store hours and even more limited product selection, make do without Internet, TV or phone, make do without the conveniences of city life. For instance, yesterday night, we walked the two kilometres to the Super U to realize it was closed (a manager had decided that 7:15 p.m. was the optimum closing time, apparently). But fortunately, digging inside the large wood pantry, I found a pouch of soup (and other miscellaneous leftover food years past the expiry date). Ta-da! It was delicious. And not having an Internet connection forces me to use my laptop as a typewriter and my brain instead of relying on Google for quick checks.

We’ll come out of it relaxed and more self-reliant.

Or craving civilization.

Saint-Michel harbour
Saint-Michel harbour
Saint-Michel harbour
Saint-Michel harbour
Saint-Michel harbour
Tharon beach
Saint-Michel beach
Churros break
Churros = dough + sugar
Seashell found on the beach
Pine trees in Saint-Michel
Saint-Michel, town centre
Was there a discount on road signs??
Saint-Michel church
Souvenirs at the gift shop
Souvenirs at the gift shop
Souvenirs at the gift shop
Souvenirs at the gift shop
Saint-Michel main’s square
Late evening on the beach
Late evening on the beach

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