Bonjour mes amis! I am back in Paris, where it has been a grey and rainy Monday. No worries, though, because I am still basking in the glow of a sunny, warm weekend in Hardelot- Plage. This tiny beach town is just a short drive south from Calais, a popular jumping off point for England. We could see the white cliffs of Dover as we looked out over the channel. I was completely charmed by Hardelot because it had a lovely beach AND was still hilly and forested and didn’t even feel humid or windy. A beach town without all the annoyances of a beach town! Hooray for that!
We were invited by some friends who bought their house twenty-five years ago. Their three children and six nieces and nephews have spent all of their summers and many holidays in this cozy house that exuded warmth, love, and precious family memories.
The woman of the house grew up in a nearby town, Boulogne, where her 83-year-old mother still lives. Her mother is an amazing cook and graciously provided us with two feasts from the sea- a lunch of mussels (prepared two ways) and a dinner of amazing crabs.
One afternoon our host drove us around the area. We parked and walked around the Old Town of Boulogne, which was beautiful.
Boulogne is the busiest fishing port in France, and is also Europe’s biggest center of fish processing. We took a quick look at the boats and the processing plants.
Back in Hardelot, the beach was busy on Sunday, which was beautiful and warm and not very windy.
A small Sunday market was going on in town.
We drove back to Paris Sunday evening, well-fed and very relaxed. Paris is still semi-comatose but appears to be awakening a bit each day. Most of the Parisians should be back by next weekend, and more and more stores and restaurants are taking down their “vacances” notices and re-opening their doors. People with bronzed faces are back on the sidewalks, no doubt dreaming of their month in the sun that went by much too fast.
The many “first day of school” pictures on my Facebook feed remind me that vacation is over at home, too. I can hear my friends cheering as that school bus pulls away! Happy Fall, tout le monde!