Royan and Le Train des Mouettes

Cloudy day yesterday but managed to fit in a trip across the river to Royan and Le Train des Mouettes. Their website is my pictures a little later. Here’s one as a sample. It is the oldest working steam locomotive in France, dating from 1891. A couple more samples added, I have the remainder of the pictures in the album at this moment –!Am0w7qp9HCpqhJhK9hARD1Vlfox9gQ



My itinerary :- cycle 9km Soulac sur Mer to the ferry at Pointe de Grave. Tie up the bike to a fence post. Luckily a ferry was waiting, so a 20 minute crossing to Royan, costs €3,30. Pleasant walk across the town for about 20 minutes to the bus station. Time to have a look around the area. Royan has an excellent beach right in the town, but the town itself has no architectural merit whatsoever. An ‘error’ by the US Air Force late in World War Two resulted in the town centre being bombed rather than the docks. Most of the town’s population had been evacuated, but nevertheless 442 civilians were killed and about the same number injured. Forty-seven German military were also killed.

The reconstruction of the town was in the modern brutal style, apart from the very unusual church. It was partly covered in scaffolding, but here’s a picture grabbed from the web.


After that, a bus to Saujon, cost €1,60 it was a little late then held up in heavy traffic. But no worries. At Saujon a slight navigational error meant it was a 20 minute walk to the tourist railway rather than about 12.

After the train trip, which took an hour and 20 minutes, time for a little look around La Tremblade, a little town not quite on the coast. Then another bus back to Royan, a 45 minute ride but at the same flat fare of €1,60, followed by the same walk back across town to the ferry. Ferry was just arriving, not much of a wait to get back across to Pointe De Grave, untied the bike and an easy 9km back to Soulac and some well needed beer.

Royan and Le Train des Mouettes

Tagged: , on August 1, 2018 by cubsur51

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No lunar eclipse here, just sunset

The clouds stayed, didn’t see anything. I was still waiting when mosquitoes attacked. It’s the first time I have ever had problems with them hereabouts, but I read this morning that the ‘tiger mosquito’ species is now being recorded in the area. I can confirm that, as I also read, that their bites are more painful than those of the others.

On Friday night, the sky did clear just enough in the right direction for some sunset pictures.


No lunar eclipse here, just sunset

Tagged: , , on July 29, 2018 by cubsur51

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The northern end of the Médoc, the Atlantic coast near Soulac-sur-mer.

Coastal erosion continues. The sea is inexorably chewing away at the sand. This campsite a little way to the south of Soulac sur mer gets a little closer to the sea every year.


This house has been teetering on the brink for some years, but is protected from the direct assault of the waves by a huge wall of rock. It looks to have been abandoned.


Just to the north, the sandy cliff is 50 metres or more back. Those dots in the sea are the remains of one of the many fortifications dating from the German occupation during World War Two. As you can see, they are underwater now even at low tide, showing how much land has been lost in the last 75 years. The tall building shape on the right is an apartment block built in the 1960’s, when it was about 200 metres from the sea. It is now less than 10 metres from the sea. It has been evacuated and is now serially vandalised. For unknown reasons it has not yet been demolished, but the next big storm will probably do the job for nothing!


Large areas of mud and shingle are exposed at low tide. In some areas there is also a thick layer of a sought after blue-grey clay. I shall try to get a sample.


The villas in the town of Soulac will last a good while yet. I have the impression that there are more and more empty every year. Since they were built perhaps 120 years ago, they have been handed down through families. I would suspect that they are too big and too costly to maintain for many people. Some are also decidedly weird. This one in particular needs only a black night, some dark clouds and bats flitting around the tower to make a very forbidding picture. Maybe also Morticia standing in the doorway.


Morticia? Look it up! Those of us of a certain age will know what I mean. Younger ones, go back beyond the Christina Ricci movie.

This area is slowly disappearing!

Tagged: , on July 27, 2018 by cubsur51

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Three hours before moonrise and the start of the total eclipse and we have thick cloud! Might not see anything!!! And there I was hoping to post some pictures later.

No lunar eclipse here?

on July 27, 2018 by cubsur51

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Just a couple more pictures. First, the wide and sandy beach at Soulac-sur-mer.


And I spotted these among a flock of a dozen or so in a yard. Was it a co-incidence that there was a place selling foie gras a few doors later?


Geese getting fat

The Médoc

Tagged: , on July 26, 2018 by cubsur51

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A quick bike ride

It’s getting hot, 30ºC this afternoon and very humid. So I went out early on the bike for a couple of hours into the countryside and across to the other side of the peninsular.

Spotted from afar, docked at the outport of Le Verdon, the 95,000 tons of the cruise ship MSC Magnifica. I wonder if its 2,500 passengers realised they would be in this bleak out-station rather than Bordeaux itself.


The tide was out, no wonder this monster couldn’t make it the 90km or so into Bordeaux itself.

I took this picture from the ‘port’ de Neyran. Located there are the remains of one of the many World War Two strongpoints held by the Germans until the very last days of the conflict.


The plaque in close-up.


Sand and time have taken over the interior of the bunkers but they are still recognisable.  They looked out over the Gironde, towards where the cruise ships now dock. The roof of this one was about 1 metre thick.


And on the way back I passed this sunflower field. Normally there are more, but the others looked decidedly ravaged.


But a while later, I was overtaken on the cycle path by a guy on skates! I thought I was making respectable progress, so maybe I am getting past it!

A quick bike ride

on July 24, 2018 by cubsur51

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The Gironde Estuary France

So far, so good with the weather in this part of France. Here’s where I am.

The beach at Pointe de Grave. This is the very northern tip of the Médoc peninsular, north of Bordeaux on the left bank of the Gironde river where it meets the sea.


Beach at Pointe de Grave

The two ships of the Pointe de Grave – Royan ferry service cross in mid water. The town of Royan is in the background.


Local boat  owners have to deal with some fairly choppy water in this area.



They also have to keep out of the way of the larger vessels. The ferry nears the dock at Pointe de Grave.


Pointe de Grave ferry

The Gironde Estuary France

Tagged: , on July 23, 2018 by cubsur51

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