Ile de Ré - Oysters, Bicycles, and Gourmet Salt

There are islands off the west coast of France.

I'm not sure I even knew that.

Taking a selection of buses and trains, we crossed a long bridge - from La Rochelle in France on the Atlantic Coast - onto the beautiful Île de Ré.

It used to be a ferry, before they built the bridge.

Took a bus to Loix, where we stayed with a wonderful couple, Michel and Agnes, in their small garden guesthouse on the island.

Michel & Agnes, with their new "touc-touc". The dogs are already seated inside.
Later, they put a paddle board on top of it, and called it the "touc-touc paddle"!

Through them, we met others - it's a small community.

Drinking welcome summer rosé wine with ice cubes with our apéritifs.

Discussing life, ideas and art.
Happily complaining about this and that.

It's a favorite French pastime.

Stan plays for the "National Day of Music" in Loix.

We joined them on Michel's boat, the "Lili Bar" several times.

The fish jumped alongside the boat as we left port!

I feel VERY fortunate to have met Agnes and Michel.
And their friends. 

Through them, we got the chance to really be a small part of the "scene" in Loix.
It couldn't have been better!

Now, it's another place in the world where I feel at home. 

Agnes took the dogs to shore via paddle board!

The island is delightful.
Yes, there are loads of tourists, but they're all French, so it feels like we're being very local.

Bicycles are the main mode of transportation on the island.
There are trails, and plenty of small oyster and wine cafes along the way...

The tide goes WAY out, but that's apparently perfect for the oyster beds. 

They call it "fishing with your feet".

The cobblestones streets are peaceful.
When we were there, the evenings were long and bright.

The port of St. Martin - we arrive for dinner by boat

Every village has an excellent market. 

The only problem was making choices among the various fine cheeses and breads and fruits and wine needed to make up small picnics.

Then - out with the bicycles to explore some new corner of the island.

Who knew that we'd find some place like this - an island off the coast of France?

So glad we did!

Bye-bye, Lili Bar...