Beach Real Estate

We REALLY didn’t want to leave San Sebastian this morning! That city deserves a closer look on another trip. It seems very livable. San Sebastian and Bordeaux are battling for the Winning City Award from this visit.

For those of you looking at your maps, from San Sebastian we headed north for a little stop at St. Jean-de-Luz, which is on the coast just north of the border in France. This lovely old-school French beach resort town is one step below Biarritz on the not-affordable scale. King Louis XIV was married here. The current residents are only slightly less highbrow than Louis. Charm and good taste just pour out of the open shop doors.

The ship is hanging over the center of the church where Louis was married
Those are the Basque peppers hanging like curtains.
Sandwiched between the mountains and the sea
They have a beach that goes around the cove.


No calories in just looking

Paries pastry shop (that we had ead about) was splendid. Each raspberry was adjusted on each tart to the perfect angle. 

Each one is perfect.


There was nothing in that shop that didn’t deserve to be photographed. We did our best and then ate a couple.






St. Jean-de-Luz is a Basque town in France, but St. Jean-de-Luz feels French first and Basque second, while San Sebastian feels Basque first and Spanish second.

Follow the map north to the Arcachon Basin and the city of Arcachon. It takes fewer dollars to live here, but not many. The beach is wide with calm water. The area is known for its seafood and we needed to verify the reputation. We found a table at one of the myriad restaurants by the beach. Cindy had seafood soup and mussels while Jim had shrimp salad and marlin. Sitting by the water on a cool, sunny day and watching the people stroll by as you eat fresh seafood is a good use of time.

Grilled marlin
Mussels in spicy sauce
Shrimp salad
Fish soup served with cheese, croutons, and mustard
Arcachon and its wide beach

We then drove north to the north side of the Arcachon Basin and our home for the night at Lege-Cap-Ferret. Our hosts quickly made dinner reservations for us at their favorite seafood spot. Our lunch had barely been consumed before we had reservations for dinner. That’s setting priorities! This area is known for Europe’s longest sand dune. It does seem like another area worth more time, but alas we don’t have it. Our dinner spot was a tiny restaurant in Andermos near the promenade. When we arrived, people were already claiming their spots by the seawall to see the sunset. The sunset lived up to the hopes of the promenaders. The seafood could not have been any fresher if the cook had been sitting on the boat moored outside the restaurant.

Shrimp making a sacrificial offering of a lemon. It didn’t protect them.
Treasures from the sea

You map-readers may wonder why we selected Lege-Cap-Ferret. If you look east a bit on your map, you’ll see the Bordeaux Airport. We have a flight out tomorrow to take us back to Chicago. We keep waiting to hear of a pilots’ strike or something, but no luck yet. Our plan is to take the one hundred notes that were in the anticipation jar and look at one per day for the next one hundred days and use them to spark memories of this vacation that took us from the Neanderthals of 30,000 years ago, to the Romans of the first century, to the chateau-builders and Templar knights of 14th century, to modern architects, artists, chefs, and winemakers of today. It’s been a relaxing, entertaining, educational, tasty, memorable, joyful trip.

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