A few days idling in Ars, Île d’Aix and la Rochelle – 9 to 19 July, 28,
For the last month, we’d had lots of sun, only half a day’s rain, and no
really strong winds. However, it looked as though we were due for a less
pleasant week or so.
Ars is a great place for bad weather as well as good, being sheltered
and free. The town is a delight, with a big market 7 days a week in the
holiday season. We moved up the creek to a half-tide anchorage just
outside the town, and spent a few days cycling round the island, doing
some more fitting out, and attending the final concert of their
“international guitar week”. On 13 July, the eve of Bastille day, they
held a magnificent firework display at the end of the harbour
breakwater, for which we had grandstand seats.
Bastille day itself dawned with sunshine again, and we headed out, past
La Rochelle, to the Ile d’Aix. At first we lay uncomfortably to a
visitors’ buoy, with waves coming round the corner and banging us on the
sand. However, at low tide, I worked out a transit to take us past the
mussel beds and other rubbish into the drying, but very sheltered, inner
bay, and we entered at half-tide. Ashore, we walked round the little
grid-plan village. Its only multistory building was Napoleon’s last
residence in France.
Moorings off Aix
The forecast said that we still had a bit of bad weather to come, so
next day we headed for La Rochelle and found space in the old harbour in
the centre of town. However, M le Capitain came to tell us that
catamarans were not allowed. This was a rule invented the previous week
because catamarans might damage the pontoons. The fact that we were the
lightest boat in the harbour was not relevant! So, we moved into the
Basin de Chalutiers to take advantage of their 3-days-for-2 deal and
enjoy some of the seriously good restaurants ashore.
Inner harbour at la Rochelle