Vendée Beaches, Properly Gorgeous

Today I was doing a spot of sun worshipping, and getting right into the sunbathing Zone.  You’ll know the Zone if, like me, you’re a keen sunbather.  You just kind of lie there, and relax to the point that you almost switch off completely.  You’re not quite asleep, but you’re not fully awake either.  The delicious heat makes you a bit oblivious to your surroundings, except for the sounds immediately around you.  Anyway, whilst I was lying on the beach, worshipping the God that is Sol, I decided that if there was one sound I would keep forever, it would be the sound of the beach in the summer.

There really isn’t anything much like it.  It’s the roar of the waves breaking on the shore, the joyful shrieks of excited happy children, the low hum of people around you having a conversation, the occasional call of a bird in the sky.  Pure happiness.

We are on our holidays in the Vendée region of France, staying in a Siblu holiday village in Saint. Jean de Monts, one of the largest tourist resorts in the region.  The Vendée has 250km of stunning coastline, 80% of which is protected, and 140kms of which are beautiful, fine, golden sandy beaches that stretch on for miles.  The beach I was sunbathing on today was la Plage des Demoiselles, and it was wonderful.

Living up to the stereotype beautifully, we got there, pale in pallor and enthusiastic to paddle, during the hottest part of the day, immediately after lunch.  I parked myself on a towel and slathered on some factor 50 (I may like to bake in the sun, but I am not stupid about it), Ross wandered off to take photos of the sea, Roo set to work making an epic (her words) sandcastle, and Elliot slept in his buggy out of the sun and under a towel.

After a while, Ross ambled back and told me the sea was warm and wonderful and that I should most definitely take a dip.  Despite having an irrational fear of anchors, and deep sea (guys, you just don’t know what is down there, it sure as hell isn’t Ariel), swimming in the Atlantic was on my bucket list for this summer, so I braved it, and it was worth every creepy bit of seaweed that got caught between my toes, because I loved it.  The beach stretches out for hundreds of metres in low tide and it’s the gentlest of descents, so the hot sand warms the water and by the time you’re in deep enough to swim, you’re pretty far out.

I bobbed around for forty minutes or so, neck deep in the Atlantic, swimming between buoys and making sure I kept an eye on my family back on the beach, before wading back to shore, demolishing a Magnum, and going back to my sunbathing, and the happy sounds of the beach in the summer.

If you could keep a sound forever, what would it be?

Disclosure: My family and I are on a press trip in Vendée, France.  The sun is shining and the wine is flowing, but all opinions are honest and my own.

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