A Sense of the Seas
Summer, now in its final burst, is the preferred season for a visit to the sea, and France is unique with regard to the diversity of its coastlines. Its Mediterranean coast stretches from Menton on the Italian border to Coullioure on the Spanish border. Its Atlantic coast stretches from Saint Jean de Luz in the Basque country to Brest in Brittany, rounding the bend to follow the coast of the English Channel all the way up to Dunkirk. These three distinct seafronts each offer a wealth of diverse seafaring cultures and marine ecosystems. There is enough to feed your discoveries for a lifetime. The impressionist symphonic masterpiece
‘La Mer” is the work of French composer Claude Debussy.
If you are in Paris rather than by the sea, you have only to observe the fishmongers' spread in a typical Parisian market, where it is not unusual to find at least twenty different types of fish and shellfish. If such diversity is sold, it is because such diversity is eaten. Before your last days in France, venture to taste some of its classic dishes, such as la bouillabaisse; la lotte à l'amoricaine, and la sole meunière.
From Paris, you can reach the ocean or the sea directly by train within 2 to 4 hours, depending on the destination. What a boon! In this issue, I'll present the city of Sète, on the Mediterranean coast near Montpellier, hardly known to the average anglophone tourist.
Need some geographical assistance? Check out my map of French regions.
For sights on all aforementioned seas, check out my photo album “La Mer”.