VOL. 8 NO. 1
|The Independent Traveler's Newsletter|
|BISCARROSSE ~ Sun, Sea, Surf and ... Pine Trees!|
Ocean Airways to Nantes
Ici et Là
Featuring: The Tarn
by Arthur Gillette
Okay, so you need a car to get there (an hour or so south of Bordeaux) but the rental is really worth it. Sun? Yes. One local taxi driver says, "We're sun merchants!" Sea? Roger! Surf? Some of the best rollers in Europe! [see photo] But also an amazing hinterland of pine forests and lakes. How did this come about?
Centuries ago, rivers flowed into the Atlantic here. But then, the fourth S: wind-pushed Sand dunes began to block them and formed the huge North, South and other lakes about 18 kilometers inland from the endless beach that makes Biscarrosse such a special place today. The town's name derives from the Basque bizkar which means 'crest' or 'dune'.
A century and a half ago it was decided to stabilize the errant sand dunes: pines were planted. This, in turn, gave rise to a horde of résiniers, resin-tappers. Much like the people who make maple syrup today in Vermont, they milked the trees. Their main product was turpentine, and it was a hard life -- splendidly documented in the Museum of Traditions run by the Association Culturelle Biscarrossaise and well worth a visit. Check its web site at http://traditions.bisca.free.fr.
The Museum offers, in English, a video, guided tours that can be arranged by prior agreement, and a showcase-by-showcase written description. I particularly enjoyed the c.1900 habitat reconstitutions, the working beehives, the underwater relics going back to Roman times, an explanation of the role of the household pig ("an edible vacuum cleaner" according to my guide) and...an ingenious cockroach trap.
Paris - New York by Flying Boat, via Biscarrosse
a week, the Museum offers volunteer-manned rowboat visits to discover the
nearby lake and marshland where tales of local history, flora and fauna
flow more quickly than their nearly current-free waters. To rise
above these and have a good view of their flocks, Biscarrossais shepherds
became expert stilt walkers, and locals can still stroll, run and even
dance adroitly above the crowd!
continued on page 3
> for important D-Day schedules and event information in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the June 1944 Normandy invasion.
Fly Between Newark & Nantes on Ocean Airways . . .
Ocean Airways has announced it will launch its direct, non-stop service between Newark and Nantes beginning on May 28, 2004. Schedules, prices and other details will be coming soon. If you have questions, send an email to Stephane Jaud at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This new service to the Western Loire of France is a boon for those in the US who wish to vacation near the Atlantic and arrive there without changing planes in Paris. For further information about this beautiful region of France, visit the web site of their helpful tourist office at: http://www.westernloire.com/.
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