The city where we spent most of our time is called Biarritz. It is a pretty expensive city, but it exuded a resort feeling, which really made us feel like we were on vacation. Just before the sand of the seashore lied a casino - where Romain and I played the slot machines, and of course lost money - and behind the casino was a large strip of cute and original boutiques. Just walking around made us feel like we had money.
Apart from the beach, I adored the Pay Basque houses. Each one had its own personality. Many looked a bit spanish in style, some tuscan and others simply white, but with a colorful trim. However, each home had its own name written on the front of the house for everyone to see, which really differed them all from eachother! It was very cute. These names were not the names of the family either, they definitely had a different meaning and were something that the family must of created themselves.
Also, I cannot forget how intrigued I was by the French "autoroutes" - freeways. Because popular transportation in France is for the most part by metro in the city or by train across the country, it was a very special thing to me to be able to take a roadtrip and see the country's freeways. In order to use the autoroute, you must pay. It is a similar concept to toll roads in the states, but from what I learned, the only way you get across the autoroutes is if you pay, and it is quite expensive. It is like paying an extra full tank of gas! However, by paying to use the autoroutes, this keeps their freeways extremely clean and completely free of billoards and advertisemets. The only signs you see on the roads are of course the typical city signs that tell how many kilometers to the next city and also these extremely cool and stylized signs for cities with pictures of their landmarks, cultural association or popular destinations. These stylized signs were my favorite thing. I tried to take pictures, but of course it was impossible as we drove 110KM/H past the signs, and unfortunately I can't find any images on the internet. Well, for the most part the signs were all two-toned, mustard yellow and milk chocolate brown (lol very specific I know). But this two toned simplicity was awesome because even though every city's sign was completely different depending on what the city has to offer, all the signs were all looked more or less the same in style, uniting them all as what I am going to call "french autoroute city signs" lol
So over the 5 days spent at the beach, I definitely got a tan, perhaps a teensy bit sunburned, but it was all so worth it. Hopefully the tans stays with me until I get home! Here are some pictures below that our friend Bruno took from the trip.
The crew, minus Bruno who took the picture
Biarritz and its casino on the right
When I saw this scene on the beach, it immediately reminded me of a painting by Edouard Manet, so I took the picture. Well, if you look below, I have posted the painting by Manet.. lol it isn't that similar I suppose. But what caught my eye, other than the umbrella, the people on the beach and the fact that it takes place in France, was the color of the ocean. The Antlantic Ocean off the shores of France has a very pretty seafoam/aqua color that differs from the Pacific in California. When I saw the ocean with my own eyes, the color was so similar to painting of the ocean by Manet that I could really relate. It was one of those moments when a painting became so real to me because I felt like I saw with my owns eyes exactly what Manet saw with his.
Boulogne sur la Mer - Edouard Manet
Emmanuelle and me
If you are interested in a good French artist, Sebastian Tellier, his music video, "Roche," was filmed where we were in Biarritz. Faites voir ici: