Friday, August 04, 2006

I have already documented the French dislike of sand in my previous post. If you will recall, it was brought to my attention by the presence of seaside staircases and footpaths constucted to aid the passage of the French from the road to the seashore without enduring the inconvenience of stepping on sand.

But what of the inconvenience of stepping at all? With characteristic thoroughness, the French have left no grain of sand unturned, and have devised a sand traversing light rail system - something that I spotted at a beach yesterday. One simply boards the train from the road and alights at the water's edge:

And now I would like to show some images that reveal the surprisingly wide range of accomodation options available to the visitor. Arcachon is known for its Belle Epoque architecture, built in the main by business-savvy doctors for rich French and English hypochondriacs who wished to take the "sea cure": a cure based on sound medical science which specifies that pulmonary complaints would be well-served by spending the winter over-eating, dancing and gambling amid the gentle air of coastal climes.

The architecture in and around Arcachon ranges from the stately

to the modest;

and from the clearly built by a sick rich person,

to the clearly built by a sick rich person who has pneumonia and can't feel warm in a house with less than six fireplaces.

It is not all sickness and wealth here at Arcachon, however. We have our poor people, like any other town, and we unofficially invite them to illegally park their caravans, blow-up swimming pools and satellite dishes among the weedy verges that accompany the national highway leading out of town. Diesel fumes, thorny scrub and traffic noise no doubt combine to form a stimulating tonic to keep the unfashionably healthy on their toes.



At 4:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant - I hate the sand. Straight into the water with no sand in your lunch, will you ever be able to return to the sandy southern hemisphere???


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