Here is Jacques, just before he decided to roll in all that ooze that has his attention. At least he didn’t roll in the dead jellyfish.

Someone got me thinking about beach towns. When I was a kid, they were great. Some towns were built up, some not, but a cruise along Pacific Coast Highway was always a fine, cheap summertime thrill, especially when we went as far as the beach towns in Baja. So here it is, the Fourth of July. PCH is far away but still, time for a beach run. Sort of. This time the border crossing took us to Charron, in the Charente Maritime and at the mouth of the Sèvres Niortaise river.

Charron is pretty downmarket, perhaps because of a flood that took out of goodly part of the surrounding area. For my American friends, 1m10 is about waist height. 1.5 milliard is 1.5 billion euros. 52,000 hectares is almost 130,000 acres. No wonder people aren’t in any hurry to move back.

It’s not a bad place, though, as long as it’s above sea level. We parked at a dry dock, where some boats were being repaired. There are also fishing companies and Bistro La Ponetère, which is just what you see, plus a couple of tents. A nearby sign gave a number to phone for reservations, though I doubt that you’d need one today.

The government has made the best of a marshy situation by declaring much of the coastline to be a nature preserve. Kinda sorta, pretty much. I’m not sure agriculture fits, but whatever. Those bales of hay in the distance are also in the nature preserve.

The Tour de France will roll by here in a couple of days. I’ll be off at a family party, so I’ll watch on TV, which is probably the best way to see it, anyway. Folks are excited, though, and towns are hoping for their fleeting moment of fame; 15 minutes might be a bit optimistic. Here are a couple of shots from a nearby town, located at a turn in the course.

Happy Fourth, all. Light a sparkler for me.