We’re driving through the Charente Maritime district and it’s fair to say that the word of the day has to be “oyster”. This is a land of tidal flat salt marsh, but with a very specific, cultivated purpose: thousands of oyster beds, dug out as narrow trenches, square fields and rectangles of all sizes. We see but a narrow view along our way – Google maps provides a much more comprehensive picture – all the blue along the river, below. And that’s just what I could fit onto one screenshot! The French appetite for oysters knows no bounds – over 130,000 metric tonnes are gulped down each year.
Today’s amusing sight is a snuffly black pig, seen snouting through an oyster bed. If he knows a truffle pig and a champagne pig, they could work up a really good party….
We’re making our way towards Mornac-sur-Seudre an ancient village whose ancestry can be traced back to the days of Gallo-Roman times.
Still with the same winding layout, all roads lead to the port, now a haven for cafes and restaurants and kids making the most of summer.
Still standing from the early days is the open air Market Hall, still trading, a market somedays, oyster trading others. Later it’s home to a pizza van and now, nests of hungry baby swifts, squawking for second breakfast.