the seaport city of La Rochelle:
From La Rochelle we took a bus over to the Ile de Ré, a pretty little island with almost-empty beaches. The beaches here are totally different--sweeping sand, huge tides. Nothing like the southern coast! Also, where the southern coast has color everything here is white. La Rochelle was the last city to be liberated by the Allies in WWII; it was an important sub base for the Germans. We saw a bunch of old bunkers on the island off the coast.
Then we went up the coast a bit to another beach town called Les Sables d'Olonnes. Beautiful beach, more people. Only French though--I haven't heard any English here yet.
Tomorrow it's off to Paris!