finding the sea
January 5, 2014
A short bus ride to the south of Nimes lie the Étangs which form part of the only commune in the Gard to have frontage to the sea – where the beaches spread out from the small port of le Grau du Roi. In this landscape, reed covered marshes interlock with large cultivated areas as well as the stretches of salt pans that produce thousands of tonnes of salt a day at harvest time.
Following a storm surge from the Rhone in 17C, a wide channel was formed, eventually made into a canal, creating a direct link to Aigues -Mortes to the north. In the port eclectic buildings line the south facing side of the channel . . .
. . . a flashy intervention seems to have happened on the apex of the hôtel above but the old lighthouse retains a modest charm. Across the bay to the west sits la Grande-Motte with the show off architecture by Jean Balladur. He drew inspiration from the pre-Columbian pyramids of Teotihuacan – Mexico – and modern architecture in Brazil, especially in the works of architect Oscar Niemeyer. Quite like it from a distance – but only as such. Within, it felt like a retirement complex in Florida.
Elements within the port and the beaches offer up close quarter delights in the sharp light of a winter’s day . . .
. . and as the cirrus clouds waft overhead, their cumuli cousins await over the horizon. Ernest Hemingway liked this place enough to write some of The Garden of Eden here. I liked it too. Au revoir et à bientôt.
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Ernest Hemingway The Garden of Eden.
“If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.”