Normandy 2013 – Day 2
Moules frites in Pirou-Plage
In which we make our first excursion to the coast in search of seafood, and find the conditions a bit warm!
Today saw an excursion to the coast with the intention of having some moules and frites. I’m always rather keen on the local mussels, which are grown on poles known as bouchots and as a result are usually sand and crab free and with bright orange flesh. They are often harvested quite small, and are generally very tasty!
The weather was sunny and warm pretty much all day. We headed off via Cerisy-la-salle, as on many of the rides on this trip. Of course, Cerisy lies on top of a fair old hill, and it’s always a challenge to start a ride in that way! From Cerisy, we headed off towards Belval-Gare, where we planned to cross the D972, a fairly major (by Normandy standards) road that runs between Coutances and St-Lô. Across that road, we headed for St-Sauveur-Lendelin. This route, as for most of the rides we did consited almost entirely of short climbs and descents, but with gloriously rural views. Shortly before we reached St-Sauveur-Lendelin a woman on a bike popped out of a side road ahead of us. Given we were on a descent and we were on a tandem we soon overhauled her, a situation reversed on the next incline, as it turned out she was on an electric bike!
The rest of the ride to the sea was pretty uneventful. We passed the Castle at Pirou, which we’d visited previously in 2008 (see day 7 here), so we didn’t stop on this occasion. Here’s a gallery of 19 images from that visit. It’s a delightful little castle, elegantly restored, complete with a moat and a modern day Bayeux tapestry style embroidery!
The main route into Pirou-plage basically continues until you reach a ramp down to the sand (the ramp is the route tractors take when dragging boats and other equipment down to the sea to work on the bouchots. This is flanked by a few snack bars and restaurants on one side and a really good seafood restaurant (La Mer) on the other. We’d eaten at La Mer on a previous visit, and anyway, our breakfast was quite late, so we didn’t feel we’d fully appreciate a high quality seafood lunch. Oh, and the whole point of the trip was to have moules and frites! While we pondered lunch, The Stoker took advantage of the tide and went down to the sea to paddle for a bit.
We looked at the snack bars and restaurants and decided to eat at a pizzeria which also offered moules and frites. The servings were completely huge! The only downside was the absence of Leffe on their beer menu, so I was reduced to drinking Kronenbourg. As usual the local mussels were really very nice, and so fuelled we embarked on the return trip – essentially retracing the outward route. During the afternoon, temperatures continued to rise – we certainly looked forward to a decent spell of good weather on this trip.