Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Swimming in the Ardeche

Ardeche is the name of the department where we live & also the name of the river. France is divided into regions made of up different departments which are in turn made up of communes (are you still with me ?). So for example we're in the commune of St Julien du Serre which is part of Ardeche 07 & part of the region of Rhone Alpes (still there ?). Then of course there are cantons & arrondisements but I won't go there. You see, France is surprisingly (for me at least) an extremely bureaucratic place. I fully appreciated that when I had to apply for my carte de sejour (permit of residence). Boy I could write a whole blog just talking about the hoops I had to go through. Oops I digressed.

The river runs through the department & eventually flow into the Rhone. Some of the best views of the river are from the Gorge d'Ardeche. In the summer, canoeing is a very popular sport. So in between jaunts to the pool, The Girl & I would head to the river to cool down when it gets unbearingly hot. There are many places along the river that one can swim & everybody has their favorite secret secluded spot.

Ours is not so secret nor is it the most secluded. It's in Vogue where I've talked about here and here. It does get a little crowded with the summer tourists but in spite of the crowd, I like it cos there's a sand bank which is great for children, it's not too far from where we are, I know how to get there & there's a place to park.

Yesterday we headed there for the first time this year and I swam there for the first time ever. I may be able to swim 30-40 laps in a pool but I'm a hesistant swimming in the open sea or in the river. I'm afraid of the Deep - swimming pools I can handle cos I know how deep it goes but the ocean & river ? That's a different story. The river was cold but the Girl, who is not afraid of the cold water insisted on going in & so I dove in as well ...... and very glad I did cos it was so refreshing !! But I doubt I'll be up for doing those ocean dunks in the middle of winter.

We had a lovely day. We swam, we built sand castles, we read & we had a picnic.

A makeshift shack for renting canoes / kayaks

The water is clear & calm

Just give a child sand, some beach toys & they'll be occupied for hours


Tsu Lin + + said...

I really got lost in your explanation of regions and departments (why departments? Sounds like a corporation. Haha)

Anyway, I meant to ask, is the girl's swimming suit just the bottom part? It is very odd, because for my baby's 1st birthday, someone gave her a swimming-trunk (bottom?) (just like the one your girl has on in the photo) and I was thinking "How odd is this? How come they did not provide the top??". Am I culturally-challeneged as far as French is concerned?? You need to educate me on this, I was baffled for days! I actually thought of asking the giver if she had lost the other part of the gift?! But stopped short incase I sounded rude (and ignorant).

Tsu Lin + + said...

And h, why "french", you asked? It's because the gift was a french brand. Not the giver, though.

petite fleur said...

Haha....I can understand why you would be baffled. Over here, most of the babies & girls under 5-6 wear just a swim panty. Last year, I bought her 2 pieces but end up only using the bottom so this year, I bought just the bottoms - they sell them that way too.

I think it's fine for little girls. I once saw a girl whom I guess to be around 8 not wear a top at the swimming pool.

But actually at SW's age, I used to only put on swim diapers for her. If you're not comfortable dressing her with only the bottom, buy another swim suit that matches so you'll have 1 top & 2 bottoms. If you noticed the photo of the Girl is actually showing her back. I have other nicer photos but didn't want to put it up here.