Tuesday, August 25, 2009
An evening at the sea - Le Grau de Roi
A popular destination all summer long, and at a lesser rate through the year, Le Grau de Roi is the beach and beach town for Nîmois and Montpellierans. Pizza, sandwiches, shell fish, pasta and ice cream, not to mention lots of fried everything is the predominant food choice. This is a family place. Rent a tiny apartment, walk out onto the beach, and spend the day reading a novel, schmoozing, and watching the kids dig tunnels to China, sand palaces, moats by the mile. The evening can be spent wandering the neon-bedecked little streets, shopping, munching, taking in the scene. Dogs are welcome most everywhere, and kids rule.
This is a place rich in history for locals, many of whom have tales to tell of how dad first laid eyes on mom as she stepped out of the surf.
Over the past few years the tradition of the Paillote has definitely become vogue. These are temporary restaurants set up right on the beach. There are four in Grau de Roi, and others further down the coast. The fare is a bit better than in town, definitely more expensive, and you are greeted with an unrivaled view of the setting sun, rolling waves, and should the wind pick up, some tasty and crunchy sand in your soup.
The Paillotes have their own showers. Why do I bring such a random detail up? Well, if you go swimming in the evening, as I do, and wish to rinse off the scratchy layer of white salt left by this most dense of seas, the Mediterranean, it is truly necessary to take a shower before dinner. But, the city-provided showers are turned off at 8PM.
At this time of year, end of August, the sea is warm as bath water, easy to slide into with nary a glance back.