West Virginia University in Vendée, France


L'Île d'Yeu

Eye Candy

24 juin 2010

Because today we celebrate Alexandra's 21st birthday, we have decided to honor her with the most beautiful island that France has to offer: our visit to the île d'Yeu.


After a bus ride to Saint Gilles-Croix de Vie up the coast, we find our boat, the Ogia.  The crossing lasts about an hour, and some of us are concerned about weak stomachs...


...but not to worry.  We have an easy crossing.


Some even have a great crossing.  Melaney never laughs harder than at her own jokes!  Haha, Melaney!


The students up front also seem to be faring quite well.


The Ogia is flying our favorite flag, that of Vendée, with the double hearts topped with a cross and a crown.


Our boat pulls into port at Port-Joinville.


We start on our bikes, the only means of transportation for tourists on the island.  By the time we re-board the Ogia, we will have cycled almost thirty kilometers.


Our first stop is a dolmen on the side of the road, where we try to organize a group photo, but some just won't cooperate...


But the group finally cooperates.  Don't they look fresh now, not knowing how many kilometers we plan on squeezing out of them?


While we cycle along the coast, the views of the rocky shores are spectacular.


Next, we stop to climb the rocks at low tide.  We observe the abundant wildlife on the rocks and in the tidal pools.  Of course, we remember that the island is a protected site and are happy to leave it in as good a shape as we found it.


Kevin, the king of the mountain?


Not quite...  Queen Elizabeth  and Empress Alicen reign.  Cassé, Kevin!


While the queens await for their lunches to be delivered, they enjoy the magnificent view of the cove.  The color contrasts are what make so much of the beauty of the island.


The servants hurry up the path, but not quite fast enough.


Here they are at long last.  They will be lucky to ride away with their heads still attached.


The picnic site is also breathtaking.  Here we have found some trees and enjoy the shade, the breeze and the company.


The court is happy to finally rest a bit.


Here are the birthday girls (Liz will be 21 on July 3rd).  The Lastingkoffs cannot help being reminded of the famous Manet painting, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe. 


This photo does not do this royal picnic justice.  Fine roast beef, delicate salad, smooth pâté, tasty cheese, crispy chips.  Nothing is missing, not even the wine!


Now we all savor the specialty of the island: tarte de l'île (a tarte aux pruneaux).


We feel most safe during our lunch, as three gendarmes happen to be picnicking next to us.  They are working on a tough assignment, checking the diving groups who love this spot (and yes, if you look closely, he does have a real holster, n'est-ce pas Dr. Mike?)


Some of us relax after lunch.


Others explore and hunt pictures.


After lunch we stop at the Old Château for a beautiful group picture on the bridge (yes, that's us).  Wait... where is Jordan?


Here she is!


What a handsome foursome!


We all enjoy climbing the rocks, trying to get the best vantage point to admire the scenery.  Here Emily and Rachael think they have found it.


The lasting Lastingkoffs are here to stay indeed! 


Our group splits up.  The beach bums decide to take a dip in the clear waters by the Old Castle.


The Rockers go explore the "pierre tremblante" (the trembling rock).


On the way, they enjoy another spectacular view.


Another group yet decides to pay a visit to the island cemetery.


The most famous occupant is the Maréchal Pétain, hero of the First World War, and the man who played such a difficult role during the Second World War.  To show disapproval of Pétain's actions, he alone is buried facing the continent, others face the sea.


After such a full day, we settle in the boat for the ride home. 


As you can see, we are in good spirits, and we are TANNED!


We pull away from Port-Joinville.  This is a place that will stay in our hearts for many years.  The pristine condition of the island will not be easily forgotten.


One last group picture...  what photographer could resist our 2010 Vendéens?

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