“It has always been a marvel to me — that French language; it has always been a puzzle to me. How beautiful that language is! How expressive it seems to be! How full of grace it is! And, oh, I am always deceived – I always think I am going to understand it.”
Mark Twain, a Biography
Our plan was quite simple – to hire bicycles and cycle along the coastal paths for as far as we could, or for at least as far as our bottoms would let us, so we made straight away for a bike hire shop opposite the bus stop in Saint Martin-de-Ré. This was a real challenge because the bicycle-hiring clerk could speak not a word of English and I was a bit stumped as soon as I got beyond ‘Bonjour Monsieur, deux bicyclettes sil vous plait!’ which I had been practising to myself for about half an hour and was practically word perfect.