Fast and dirty, a teaser toward the posts I would love to write if I only had the strength. We’re moving into our new place in Saintes, Charente-Maritime, France and between the packing boxes and the chore’s list, we barely have time to breathe.
Today we drove to La Rochelle for an appointment at the Préfecture to initiate my American husband’s residency permit. He applied for a Carte de Séjour, the French identity card, to which he is entitled by virtue of being married for endless oodles of years to a ‘ressortissant européen’, namely me. I, on the other hand, am denied such a handy Frenchy ID card, because I’m German and therefore expected to have a German ID card or ‘Personalausweis’. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a German residence in nearly 40 years, thus no German papers – other than my passport, of course. The very nice lady, who processed my husband’s application, agreed wholeheartedly with me about the unfair privilege of foreigners like him! She was a sweetheart through and through and processed us speedily and without undo fuss.
This was our first visit to the picturesque old harbor town of La Rochelle and we enjoyed our visit very much. Remind me, to tell you the story of our bizarre parking adventure in a future post. For now, I’d just like to give you a quick glimpse into the entanglement of past and present in this region, formerly called Aquitaine.
Here we were in the old harbor of La Rochelle, enjoying the sunshine. I kept calling the boat moored straight ahead ‘Etude d’Aquitaine’, instead of ‘Eude d’Aquitaine’. Not surprising, really, considering that ‘etude’ means a study or lawyer’s office, and we had spent a lot of time at our lawyer’s etude lately. When I googled the name later, it turned out that ‘Eude’ or ‘Odo’ is a very important historical name in our region. It refers to Odo the Great, Duke of Gascony and Vasconia, one-time foe of Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne. To appreciate the depth of importance of regional history, you have to realize that Odo either resigned his dukedom or died, it’s not known which, a fair while ago, in 735 CE.
Another eye-catching item on our slow walk through town were these shutters fashioned of wood from cognac shipping crates. The town of Cognac, where all these famous distilleries operate is only about twenty minutes East of Saintes.
As we were walking back to the car park, I noticed this unique sign for a hip restaurant. It just made me smile.
What a day!