Today we resolved to do nothing in particular during the day, and hope to get the girls to go to sleep nice and early so we could go out for dinner in La Rochelle in the evening. Grandad got up first and in traditional style kept Izzy and then Ami busy until everyone else could be bothered.

Any dreams of a quiet day was quickly gone with the discovery of lots of new friends who arrived last night. In the “big house” we say hello to Katy and Thomas from Cambridgeshire and their parents Matt and Suzi. With them are Beatrice, Jemima and Constance, also from Cambridgeshire, with their parents Alun and Jessica. Round the corner in the duplex we say hello to Edward and Lucy from Yorkshire with their parents Simon and Rachel. And by evening time we also were joined by William and Alex from Northampton with their parents John and Kelly (I think). Anyway, that probably makes a full compliment of 12 adults and 11 kids, the oldest of which is 11 and only three of whom are over 6. It could be a bit loud this week and there’s probably going to be loads of playground incidents.

Most of our day was spent getting in and out of the swimming pool and being joined by various friends at various points. First up in the morning all the kids from the big house and their dads joined us for a very splashy, shrieky and generally enjoyable bonding session. In between visits to the pool Ami spent most of her time in the sandpit with Katy, Thomas and Jemima getting properly acquainted.

The afternoon was also spent with various groups of kids engaged happily in various forms of play, with occasional adult supervision or participation, but nothing outstanding. And so we prepared ourselves for an evening out “on the town” by all having a jolly good shower, listening to Abba and grabbing half an hour’s shut-eye.

The drive to La Rochelle was as uneventful as you could imagine, mainly because we knew the way there now. We parked up round the back of the Arsenal. No, not that Arsenal, you numpty. And we went for a wander.

Being a Sunday evening and being after 7 pm it was as busy as a busy thing. The main street along the Vieux Port was shut off and full of street entertainers, stall holders, and all sorts of strange gubbins. Ami was out looking for something to spend her holiday pennies on and was quickly engaged by the idea of having a hair braid. This was maybe in part due to some encouragement from Kas, who apparently always used to have them when she went on holiday with her folks as a kid. So Ami got a lovely braid in shades of pink, purple, red, white and light blue, which she has spent the remainder of the holiday showing off, playing with and getting irritated by in equal proportions.

For dinner, we picked the Bistro Le Canot, one of many cafes and restaurants alongside the Vieux Port. We picked it partly because of the wide ranging menu including pizzas and pastas, a “formule enfant” and French style set menus as well as French a la carte. We had a debate over whether to wait for an outside table but the better choice seemed to be to sit inside so that we had enough space for the little darlings to stretch their legs in between courses. This proved to be a good thing as late night = twitchy children. The review (follow the link above) basically says it’s not a bad restaurant but for the same money you can eat better elsewhere. Yeah, you can, but if you went elsewhere then you wouldn’t be here, and here is where La Rochelle is at, especially for tourists. Everywhere else is going to be suburban or a backstreet. Of course you pay a premium to sit outside here because it’s right on the Vieux Port.

The food was decent enough although the service was a bit slow towards the end. They were a bit full. The girls got suitably topped up with nuggets, frites and (in Ami’s case) Granny’s chocolate mousse.

On the way back to the car Ami spent further pennies on a necklace from one of the many little stalls along the Cour des Dames and as usual. She’s starting to act like a much older girl than she really is.

The drive home somehow always seems much faster than the drive out. We got two kids in bed quickly, and then two parents in bed quickly, cha-ching, job done. Can’t be bad.