All the small things

A small black dog runs along the boardwalk. He stops to wag his tongue, officially welcoming us to La Chaume and Les Sables d’Olonne. There is an entire Atlantic Ocean stretching further than my eyes can see, but today it seems that only the small things capture my attention. That silly black boardwalk dog, and now the lighthouse which from this distance seems to fit between my fingers. 


Even as Laura and Marine, our student tour guides, give us details I notice that it’s the petite bits of information that make their
presentation interesting. 


Prieuré Saint-Nicolas was established by the Benedictine monks in the 12th century, but was sacked during the religious wars,” says Marine.

I am captivated until something smaller finds my attention. It is a sign that clearly says to not take photos. 

There used to be a small bridge connecting La Chaume and Les Sables, but it was destroyed by a storm. The only way to cross the water is taking the shortest boat ride of my life. It takes less than a two minutes, but is completely worth the view. 


Even as we head to the beach I can’t help wondering why they simply don’t rebuild the bridge. They could ultimately save money, time, and fuel. Thankfully, my attention diverts time a more worthy cause. It is a small neon ball. It flies through the air, paddle-to-paddle, as we play beach ping pong.

I began to think that my thoughts on small things are a bit obsessive until we reached La Rue D’Enfer. It is literally the narrowest street in the world. I soon found out how small it was when my broad shoulders were too wide to pass through. However, it seems the smallest exchange student of us all has no trouble passing through. It was a sign that my thoughts were meant to be.

The walls of l'île Penotte have been a personal canvass for Danièle Arnaud-Aubin since 1997. Some only see small sea shells when walking along the beaches in Les Sables, but she envisions something more. She takes all the small things to make beautiful collages depicting ancient stories and legends. 


Our guides stop into a bike shop to rent two rosalie a pedales, which are four-seater bikes. The weather is tranquil, and a nice beachfront bike ride is a perfect way to relax. However, the easy going joyride quickly turns into a race. We whizz pass elderly couples and families laughing hilariously. Everything is going so fast, but in the midst of the chaos something catches my. It is the largest fake ice cream cone I have ever seen. 


We stand in front of the shop after the race, reflecting on our trip to Les Sables. There are monuments. Then, there are moments. They can be some of the smallest details that combine to comprise our memories, and ultimately remind us of a wonderful day.