Today is the French National Day, celebrated every year on the 14th of July. Though I no longer live in France, I will always be grateful for my time there. It’s the country that first lured me to Europe. It’s where I met, and then married my husband. And it’s where I have had some of the most valuable experiences of my life so far. It’s so much more than Paris and the Côte d’Azur, and I wish everyone the opportunity to visit someday.

France’s Côte d’Opale stretches from Calais to Boulogne-sur-Mer. The area is known for its wide, sandy beaches and stunning views from the cliffs Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez. On clear days, the coast of England can be spotted a mere 20 miles away across the Channel.

Ernest has the best ice cream in La Rochelle and I would dare say, the region. Whenever we’re in the area, we make sure to stop chez Ernest for 2 scoops. They always have the classic flavors, but one can also find interesting combinations such as lemon-basil, coffee-cognac and my personal favorite, poppy-strawberry. Ernest’s ice cream is best enjoyed sitting on the quai, legs dangling over the blue-green water, soaking up some sun. **For more photos, check out Bela Lumo’s Facebook… Read more »