The French have the uncanny knack of hiding their light under a bushel. A nation that prides itself on having the finest cuisine, whilst being incredibly rude to the customer, cunningly switches the play to produce dreadful food with a smile. The smile, however, is often enough for me as I’m prepared for the ploy and I’m already looking out the window at the blue sea and sky which I wasn’t prepared for as the French internet assured me that it would be pouring with rain. That’s the way to stop an invasion of money wielding tourists – warn them of imminent storms, and if that doesn’t work, make them eat frightening looking plates of food. Well I hope that’s put you off coming to the Atlantic coast of France. I love it. I love the off season emptiness, the warmth, the smells and the whole look of it. I don’t care that the food is mediocre because I eat well at home and I am aware of the night mare of running restaurants in France. The only solution is to have the simplest thing on the menu. A crab with mayonnaise will always be better than the Assiette de Pecheur in which the kitchen has signally failed to improve upon nature. There is also the problem that many of the good things aren’t to everyone’s taste, such as oysters, bulots and bigorneaux. So much the better – more for those who love them. Above all I love the essence of Frenchness with which the coast path is imbued. The lace curtains and gnomes sit cheek by jowl with the simplest architect designed seaside home. There is a quietness that permits the birds, the wind and the sea to make their aural contribution to an atmosphere of peace and quiet. During July and August this will be a different place. It will still be seaside, but you’ll have to share it with other people.