Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mimizan, happiness XXL

My Swedish friend Tomas spent many summer days in Mimizan as a child. How did it go when he came back, full of nostalgia, with his wife and children?

Mimizan seen from the sky

Tomas was four years old the first time he came to Mimizan. It was during the early sixties and his uncle had just finished building a new house. He remembers the long, long beach, the tide, the sea shells and the smell of seaweed. The impressive ship wreck poised a bit off the beach. The sound of the sea, always a noise from the wind and the waves. In the evenings the house next to the pine forest was calm and peaceful. The pines smelled. The pine cones were enourmous. The adults played bridge while Tomas played with his cousins and tried to eavesdrop. He tried some culinary modernities,  like garlic, basilic and vinaigrette...

Sea front in Mimizan

When I ask him what is was like to come back, he thinks for a short while and says: Many things were different, or rather, I saw them in a different light. Now I noticed the German tourists, the fast food places and the surf gangs. They were probably already there when I was a child, but I didn't really see them. The parts close to the water have changed the most. The Mimizan village, a bit retreated from the sea, has changed the least. The beach is also the same. Fantastic to see how happy it makes the kids! The tide retiring and creating small ponds to play in, all the different sea shells to collect and the big waves to play in, holding on tightly to my hand!

Going down to the beach in Mimizan

Mimizan has a Floral Promenade around the Mimizan Lake which is very well known. It starts at the lake where the road avenue du Lac ends. Over 300 species of flowers, best in the morning or at sunset.

Abbey in Mimizan
Photo Wikipedia

The Mimizan Abbey is on the UNESCO World Culture Heritage List. In the Middle Ages Mimizan was one of the stops on the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrim road and a protected area where you could seek protection from the wrath of the king. At that time nine pyramids marked the area - only five remain visible today.

There are four protected ocean beaches and one beach at the outflow from the Aureilhan Lake. Nudists are tolerated on the northern beach Remember. Mimizan has the label Kid, which means it is child friendly. The tourist office slogan is Le bonheur en grand = Happiness XXL !

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