The scene at the Bistro Marin

There is a corpulent man at the Bistro Marin in St. Martin, his arms folded across his thick chest, sleeping with his nose almost in his beer. Along the sea wall, couples walk slowly, aimlessly. They sit on green benches looking at the ocean, arms wrapped around each other, not talking. Reluctantly they stand up, return the way they came, always looking out to sea.

photo by David Lansing

photo by David Lansing


Everyone here looks longingly out to sea.

Here is the thing: I have fallen in to doing nothing on Île de Ré.


I find a bench and sit for awhile—facing the ocean—and then move on. To a café where I order a glass of the local white wine, Le Royal, and breathe in the marine air. I sit on the seawall watching the fishermen with their long poles. Or the kids diving from the old fortress wall into the ocean. Hours pass this way.


Sometimes I have to force myself to move. Even if only to another bench, another café chair.

Soon I may not have the energy to leave Île de Ré.