Headed to find a beach, we meandered into a tiny fishing village in search of lunch. But arriving in the dead zone between 12 ad 2pm we thought we were out of luck with all the shops and tabacs firmly closed.
We stumbled on a make-shift marquee near the sea-front, and although they were evidently packing up, two kindly old dears rustled us up a feast of pate baguettes and cans of Orangina, and we ambled down to the sea front.
A quick dip in the sea, and some pebble collecting took place before a big hullabaloo started around us. It was clear there was something happening, and we eventually found out we were in the midst of the annual sea-fishing contest where the menfolk proudly hunted and gathered, vying for cups and trophies.
The boats started to appear on the horizon and soon a huge crowd had gathered to ooh and ahh at their catches. Men in tight trunks proudly puffed their chests as they hauled their crates of fish off the boats for weighing.
We asked whether it was possible to buy some. A Gallic shrug of the shoulders and a "Non" was at first disappointing, until we realised that they wouldn't sell them, but would happily give their silvery mackerel away.
Seasoned viewers of this spectacle produced plastic bags and some even had cool bags, but we hastily improvised with a pair of wet swimming trunks and a towel, carefully wrapping the bounty up and driving it home next to the air con vent in the car, before transferring to ice cold water.
A quick lesson from Google saw the Old Man deftly gut and clean the fish, and then they were put securely in the fish griller and popped on the barbecue.
As we'd been sent a selection of BBQ equipment from Sainsbury's we also tried out the sausage cage - not so good for the skinny offerings the French seem to favour, but I suspect perfect for a hearty British banger, where your sausages can be easily browned all over without the risk of losing them to the burning coals. We also had some burgers which we cooked on the barbecue plank. I can't say I was a huge fan of this method. There were no instructions with the product but my foodie friends informed me that I should first soak it in juice or alcohol (a couple of bottles of French beer obliged), then cook the meat on top. It was like a little burger funeral pyre, but they were taking too long to cook through to the middle so we abandoned it! Maybe one for those with more patience!
Disclosure: We were sent the BBQ equipment by Sainsbury's to try out. The mackerel came with no strings attached.