Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Le Petit Train

At Saint-Trojan on the Ile d'Oléron, there is a little tourist railroad that takes you from the edge of town out through the woods to the beach. The woods, mostly conifers, were planted in the early nineteenth century in an attempt to stabilize the sands. The original forest was pretty much decimated by human activity in the middle ages.

The train stops at the beach for about 30 mins. before heading back.

The beach is on the southern end of the island at the inlet between it and the mainland. The ride takes about thirty minutes each way. We got our tickets and caught the last train for the afternoon. The staff told us that we'd have a half-hour on the beach before the return trip. It was all a bit hokey, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Choo, choo!

Callie came with us. She was quite nervous, but behaved incredibly well and stayed in a "down" during the entire ride. Then, of course, she got to romp around on the beach until we headed back. When it was time, she jumped right aboard as if she understood that we were going back.

A bleached out crab shell on the beach.

The little train, first opened in 1963, is run by people who are obviously train buffs. They really get into it. I'm sure many of them are retired cheminots (railroad employees) who do this for little or no compensation, just for the fun of it.

There were a lot of dead trees near the beach.


  1. In Normandy, in summer time, there is also a "petit train" going from Carteret to Port-Bail and back two or three times a week. I think it is managed, maintained and operated by train buffs, probably retired "cheminots" as in Oléron. It is a very pleasant ride.

  2. Walt calls the train buffs "foamers". Don't know what the translation might be.

  3. chm, there seem to be a lot of these around the country.

    cheryl, excuse me while I wipe my chin...


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