Beware – Leaping Deer

Monday 29th October

For years we have always joked whenever we saw the prettiest roadsign, the one with the leaping deer.  And whether in England, Wales or anywhere in France we have driven through mile after mile of forest and woodland with nary a sign of deer, nibbling the shoots of trees, standing still, or even rutting let alone leaping.  Yet today on the way to Marmande, just outside Miramont we saw two leaping deer.  There were a few copses around but it was mostly open and sloping fields.  We were the only car on the road and there was absolutely no sign for leaping deer along this particular stretch of road.  You are never really prepared for these things when they happen, but this time we were both looking ahead and at exactly the same moment we saw them, two deer – muntjack or roe probably, as they weren’t much  taller than a full-grown sheep – running, or actually careening down the sloping field to our left. We slowed the car a bit and stared amazed as they leapt in two or three bounds across the road not twenty feet ahead of us and continued running to our right until they disappeared into a small copse of trees.  What a wonderful sight.

We were on our way to the Bay of Arcachon, a huge expanse of the Atlantic almost completely encircled by land just to the south of Bordeaux.  We drove along the South side, which was full of delightful villa’s and small towns. Marinas and restaurants and mud flats and islands all the way to Arcachon itself which stands at the southern point of the pincers almost closing the bay off from the huge Atlantic Ocean.  We could see Cap Ferrat opposite in the clear cold sunny air, a lovely sight.

Then we drove down the coast then inland to ‘Etang de Cazaux et du Sanguinet’, one of four huge inland lakes that dot the coast of Les Landes.  Spectacularly beautiful.  What a lovely day.