Finding a little peace and quiet in the modern world as it careers around us at a hectic pace can sometimes be a challenge. It may often seem that it is necessary to travel great distances to really ‘get away’ from it all. Destinations with a slower pace of life that are closer to home are still possible to find. Small havens of sanity and solitude when we need them. Île-d’Aix in the Poitou-Charentes region of France is one such destination.
The island only measures 1.19 km2 and has a population just a few hundred, this swells dramatically each day as the ferries drop of hundreds of daytrippers from the mainland. For this reason, staying overnight is recommended, there are several comfortable hotels and good restaurants to make the stay a pleasant one.
The main benefit however is most of the tourists will have left with the last ferry. As the sun sets over the lighthouse it becomes a sanctuary from the outside world. Perfect for taking a slow walk or bike ride along the coast, finding one of the secluded coves and enjoying a moment of seclusion. Staying overnight also provides the perfect opportunity to get a head start on the arriving hordes when exploring the following day.
The moments of calm came early for me, waiting for the ferry to transport me and my companions across to the island I took the opportunity to explore with the camera. I soon found a lone fisherman and a platform which almost looked like a mini oil rig but obviously isn’t. They were unexpected treats as they both looked so incredibly peaceful, perfect moments of contemplation.
The fisherman in particular appears so serene, anglers often do to me. They sit silently, patiently waiting for a fish to bite, hoping it will provide some sport and be large enough to grace their dinner plate. Watching him for awhile and looking again at the image I attempted to fathom what his thoughts are. I will never know but he remains a portrait of solitude.
Moments of peace are a rarity for many of us, we can possibly learn from the angler, seeking some quiet time for ourselves and a way to get away from it all, even for just a few minutes.
Just looking at these images takes me to moments of tranquility. Aix like the other islands of Poitou-Charentes is a place of bliss, it was my privilege to be there and to share some of those moments with you now.