Akaroa is the kind of place that I wish I could just put into a little snow globe and tuck away in my pocket, that's how cute it is! This little peninsula about an hours drive out of Christchurch is actually a French settlement and therefore feels like you're not quite in New Zealand anymore. In summer this place is buzzing with tourists and holiday makers, but as we quickly learned... in winter you can pretty much watch icy tumble weed blowing down the main street. Shops are closed, houses are shut up and the few people left in town look like they are ready to hibernate for winter. To be fair I would do the same! The wind slaps at you from all angles coming straight from the sea. In fact I could hardly hold my camera straight to take a few pictures.
After a quick wander up and down the main street to look for a warm place to eat, we realised the L'Escargot was probably going to be our only option. Strange little place that was. Apparently the women at the counter were drained of all their friendliness to tourists over the summer, and by now everything was an effort. Unfortunately I turn into an absolute witch if I don't eat, and my friend is a breast feeding mama who needs food every 5 minutes so we settled in for a french onion soup. Turns out that onion soup didn't agree with any of us so well as we found out later that evening... but that's another story!
The town itself is just how I remembered it. Speckled along the coast and up the side of the hill are enough tiny little workers cottages to make me melt inside! You can just imagine how the first settlers might have lived here, and I very much envy the people that live there now. The attention to detail in these little places makes you wonder why in today's society, with all our fancy technology, we can't manage to create something half this beautiful.
I don't think you can really visit Christchurch without heading to Akaroa for a day, but please do it summer! I for one never get tired of its frenchy goodness and quaint old school ways. Next time I just plan to be sitting at a side walk table in my pretty vintage dress, sipping an espresso and nibbling on a rich buttery pan au chocolat.