The country that brought us potato vending machines is back — with an even more unlikely foodstuff: Oysters can now be purchased by vending machine, 24/7. At least if you're on the Breton Ile de Ré, a sort of French version of Montauk, on the Atlantic Coast.
Local oyster purveyor L'Huitriere de Ré is filling its vending machine with 600 oysters, packed into self-serve wooden boxes. Give ’em the money, and the machine will give you an assortment of locally farmed oysters, in various configurations costing between about $17 and $50. Payment by credit card is available, though we'd love to know how our American credit cards will fare in the machine. (Frankly, we're skeptical.) If it works, though: bon appétit! Or, you know, come back for counter service during business hours, like in olden days.
The Ile de Ré is actually a worthy destination for travelers looking for an add-on from Paris, and it's just slightly farther-flung from the capital than Montauk is from New York City. And just like the Hamptons, it's even better in September, once all the city dwellers have headed back to town. Make your plans now.