le bord de mer -- seashore / seasidele bord de la mer -- the shore of the sea
To supplement Chris' great answer, here is a third example:
le bord de la mer Méditerranée / Baltique = the shore of the Mediterranean / Baltic sea
-> the definite article 'la' is included as it specifies which sea one is talking about
Also, see link here on a similar topic: the-definite-article-or-not
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
This is a case of fixed expressions:
Au bord de la mer = on the shore of the sea -> specific
En bord de mer = on the seashore -> generic
It is interesting to note that in the vocabulary exercise, À la plage, of August 3, the only correct answer for seaside is au bord de la mer. If you supply au bord de mer, it will be marked as incorrect despite the fact that no specific sea is mentioned. This is at odds with the explanations given above, so I am guessing that the answer given in the exercise is incorrect.
Frank makes a good point. In the exercise that he mentioned above, the sentence was “Days BYTHE SEASIDE are best” (a general statement) but the only correct answer was “Les journées AU BORD DE LA MER sont les meilleures” which seems to go against Céline’s answer in this thread. Maybe the terms are more interchangeable than has been suggested?
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