Brittany

My trip to Brittany was a road trip. It started with a drive from Paris, in search of the wild. This search, that led me through the countryside of Normandy, ultimately ended in the scenic cliffs of Brittany.

Brittany is a bit of discordant note of France. Its a far cry from the touristy areas of Nice or even Annecy. Its dialect different from French, and the origin of its people also different. The Bretons are of Celtic origin. Their dance, different. Their music, different.

Its contribution to the French culture is almost taken for granted. Take Crepes, for instance. Its from Brittany. Art: Paul Gauguin‘s finest works are products of his life in Brittany. Honestly – That it was Brittany that gave Gauguin the canvas of his impressionist work, was a proud discovery of my life.

I explored different Breton cities. These are:

Saint Malo:

A beach city Saint Malo, has 2 distinct areas. The Intramuros (inside the walls) and Extramuros (outside the walls). Intramuros is the part that is walled, protecting the maritime city from invasion in the past. Today the walled area contains several restaurants, and art galleries.

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Intramuros
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Gardens inside the Intramuros

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The outer area, is the newer part. This area has less touristy things, but some very fine restaurants. One such restaurant is the Brasserie du Sillon, which serves gourmet French – fusion seafood.

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French India fusion food (Curry Salmon): At the Brasserie du Sillon
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Italian Risotto, with grilled fish

Saint Malo is also famous as a yachting destination, and it is easy to rent yachts. Yachting is a good way to explore the coast of Brittany, as one can see its various beach towns that don’t require a more than a day of exploration. The other option is to drive around – which is what I did 🙂

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The harbour of Saint Malo

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Overall, Saint Malo is a one – night destination. Hotels need to be booked in advance, if you’re visiting the city in the high tourism months of July and August. I was a little late in booking the hotel, myself, so found one room available for over EUR 100 in La Rotonde. It is a basic hotel, but pricey for the room size, and overall lack of amenities – when compared to Asian hotels.

Ploumannach:

Ploumannach is a pink miracle adorning the coast of Brittany. It has what is known as the Côte de Granit Rose, or “Pink Granite Coast”.

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Ploumannach literally means parish of the monk. Turns out that there still is a medieval chapel in the city- which however has converted to a family resort these days

Literally hidden somewhere off the coast of France, it interestingly has been ranked 11, by the Telegraph, in its list of Europe’s 52 best secret beaches. Not that I have visited all the beaches, but I can appreciate why Ploumannach ranks so high. There are few beaches in the world that house a spectacular assortment of pink granites in the coast. Ploumannach is one of them.

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The accompanying light house adds to the silhouette, making the town a picture postcard scenery.

Overall, Ploumannach needs not more than a day to walk around its beach, and explore the various creperies at its centre.

Rennes:

Rennes, honestly is the my favourite city in Brittany. I loved its colourful, quaint streets, and creperies. Its timbered buildings, dating back to the 15th century, emit a light of exuberance –  and allow for a quick time travel back to history. I literally felt that I was walking back to middle ages, when people had the time to chat, and indulge in the art of doing nothing (or as the Italian say it: l’atre di fare niente)

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Rennes Centre: What a quiet Sunday afternoon looks like
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The timbered buildings dating back to the 15th century

It is the capital of Brittany, and looked to me mostly like a university town. Students from Brittany come to Rennes, to not only pursue graduate studies, but also to enrol in preparatory schools, that prepare french students for the grande ecoles.

What’s interesting about Rennes is that its the best French city, to live as an expat. Surprising, isn’t it? But according the The Local, Rennes, is a great place, given its cozy size (neither too big, nor to small) and its monthly house rent that comes to, yes, only a EUR 470.

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The street leading to the historic centre – laden with quiet patiserries

The centre, that house the parliament and the court is quiet on a Sunday – and makes for a beautiful quiet walk.

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The Opera
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The parliament
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The court of Brittany

The food scene of Rennes is a real treat. The crepes here, have a taste of authenticity, that you can’t find in Paris. I enjoyed the Crepes, and the Cider at La Rozelle – and would recommend it to anyone, who happens to be in Rennes.

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Crepes with blue cheese and mushrooms
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Cider: Brittany is famous for its Apple Cider
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French Earl Grey: The perfect way to end the day.

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