Île -de- Ré and Brittany
Île-de-Ré and Brittany
After a wonderful week in Paris, we caught the train to Rennes. Taking trains in France can be somewhat nerve-racking. A billboard shows you the track the train will be arriving on 20 minutes before departure. After the announcement, everybody rushes up or down the assigned track, trying to find the right car where they have a reserved seat. In our case, the announcement wasn't made until 10 minutes before departure, so you can just imagine the pushing and shoving to get onto the train. I almost lost my hubby because he is so polite, allowing people to pass. Once we arrived in Rennes, we rented a car and drove to the Île-de-Ré to visit friends who own a house on this gorgeous island. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Our three-day stay was relaxing and fun. We went to the local market and bought fresh fruit, cheeses, oysters and fresh-caught fish. Our first meal on the island was mules frites (mussels and French fries). It was so much fun to have our friends show us this beautiful island. I bought a lot of different sea salts and brought them home.
After a short and sweet visit with our friends, we left for a three-hour drive to Quimper, a picturesque town in Bretagne with cobblestone streets, shops and museums. Quimper is generally regarded as the cultural center of Brittany. Once a year, an annual festival celebrates the Breton Culture. From Quimper, we explored the surrounding area for the next three days.
Our first stop was Pont-Aven, an attractive little village best known for its association with Paul Gauguin. Here we had breakfast, visited the local market and walked by some old mills.
Point -Aven is a tourist destination, as is Corncarneu, our next stop. We did not stay very long because it was simply too touristy for us. Our next stop was Bénodet on the southern coast of Brittany.
We took a nice stroll along the bay watching the sail boats and found a great place to have a wonderful lunch. We had fried fresh sardines on a bed of lettuce with tomato dip. My husband had a wonderful piece of white fish on top of a zucchini ragout with olives and capers in a tomato sauce. I had a most delicious scallop salad with prosciutto. I love the pink tails on the scallops.
After our great lunch, we decided to go for it and drove to Pointe du Raz, a promontory that extends into the Atlantic Ocean. This wild and windy point is one of Brittany's most popular natural sites. It has breathtaking cliff-top walks and white-washed houses nearby.
After our stay in Quimper, we drove to Cancale. Mention Cancale to a foodie and a quick reply will be "oysters," which have been cultivated here for hundreds of years. Originally, we were to meet some friends for a night but it didn't work out. All we had left were local oysters and crab. For our first course, we sat on a sea wall eating oysters we had bought from one of a dozen vendors. It was a memorable experience eating these briny magnificent sea creatures, throwing the shells on the beach.
The next day, we drove to Rennes to drop off our car and take the train back to Paris, where we flew home the next morning. Don't ever assume that dropping off a car at the train station outside of Paris would be easy. We had no idea that the entire railroad station was a giant construction zone which made it a real challenge to drop off the car. I asked the lady at the counter if people had just abandoned their cars and taken a taxi to bring the key. She nodded yes.
Traveling is always an adventure and life is good. Bon voyage .
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Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.