Of crêpes, Brittany and tiny Vikings

bretagne-mont-saint-michel

Let’s get back to France for a post or two, and let’s start with one of the most iconic French regions: Brittany.

Back in October, I  went to visit my nephew François and his son in Brittany. I also took this opportunity to go see Mont Saint-Michel. Believe it or not, this was my first trip to Brittany. Surprising I know since it is such a lovely and as I said, iconic, part of the country. What a revelation that was! I spend the first three days of my trip in the northern part of the region: Mont Saint Michel (technically located in Normandy), Saint Malo and Dinard. Mont Saint-Michel dates wayyyyyyy back, but it was mostly key in defending us against the Viking invasions, which is kind of funny since my little nephew is from Norway… I did not expect to like Mont Saint Michel so much to be honest. It is such an iconic place and I expected it to be so crowded with tourists. But I must say that it really is the magical place that people talk about despite the tourists. I wouldn’t mind visiting again. That huge monastery on that tiny island out in the ocean and all the natural life surrounding it (swamps, sheep, birds…). Truly special indeed! . This whole area really feels like Normandy. Southern England even… You know they even play the back pipes there.

mont-saint-michel

 

After a day there, I drove West to Saint Malo which was mostly known for being THE corsair (pirates) hideout back in the day. Then West again to Dinard and finally down to the Vannes area where François’ new raceboat is being built (I think I mentioned before he’s like the best sailor in France – I know I’m bragging, but I’m so damn proud of the little shit!). I ended up in the village of Port la Forêt near Concarneau where he lives. We sailed and ate tons of crêpes and pizza and took long walks on the beach. The fat guy eating the crêpe in the picture is my brother who joined us that weekend.

brittany

 

François just bought the tiny boat you see here to be used as a floating apartment when he visits his son in Norway. He and tiny Viking’s mother are separated unfortunately…

francois-gabart

 

With salt grass lamb and seafood, the culinary specialty of Brittany is crêpes and “galettes”. Galettes are savory crêpes made with sarrasin (black flour). We eat them with apple cider of course. The area is covered with apple trees. I like crêpes better than galettes (with loads of butter and sugar of course). I made it my mission to find the best ones in the region! And I did (you know how dedicated I can be when it comes to my food research). I probably gained 5 pounds in 5 days, but damn it! Mission accomplished! I will post about crêpes when we come closer to the “Chandeleur”. Although the Britons eat crêpes all the time, Chandeleur is when we eat them most crêpes in other parts of the country.

So here are some of my pictures:

55 Comments Add yours

  1. distancewide says:

    very very good pictures !!!

  2. Zelda says:

    The Brittany Coast is one of my favourite places, so wild and rugged! Parts of it remind me of Norway. Beautiful photos!

  3. Some of those buildings look like old Danish timber houses. I had no idea Brittany looked like that. Need to make it there some day soon.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You will absolutely love Brittany Dorothy!

  4. Marie Keates says:

    Although we spent a lot of time in Normandy, we never did visit Mont St Michel. Like you I thought it would be too touristy. Now I’m wishing I had and I shall add it to my long list. You’re right that the Normandy countryside is very much like southern England, where I live. Maybe that’s why it feels so much like home to us. The medieval streets are wonderful, I’d love to walk them.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’ve always loved Normandy and I LOVE England. Every square inch of it!

  5. platedujour says:

    Beautiful little boy and a beautiful father too 😉

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! I wish I could see them more often 🙂

  6. yogaleigh says:

    Umpty years ago I took the Sorbonne’s Course d’ete pour les etudiants etrangeres (sorry I’d have to learn technical stuff I don’t want to know to get the accents in 🙂 ) and signed up for some weekend excursions they offered. One included Mont Saint Michel — through all these years, that’s a strong memory of beauty and magic. In spite of the crowds. Thanks for taking me on a walk down memory lane. I lived in a foyer on the Ile St. Louis that summer and walked by Notre Dame every day on my way to school… Heavenly

    1. My French Heaven says:

      YOUR French heaven then 😉

  7. You have a lovely family, you should be proud! 🙂

  8. chef mimi says:

    Well if this post isn’t an advertisement to visit France, I don’t know what else could be! Gorgeous. I’ve not been to that part of France, but now I really must!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Let’s do that next year on our tour de France 😉

  9. hopflower says:

    Parts of Southern England do indeed remind one of Brittany. And we are of Viking heritage, too.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Those darn Vikings 😉

  10. Elisa says:

    Delicious images or subjects! I cannot tease them apart!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Elisa! So glad you liked the post 🙂

  11. sabine says:

    I´ve been thinking a lot about Brittany these days since it´s the region of France where I spent most of my vacations from my childhood on to last year, actually. I just love everything about it, from the rustic architecture to the rough landscapes, food, hortensias….so maybe you can understand how touched I am to find all I miss right now in your beautiful post!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Glad I was able to revive these memories dear Sabine. It really is a special place isn’t it 😉

  12. ladyredspecs says:

    OK, now you’re making it hard for me. Where do I travel to next, Japan, France, Japan !france.. I love the intimate moments you’ve captured, you have a wonderful eye

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Sandra! No, you’re next trip is to Bordeaux!!! We have the wine and the beach and the castles… I’ll see you at the airport 😉

  13. Another beautiful post! You captured the beauty of Bretagne, and also the beauty of your nephew’s love for his son – priceless photos, Stéphane! Brittany has become one of my favorite areas of France- we will be visiting there this summer, my in-laws live in Locmariaquer, on the Golfe de Morbihan. I can taste the galettes and cider already!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so lucky! I did fall hard in love with Bretagne 😉 Maybe I’ll see you there someday. Enjoy your vacation!! 😉

  14. Your photographs are a delight to behold of the region, and your bragging rights are surely justified for the sailor of the family! I used to race sailboats back in college, what wonderful memories!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I know, sailing really is a wonderful thing. I like to do it close to the coast though. The last race he won, François went around the globe on his own without stopping. It took him 76 days! 😉

      1. I’ve only ever sailed on land-locked lakes. The ocean would terrify me!

  15. msshe says:

    Your photographs are lovely….Et vôtre petit nevu est si charmant. J’aime aussi le bateau et vôtre plus grand nevu. Je ne suis pas allée à Mont Saint Michelle quand j’étais en France autrement….Mai’s pêut être un de ces jours. J’ai voyagé au sud de la France et un peu au nord pour la plupart. J’ai habité Aix en Provence quand j’etais pleu jeune. Ha!

    L’année passé nous avons eu un étudiant qui est de Fréjus…près de Nice. Nous étions une famille d’hôte. ??? (Host family)

    Nôtre étudiante pour cette année 2014-2015 était si (home sick) qu’elle est quittée après quelques semaines dans nôtre ville. Nous avons l’ Université privée, où j’enseigne le français pour les débutants. J’étais si desolée qu’elle est retournée chez elle….au sud et l’ouest de la France. Elle joue au tennis et était sur un équip de tennis chez nous.

    J’espère qu’il n’y a pas trop de fautes dans mon mail. 🙂 Il faut pratiquer autant que je peux!

    J’aime vôtre France!…et j’aime les français!

    Mon grandpère était là pendant WW1, et mon oncle était là pendant WW2. Tous les deux comme soldats pour aider la France et les français. Mon grandpère, on pensait mort à cause du gaz des Allemands…Mais on voit qu’il se bouge la main…et puis quelqun lui aide. Merci dieux! Mon grand père était à Paris au fin de la guerre et on joue la chanson…”My Old Kentucky Home” parceque’il y avait beaucoup de gens de Kentucky là. On joue cette chanson pour le Derby…le premier samedi de Mai.

    Bon soir! Sheila@mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com

    Sheila E http://www.mykentuckyliving.blogspot.com

    apologies for typos from auto complete …Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a lovely lovely comment Sheila! Thank you so much for dropping by. Maybe we’ll meet in France someday… Vive la France 😉

  16. Angeline M says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful all of this. And the little Viking? A darling child!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Angeline. He is very cute if I may say so myself 😉

  17. angelinahue says:

    Better late than never! I’ve been to Bretagne but have yet to visit Mont St. Michel. Love the photos here too – especially those with the “little viking”.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      The little Viking is a doll 😉 Thanks for the lovely compliment Angelina.

  18. George K says:

    Spectacular photos, Stephane. They brought back many fond memories of my visit to Brittany and Normandy years ago. I was travelling on a sailing yacht around the coasts of both regions until all of the harbors in France were blockaded by striking fishermen. That gave me the opportunity to travel on land and really see the beauty of these regions. Your photos captured it perfectly. The photos of your nephew and his son are the most touching, however. Great job!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad it brought back fond memories George! Thanks for your kind comment!

  19. As always, your photos make me fall in love with France just that little bit more Stephane! So very well captured!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Margot! I hope you can come visit sometime😊

  20. Brittany is on my wish list it looks beautiful. Wonderful photos Stephane, you have captured some incredibly beautiful father/son moments that I am sure they will treasure!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      He did indeed love the photos. You really need to visit Brittany! 😉

  21. Stunning photos! Hope you enjoyed your trip!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Really did Hannah. Thank you 😉

  22. Amanda says:

    What beautiful photos and such interesting regional history. I really love how you capture people’s spirits. What a cute little boy!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Amanda! My nephews are my life. So your comment means a lot (as always) 😉

  23. Dina says:

    Wait for me, I’m packing!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      See you soon! I’ll pick you up at the airport 😉

  24. Sarah Jane says:

    Gorgeous! Little Brittany is adorable!

    1. Sarah Jane says:

      Oh, sorry, I thought your wrote that your nephews son’s name was Brittany. My bad. He’s still adorable!

      1. My French Heaven says:

        No worries. Brittany’s a nice name too 😄

    2. My French Heaven says:

      😉

  25. I love that part of France and I’m so glad you liked Mont St Michel … I climbed that one time of many when I was 6 months pregnant! and ate omelette for lunch when I came down. It is touristy but as you say, so magical too. I’ve walked all round when the tide is out. I went to Concarneau – and Quiberon – in pre-marriage, children time, staying in youth hostels with a friend. Thank you for waking up long ago and lovely memories!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome! I didn’t have the heart to walk all the way up as you did. Good on you 🙂

  26. talkavino says:

    Beautiful pictures as always, Stephane!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks friend!

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