A few more things we saw on our trip:
They are known for their oyster production here and you can even buy a few and they will open then for you, put them on a plate and you can sit on a wall and eat them. Not my sort of thing but there were many doing so.
There were basically three parallel streets at the harbor level. The one fronting the harbor had nothing but restaurants. We ate at one. Maurice had a starter of oysters from the region and said they were incredible. We then took a little tourist train because it was a long walk back up to the top and it was very hot.
There wasn’t much to see up at top but I did like the church that we went into as we had some time to kill before our bus back to Saint Malo arrived. As is often the case, there was a nautical theme inside.
On the way back home we stopped at a village called Dol de Bretagne. It had some interesting half timbered buildings and this menhir placed in a field by man centuries ago. These type of things are all over Brittany (as in Carnac) and you wonder what beliefs led to the incredible amount of labor to put them where they are.
The reason we went to Saint Malo was because of a nice man who worked at the desk of the Hotel Oceania in Nantes who told us how great their hotel was in Saint Malo with a fabulous view on the water. Years ago we visited Mont St Michele, right across the border in Normandy but didn’t take the time to visit Saint Malo. It’s been on my list ever since so when we heard that we decided to make a trip to visit.
The view at high tide. The island which can only be accessed at low tide has the tomb of Chateaubriand, a very interesting man born in Saint Malo. Do a Google search on him. He had a fascinating life involved in many political happenings in France including the French Revolution where he got himself in trouble by criticizing what was going on and went to the States for his safety. While there visiting Niagara Falls, he fell and broke his arm and was nursed to health for a month by a Native American tribe which he wrote about. That is just one event in his life. The popular beef dish is said to be named after him. I like it-very tasty.
You can see how wide the ramparts that circle the city are. 80% of them were destroyed in WWII by American bombers as they tried to get the last of the Germans to surrender. In fact, two inhabitants of Saint Malo got out (all inhabitants were locked into the old city) and told the Americans there were only 70 Germans left inside but weren’t believed.
Brittany is known for its oysters. They are farmed near where we live, Poitou Charentes, especially Ile Oleron which produces the most in France, but Brittany has an ancient history involving them. Something lead me to a book called The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Elinor Clark. It was written in the 60’s and is not up to date with what is going on now but it gives a look at a tiny village, Locmariaquer, which was the heart of oyster production then and especially the history of oysters and how man was able to start farming them. Reading this book I was amazed that oysters were able to propagate at all. It’s a miracle really as is all birth. Another amazing fact is that the huge production of oysters was started in France by Napoleon III and a scientist in an effort to have inexpensive food for the poor. Anyway, I wanted to see this village and so Maurice and I went out of our way and as we drove there. I had memories of going to the Ile of Skye in Scotland after reading a book set there and being disappointed when we finally arrived as it is a very stark island and known for hiking which we weren’t equipped to do (this was with my ex) and I ordered a dish called Steak Mince which sort of horrified me when it was placed before me as it looked like dog food on top of mashed potatoes. I was afraid Locmariaquer would disappoint too but it turn out to be charming although the day was gray and misty. Mostly I took photos at the beach.
We found a cute place to eat right next to our hotel. I’m making a whole post of it just because I liked it so much.
The photo doesn’t do this justice. It is a crepe made with special flour found in Brittany. There were cheese, mushrooms, bacon and onions inside. The crepe was crunchy on the outside. It’s obligatory to have at least one crepe while in Brittany.
As I said in my last post, Maurice and I went north to Brittany for a short trip and started by stopping in a village called Rochefort en Terre which won a contest done on TV channel 2 as the “village préféré” in France as voted by actual French people. Each section of France put forth their favorite and then the vote was held. Rochefort en Terre was beautiful as you might expect. I took a ton of photos. Here are just a few of them.