Saint Malo

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.

fullsizerender1-copy-8 Mont St Michelle.

img_14941 The fabulous view of the beach from our hotel room.

fullsizerender1-copy-7 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.

fullsizerender2-copy One of the city gates leading into the walled city of Saint Malo.

img_14271 One of many narrow, cobbled streets inside the walls.

img_14411

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.

img_14481 View from the rampart.

 

Oysters


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.

img_13881 As you can see the tide was out.

img_13921 Seen on a shutter.

fullsizerender2 A path along the beach.

img_13971 A beach fence.

img_13981 We made a stop near Carnac to see these mysterious stones set up in long lines that went on for miles. No one knows what they were for. Religious reasons, moon tracking, when to farm?

img_14021 Another view.

Food

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.

fullsizerender1-copy-6The entrance.

img_13691 Cider is a must. It has a low alcohol content.

img_13701 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.

img_13721 This was inside the creperie. Looked rather like an piece of furniture from a church.

img_13731 A wall behind a velvet bench.

fullsizerender1-copy-5 A wall painting.

fullsizerender1-copy-4 The view from the window.

Favorite

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.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy (3) There were great signs like this everywhere. This one was on the hotel where we stayed.

FullSizeRender[1] Our room was right above the red umbrella with the open window. The hotel was built in the 1500’s and, as you might expect, there was no elevator or a/c. Lots of charm though.

IMG_1305[1] An interesting doorway.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy (2) The church had a black Madonna. I’m always curious as to why so many are dressed.

IMG_1330[1] I liked the flowers and the light in the church.

FullSizeRender[1] - Copy Hydrangeas were still blooming here and there.

IMG_1335[1] A very ancient looking window with mysterious markings.

IMG_1336[1] The tourist information center went all out on the flowers

IMG_1352[1] I wish I had tried one of these. Instead I had a Kouign Amann which is basically dough melded together with butter and sugar which is very good.