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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cruising the Brittany Coast: Days 4~6 in France

I have a confession. I was eager to leave Paris. Even with all of its glamour and excitement I was longing for the quiet beauty of France. Perhaps I have just reached a “certain age”. But can you blame me when you see an image like this:

Andrea and I left Paris early in the morning and stopped in Chartres along the way to visit the cathedral. Soon after we were driving along the Brittany coast admiring quaint villages and cottages that somehow all feature a perfect shade of Brittany blue.

It is fairly evident that many of the villages have been around for quite awhile. Charming half timbered houses are a regular site to see.

I also adored the signs placed outside of businesses. This one represented a floral shop.

The local boulangerie or bakery.
One thing is certain, the Bretons seem to possess magical green thumbs.

I loved the view of the public gardens in Vannes that you could look down on while strolling the 13th century ramparts (surrounding embankment of a fort).
In my best Wicked Witch of the West voice I couldn’t help but utter “Poppies! Poppies!”
Just gorgeous! Thank you dear friends, Guy and Jacqueline, for a wonderful tour!
Our dear friend Guy also drove us to see the dolmens (portal tomb), tumulus (mound of earth and stones raised over a grave) and the standing stones (menhirs) of Carnac. Did you know that there were standing stones in France? Well I didn’t. They were absolutely amazing. I love a good mystère.

The Carnac stones are actually the largest collection of stones (over 300o in all) in the world. Here are our delightful hosts, Guy and Jacqueline, standing in front of some of the smaller stones.
They took us around town to visit quaint antique shops and darling places to dine.
We strolled through the local market to select wonderfully fresh ingredients for lunch and dinner.
Vivante means “living”. Sure enough these langoustine (also known as the Norway lobster and the Dublin prawn) were still alive. Later on, when Jacqueline began preparing them for dinner, one gave her a good pinch. Ouch!
She deserved a huge bouquet of fragrant peonies for her superb (and sometimes dangerous) culinary efforts.
Most of you are aware that those who live in Paris are known as Parisians. But those who reside in and around the Brittany coast are Bretons. Here a gentleman in a covered market wears a traditional Breton hat.
Traditional dress in now mainly worn only on special holidays and occasions.
Often in fantastical color combinations.
There are of course variations in the form of traditional Breton clothing.

The lace headdress worn by women is called a coiffe.

Taller coiffes are often held securely in place by a crown.

Some of the older generation still cling to the traditional ways.

Oh I just want to hug this darling Grandmere!

Another darling Grandmere is mon chère Jacqueline. We were getting ready to enjoy a delicious meal of Dover sole. I could have eaten that entire plate myself. Jacqueline is a superb chef!
Our wonderful hosts also made sure that we saw several of the lovely bays of Brittany.
The Brittany beaches are just beautiful The sand is so white and fine. Jacqueline and I couldn’t resist putting our feet upon it.
Yes, a small piece of my heart now belongs in Brittany. I cannot wait to show you the Breton copper treasures I selected on Friday.


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Wowwwwwwwwwwww! Such beauty! :):):):):):):):):)

Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

I am living a dream through you! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and taking me somewhere I will probably never get to go! said...

Wow! What a gorgeous place. Thank you for sharing it with us:)
~Debra xxx
Capers of the vintage vixens

Little Leslie said...

Such gorgeous pictures. I'm in love with Jaqueline"s house. The wall color is like fresh salmon. I love the paintings on her wall. Thanks so much for the continued tour.

Little Leslie said...

P.S. How did those grandmeres keep their hats on? I saw no crowns or pins. I guess good posture.

Little Leslie said...

Laura, I was reading your post about Oprah, and her book list. There is another great book, you'd might like to read. "Eve's Tatoo" by Emily Prager. All of her books are excellent, but this one is my favorite. Hope you can find and read it.

Liz said...

What gorgeous pictures! Awesome post.
I learned so much! :)


laxsupermom said...

What beautiful photos! Love those blue shutters! Just gorgeous! And the gardens - absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing.

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said... are killing me! I wonder if I will ever see it in real!?!

Vicki said...

What a beautiful place! The scenery and the traditional garb look like something out of a storybook.

Fay said...

Hi Laura the blue bells are out in spring in so many English counties you will love them and the scent
thankyou for the fabulous tour of delicious houses and costumes arent they wonderul so nice that you had friend for a tour what great memories for you love fay xx

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

I visited Vannes last semester while I was studying abroad in Nantes, France. Beautiful photos! When we visited it was pouring, so nice to see it in the sun! :) said...


Now this is more my preference! I adore old towns with character. Your photographs are beautiful and your tales of travel so vivid.
I am patiently awaiting for the postman to deliver the tall coiffe you sent me. :)

Your Friend,

Terri said...

OMGoodness! You are having such a fabulous time! I have been enjoying catching up on your beautiful blog. I see your trip is going well. You bring back memories to me of my trip there last spring. I don't think I could ever tire of going to Paris!
Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us all!

Teresa said...

I like to see Europe through American eyes' wonder. I had two kids - a friend's son (from Iowa) and his friend (from Kentucky) - staying with us last December and they had the same reaction as you describe towards European Culture and Patrimony.
It warms my hear.
The first time I was in Paris I didn't like it that much - and it had to do with all the hype people create about it and when I got there I enjoyed but was expecting more. The second time was different but like you I love the experience of knowing the non-Paris France.
Your pictures and friends' friendliness are priceless. So happy you enjoyed so much and took all this pictures to share with us allowing to travel - in style - with you, through your most exquisite eyes.

Hollace said...

I love it that Jacqueline is wearing her scarf just the way I saw everyone in Paris wearing scarves, in an 0h-so-elegant-but-offhand way. She looks charming. I would love to be there!!

Lorrie said...

I love Paris, I love the countryside. I think one mistake people make (and I've made) is to visit Paris first - when just off the plane and jetlagged. I think the richness of the city is better appreciated when one is accustomed to the time change.

How fanciful are those lace hats. Amazing! And how delightful to spend time with such wonderful hosts.

Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

*sigh* What a dreamy, wistful adventure! Wish I were there too. Thank you for sharing your experiences and those beautiful pictures. ; )

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh, these are gorgeous pictures, they look like postcards! I don't think I have missed any posts, so I am trying to put together how you know Guy and Jacqueline. I also know it was a buying trip? IF you get a chance could you do a post with some of the back ground? Thank you! I love reading your blog


Debbie said...

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful posts I've read in blogland. I don't think I've ever seen a home any more enchanting than that first house with the blue shutters, and it just kept getting better and better.

Really Rainey said...

Beautiful post!

AshTreeCottage said...

What a delightful trip!

Susan and Bentley

TRay said...

One of my very, very favorite posts yet!


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