My vacation in France may be over for more than a week now, but it’s still quite present in my head. Although we only spend 10 days in this beautiful country, I feel like I have been gone for at least 3 weeks! And do you want to know why? Because we wanted to make a sort-of road trip through the west of France, we booked three different places as our respective home base and travelled from there. It was so cool! Every day was so full of impressions, smells, flavours and sounds that quite overwhelmed me. So if you want to see a bit more of a country than just one place, I totally recommend this way of travelling. You may spend some more time in your car, but you’ll be rewarded by seeing beautiful landscapes and towns, I promise!
To be honest, I saw and experienced so much that I could write three blogposts about this vacation. You know what? That’s exactly what I did!
Part I: The North of Brittany, Cancale
This way of travelling takes a bit of planning of course. Where do you want to stay? What do you want to see/do on each day? Where do you want to eat (important info for me!)? That’s why I did a bit of research beforehand and made a list and even created a map. You know, like the map I made for Paris!
Our first home base should be in the north of Brittany, so we could explore the northern part in the first three days. Quite quickly I found a nice and cosy place to stay in Cancale, near St. Malo.
Where to stay
Cancale near St. Malo is a perfect place to see the wonders of Brittany’s North. Furthermore it’s just a beautiful little town with a breath-taking view of the cliffs and the sea. It has a lively harbour esplanade with all sorts of bars and restaurants, where you can eat, most important for me: seafood! Seafood is ubiquitous in this part of France, and Cancale is no exception. So if you don’t get butterflies in your stomach when thinking of mussels, oysters and shrimps, you’re in the wrong place. It was pure heaven for me.
So we stayed at the L’atelier, which is a cosy little attic place for your own. First of all it’s located right at the harbour, in a small and quiet street. Plus it’s modern and airy, with a kitchen in the corner and an open bedroom. I really liked the style of this place, and we just had to step outside and go a few metres to reach the first bars and restaurants.
Where to eat
Well, where not to eat? As I have written above, if you don’t eat fish and seafood, you’re gonna have a hard time in Brittany! Just kidding, of course all restaurants offer meat (and vegetarian solutions for that matter). But that’s so boring! When you’re in a place like this, you gotta try the local food, right? This part of France is also known for their Galettes, which is a savoury version of a Crêpe. So, eat that too! Good places to eat:
Oh, and Le Galion is the place to have a drink afterwards, trust me!
What to do
To be honest, after having reminisced about my trip for some days now, I have come to the conclusion that the north of Brittany was my favourite part. There is just something about the nature, the climate and the cities that is special. Because it’s so raw and minimalistic there. Although I cannot really find the words to describe it. Maybe you just have to see it. Actually, there are a bunch of things you can do:
- Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial: If you’re coming from the east by car, make sure to stop at this place. We did on our way to Brittany, and it was as stunning as it was depressing. I think you have to see it, and I think everyone should see it.
- St. Malo: My absolutely favourite city there, or at least the most memorable. It’s so special because the old town is enclosed by a tall city wall, and it’s located directly at the seashore. Discover sea fortresses there and walk along the beach.
- Dinan: Visiting Dinan is like taking a trip back to the Middle Ages. There are half-timber houses and old stone monasteries everywhere, in a mixture with little shops and boutiques. A beautiful and lively city!
- Mont St. Michel: This hill/city is the attraction in the north of Brittany. Which is quite justified, because even driving by in your car is an experience. Just imagine a plain landscape, and suddenly there’s a steep hill on the horizon. And it’s not just a hill, no, it’s a city! Again, you just have to see it. And don’t get fooled by the distance: We parked our car and thought we could easily walk to Mont St. Michel. Well, it took us about 40 minutes… However fortunately there are also shuttles!
- Hiking at the Pink Granite Coast: This one’s for the nature lovers out there, and the ones who want to get a bit active on their vacation. Just take a trip to the tiny coast village Ploumanac’h, and explore the wonders of the Pink Granite Coast. It’s definitely worth it, and totally doable even for the ones who normally aren’t that active!
Wait for my next instalment and I hope to excite you even more about Brittany!