My Travel Map

My Travel Map

10 October 2018

Brittany, France


From Mont-Saint-Michel, my road trip continued into Brittany. First stop was the small town of Cancale. It was a quick stop, just a few hours, but I was there for a reason...

Cancale lies along the coast of Brittany, just around a large bay from Mont-Saint-Michel. The town is quite famous for seafood and especially so for one particular treat from the sea.

Along the waterfront, the main road through town is lined with seafood restaurant after seafood restaurant with the odd hotel thrown in alongside as well. It's very clear that the town is a gastronomic destination.

For my treat, I tucked into this place. The name translates to "At the foot of the horse", which seems like an odd name for a seafood restaurant, but who's judging a restaurant on the name alone, right? The true test is in the food they serve.

And here they are, the reason why Cancale is so famous: oysters. The other part of the sign that wasn't fully visible in the last picture reads "La Maison des Huîtres", which translates to "House of Oysters".

This was a pretty perfect afternoon... I tucked into a couple plates like this of beautifully fresh and meaty oysters along with a fisherman's stew and a glass of dry white wine.  I took my time eating at my table along the sidewalk, enjoying the people watching and views along the coast and bay and taking some time to read the history of the place. The oysters lived up to the hype: they were very creamy and mildly briny and just perfect with a hit of the lemon wedges provided.  The half-shells were served over a bed of fresh, deep green seaweed.  The fisherman's stew was also delicious.  It was cream-based and stuffed full of fresh fruits-de-mer (literally: "fruit of the sea"), such as chunks of flaky white fish, clams, mussels, and squid. And of course, being France, the crusty bread served alongside was just divine dipped in the broth. My slight detour was everything I wanted from it.

After stuffing yourself with fresh oysters and wine, you can take your option of lounging across the street on the beach or taking a walk around town. These folks were enjoying the former, with their platter of oysters and several bottles of white wine.  I love how the French live life.

I opted for a stroll around town.  The architecture is old and charming.  I particularly appreciated the touch of color added to the window frames and shutters.

Up the hill, overlooking the sea, is a war monument, which I think is for those from Cancale that died serving in the two World Wars. The striped flag here is that of Brittany.

Also up on the hill.. the wealthy.  There was a row of beautiful and respectfully-sized manor-homes along the ridge, offering what must have been some lovely views over the coast towards Normandy.


From Cancale, I continued to Dinan.  My plan there was to spend the night and take in the well-preserved medieval town. The old town certainly is one of those places that makes you feel like you're in a different time. It's a genuinely charming place.

Cobbled streets, half-timbered buildings, hanging lanterns... what is this, a fairy tale? Not quite... but Dinan certainly is one of those places upon which the settings for fairy tales is based.

I enjoyed breakfast here, at a little café and crêperie. Brittany and Normandy are famous for their crêpes and galettes (the crêpe's buckwheat-based cousin). The galette was filled with apples, ham, and cheese and was savory, sweet, and perfectly filling. The coffee wasn't too bad either, especially with the view over that lovely town square.

This is the square adjacent to the café.  It was easy to kill a couple hours there watching life go by.

I was pleasantly surprised by how few tourists there were around town.  It was almost like I had the place to myself at times, and most of those that I interacted with and encountered around town were clearly locals.  This is just another shot down a beautiful side street in the old town; note, too, the crêperie... they take those things seriously there.

Such cafés, spilling into the narrow lanes and alleys, abound; this is France. I had three meals while I was in Dinan, and all three were fantastic. The Breton food is savory and filling, which is very much my style.

This was a sign for an art supply shop... charm galore.

Some fine old examples of half-timbered buildings.

Further from the old town, the streets become paved, and the architecture turns to a mix of old and new.

Much of the old town dates from the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.

Many of the street scenes in Dinan are like something straight out of Beauty and the Beast or something.  I love the buildings overhanging the sidewalk below.

The town is also very pleasant to wander by lantern-light at night.

The Saint-Sauveur Basilica looms over the town from this perspective. This shot was taken from along the old city walls, which are very fun to walk along, the views they offer are stunning and really offer a good perspective on the organic nature of medieval city development.

I just loved this little guy... he was a little feature on a random building along a random street.

The stone section... there was very different architecture over by the old walls.  I would guess that this is the older part of town.

The Tower of l'Horloge and its clock, dating from the turn of the century around 1500.

Up on the old city walls around sunset.

I will return to Brittany... two days was just too much of a tease and far too little time to offer justice to such a large and beautiful region.

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