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Early season in Brittany … early season in Normandy!
We left Brittany for a short trip into Normandy. It isn’t as if Brittany is suddenly short of any fantastic sites, gorgeous beaches and cities w/ impressive cathedrals … My better half & I decided to visit Mont Saint-Michel which is just behind Brittany’s border to Normandy.
So during our 1st week we made some preparations like the routeing, which ended up in deciding to spend a night in a hotel at the north coast. We booked … and during our last week in Brittany we started early in the morning from Saint-Armel.
Our 1st stop was Saint-Malo. We found a parking space for our car and started exploring Old Town.
There are Les Remparts de Sant-Malo, where you may stroll along the coast and admire the blue-green sea and the islands in the sun. Inside Old Town there is a maze of alleyways lined by commanding buildings as well as an impressive cathedral squeezed in.
However, you’ll also find a shopping paradise in Old Town meaning that there are lots of shops (well-known brands …) like in any town centre. Not to forget: restaurants, bistros, crêperies, bars, cafés … all inviting you to stop & take a rest watching life around you.
Although it was early season Saint-Malo seemed a bit crowded here and there. Especially the shopping area teems w/ tourists as well as residents (I think!).
After some hours in the sun and fortified by some last espresso we continued our trip.
It was less than an hour to La Caserne, the gate to Mont Saint-Michel, which is in Normandy. The area wasn’t crowded – only 2 restaurants/bistros seemed to be open for dinner. The rest as well as some hotels were closed, but seemed to be busy preparing for the season.
In the afternoon we got a glimpse of Mont Saint-Michel …
Next morning there was a deep blue sky & fine sunshine so we decided to walk to the abbey. Due to a bridge-like way the island is accessible independent from low/high tides. (There is also a shuttle service … – forget about it: the walk to Mont Saint-Michel is just great!)
The construction of abbey and church started in the 8th century. (In 708 AD the bishop of the region had a dream about archangel Michael asking for a church on this small island.) During the 11th century the final architectural concept was realized resulting in a church, an abbey and a tremendous fortification.
Was it crowded?
Well: there were definitely more tourists than anywhere else … have a close look at the photos!
After having entered the island you are led by the flow along the main street, a narrow street, lined w/ restaurants bistros, crêperies, bars, cafés …, up to the entry of the abbey where you may buy your tickets. It’s a rather steep way w/ lots of steps. Once inside the abbey there are more steps … however, finally you’ll arrive at the top and get spoilt by great views.
Also inside the masterpiece there are magnificent details to admire. Maybe you also get a glimpse of a residential nun or monk …
Finally the way is downwards, back to the restaurant area, back to the way over the sea … I only can say: don’t miss Mont Saint-Michel when you are around.
We returned to Saint-Armel in the afternoon to be welcomed by some heat wave … (We didn’t experience it w/ this intensity when at the north coast.) So we just chilled for a day or so … until a heavy rain cleared the air.
Our last day trip was into the Finistère, to Concarneau.
As you may have heard already: Finistère is derived from finis terrae. When the Romans invaded France they named this part of Brittany the end of the world. We, at least, made it to Concarneau, a lovely village (small town) at the coast w/ a famous ville close, a fortified island in the bay, of course attracting tourists all year long.
When arriving late in the morning we enjoyed the beautiful and interesting farmer’s market before entering the ville close and strolling along the ramparts and all over the alleyways (another maze of alleyways!).
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of L’Amiral, this famous restaurant featured in a series of crime novels about the adventures of Le Commisaire Dupin.
At the end our holiday trip to Brittany came to an end. We enjoyed the whole trip. It was relaxing, it was interesting because of the numerous sites we visited … The weather was fine and let us explore the sea, the islands …
My better half asked me on our way back about when to plan another trip to Brittany to visit all the places we coudn’t cover this this time …