My greatest thrill was seeing the fields of rapeseed. (I had thought it was mustard, but that doesn't come out till later.)
This one was particularly lovely. Remember, we had pretty terrible weather -- now the sun was coming out, low and lovely.
The windmill (moulin) was perfect, set against the cobalt sky with shafts of light on the bright golden field in front of it.
The flowers were just lovely, graceful and so very bright.
We arrived at Saint-Malo, tired and hungry! Our first task was to find a cafe and get some dinner -- this one didn't disappoint. Nor did the wine.
We all ordered the menu -- for 18 euros or about $23.00 -- which included a glorious salad...
... a huge chicken fricassee, salad to die for... (really, the salad alone would be a meal)...
... and a fabulous dessert.
Then it was off to look for a place to stay the night, landing at a spot that was small but had beds!
(Let me say that Rick and I aren't the greatest of plan-ahead folk on a trip like this. We kind of like to go where the time and place takes us. For the most part, that leads to wonderful encounters -- a charming Londoner directed us to the spot where we would stay. That said, when it's late and you're tired, there is something to be said for having a plan, as our traveling partner and host Jerry would quickly agree to!)
The morning started a bit drizzly, but the weather soon broke and delivered a very cold but nice day and we explored this medieval walled city.
First up, breakfast! We found a charming cafe with an adequate omelet (not nearly so good as dinner the night before, but a good start to the day.)
And the eye candy was nice, too.
It was interesting to see a shopkeeper or restauranteur push a load of greens down the damp street.
St. Malo dates back to the middle ages as a fortified island. Its roots go back to a monastic settlement founded in the sixth century honoring St. Malo. Now it holds lots of restaurants, shops and some hotels.
The city is a walled one (or at least, the medieval city is) and in the 1800s was the home of pirates and privateers. It was also the home of explorers like Jacques Cartier and the writer/diplomat Chateaubriand.
Charming bits were around every corner!
As one goes to the ramparts, it is clear there was a great access to the sea and several forts.Rick and Jerry decided to check out one of the forts.
I opted for the beautiful views!
I found the cobbled streets delightful and particularly enjoyed this one -- Rue du Chat aux Danse!
I also liked the easy dispensers of doggie bags!
Perhaps one of the high points of St. Malo is its beautiful church -- (Cathédrale Saint-Vincent-de-Saragosse de Saint Malo.)
I learned that the church had taken quite a hit in World War II -- excellent photo displays showed the damage, which was heartbreaking.
But it is clearly restored to great beauty. Its stained glass rose window was my favorite of the entire trip.
But they all were lovely.
Before we left town, Rick and I couldn't resist visiting the marina across from the city walls. We're both suckers for beautiful boats.
The marina didn't disappoint, and as we stood on the pier, one got a nice view of the walled city.
We left St. Malo and went to Dinan, a seaside village across the bay.
It had long been a resort for the wealthy from America and Britain.A wonderful postcard display showed us views of the area from the beach or "plage."
Perched high upon rocky cliffs are summer houses -- mansions that definitely hold more than one "room with a view."
This one, it appears, is old enough to have been in the postcard!
Our destination was Cap Frehel (next post), one of the most beautiful spots on the coast of Brittany. As we passed through small towns, we made a stop now and then -- this church was particularly interesting.
Above the aisle, they had a ship and a sailor's knot hanging from the chandeliers. Clearly, being located by the sea, it was a spot where perhaps the women prayed for their fisherman husbands to return.
We also saw a number of lovely sites, many with religious markers.
Next up, we'll stop at Cap Frehel, a beautiful site on the ocean. Then back to Paris!
Lessons of the Road:
I prefer winging it -- but there are times when at least having a guide book to hotels in the area would be handy!
Traveling along the coast may mean traveling in cooler or breezier weather. Tossing an extra sweater in the car isn't a bad idea!
Water repellent and water proof aren't the same. My great raincoat, I found, still had me soaked!
If you want a lot of food, the plat or menu is a great buy. You get a lot and yes, it can mount up, but it may well be worth it! Remember, tax and tip is included in the cost, although if your service has been good, it is appropriate to put down up to several euro in thanks.