The morning was spent lazing around St Malo, walking the walls, having coffee. We checked out of the highly recommended Hotel Chateaubriand at 11 and caught a bus to the station where we were to pick up the hire car. This all went remarkably smoothly, possibly because Mirinda sat and read her book, only rising to sign where she had to sign, and I took care of all the formalities. Anyway, we didn’t take long and were soon on the road in our little light grey Corsa.
Getting out of St Malo is always a bit of a pain – lots of traffic, many roads to choose from – but we were soon beyond the snarling traffic and pootling down the motorways of Brittany, on our way to St Philibert.
Lunch was had following a rather bad navigation error which had us travelling in the opposite direction to that which we wanted to go. Fortunately I spotted the error and Mirinda suggested we rely on her ‘little friend’ for the rest of the trip, which possibly saved us from divorce. I should explain that Mirinda’s ‘little friend’ is her iPhone and it has a version of SatNav on it. It knows where we are (sort of) and can show us how to get to places (also sort of). While it led us into a huge mess in Ploёrmel, most of the journey was fine and we pulled into the small town of St-Meen-le-Grande, which has a very old abbey that is not mentioned in either of the guide books we have.
We went for a wander down to the abbey first – stretching our legs after the hours spent in the car. It’s an 11th – 12th century abbey and, while pretty unremarkable on the whole (it actually just looks like a church) there is a wonderful series of frescos in a small chapel off the main aisle. Had it not been for Mirinda’s insistence, I would have missed them. They were fantastic. Clearly I shall have to find out some stuff about this abbey as there were no guides in the place (in English or in French).
We had lunch in a small bar. The woman wasn’t too pleased (I think their lunch time ended at 2pm and I trundled up to the bar at 2:15) but I managed to sweet talk her husband in my poor excuse for French, into getting us some food. We sat out on the footpath and enjoyed our drinks, Mirinda her salad and me my Croque Madame, which is a Croque Monsieur with an egg on top.
The temperature, according to a roadside thermometer, has risen above 30° and I’m rather glad the car has air conditioning although it should be against my principals to use it. We drove through the stunning French countryside until we reached the small fishing village of St Philibert. The directions given to us by the owner were excellent and we managed to find the place without a problem.
The room is big, light and airy, compliments of the pair of big windows that look out over the river. It didn’t take long for us both to drift off into sun drenched slumber for an hour or so. We were then into the shower (which is fine but couldn’t possibly compare with the Chateaubriand shower…no shower ever will compare) and off to La Trinite-sur-mer, a lovely little port.
The first thing that strikes you about the place is the amount of boats. According to the Michelin guide, there are 1200 moorings and I think most of them were filled. It is like a forest of masts, a yachty woodland. Incredible. So many boats. Of course this set Mirinda off on her ‘let’s buy a boat and sail round the world’ thing.
We rather fancied The Quai, a cute little restaurant opposite the marina but it was clearly very popular and, therefore very full. We wandered along the avenue until we found a place that seemed ok. It was, basically, a bar that served food. However, the food was lovely and the service was splendid…what more could you want? Mirinda had her moules (this time with Roquefort sauce) and I had an interesting tuna thing in a curried béchamel sauce with broccoli! Yay! I love the broccoli.
After dinner we strolled around the marina and the market that was just packing up and ended up at the ice cream seller. A lovely double cone with pistachio and caramel, just about finished my day off. An odd thing about the main street through Trinite-sur-Mer is the raised medium strip that divides the traffic. It has bollards at either end, split only for pedestrian crossings. Just in front of the Tabac, there is a fairly long section that is just right for a car. In England, people park half on the footpath when they have to just run in and buy fags or whatever, in Trinite-sur-Mer they drive their car up onto the medium strip, scraping the bottoms of their cars in the process and sit astride it. We saw this happen a number of times so it wasn’t a one-off. The mechanics and panel beaters must love them for it.
I realise that I haven’t mentioned the weather! It has been glorious blue skies and sunshine so far. True holiday weather. Tomorrow we’re going to brave Carnac and take in a few ancient alignments.