On the road

The door handles at Château Guilguiffin are very odd. There are not two the same and they don’t work very well. It’s all particularly peculiar and nicely quirky.

Our final breakfast was populated with Australians, Kiwis and Canadians which was a bit odd after so many breakfasts struggling with French.

A political discussion from Monsieur ensued regarding the French not wanting to make any money rather they just want to “…live life“. This explains a lot. According to him, between 12 and 2 most men are with their girlfriends. He didn’t say where their wives were.

We paid and left just after 10. Our first stop, after about 20 minutes, was Locronan. It’s a village kept in the middle ages except that every building (apart from church) is either a souvenir shop or somewhere to eat. You park outside and walk through. It is another Brittany Small Town of Character like Becherel.


Roman Polanski thought it looked enough like Thomas Hardy’s Wessex that he filmed Tess here. It’s used a lot for filming. Tourists are bussed in and out and the place is, frankly, too busy. The church is interesting and the guy with the horse and cart looks uncannily like Phil from Time Team but it’s all a bit Australiana Village for me. We had a coffee then drove on.

Our next stop was the Calvary at Playben, which was closed…the town, not the church, although the church shop WAS closed. And this is despite the fact that Playben is the geographic centre of the Finistere region of Brittany and the crossroads of the tourist circuit. At least that’s what the sign said. I think we were pretty much calvary-ed out by this stage and didn’t stay long.

We drove on, up through the mountains, through Bras Parts to Montagne St Michel – the second highest point in Brittany. Mirinda stayed by the car while I ran up and had a look at the summit. At the top was a small, cute church, views of a large reservoir and a big French family having a picnic in the cold wind with clothes, food and drink blowing everywhere. I ran back down and we once more drove off.

French family picnic atop mount St Michel

It was a LOOOOOONG stretch of driving along the motorway before we hit Lamballe. All we wanted was some fast food but, although signs said one thing, the actuality was different. There was nothing so we had to resort to going to a supermarket and buying a baguette, some crisps and a gooey cake thing. We didn’t have time for a proper lunch as we had a deadline to drop the car off.

We arrived at St Malo station in plenty of time, as it turned out. We unpacked, handed the keys over, then caught a cab and ended up, happily in our favourite St Malo Hotel, by about 5pm.

After a short rest we went for a walk and a coffee. St Malo was very crowded.

For dinner, Mirinda fancied Moroccan so we first tried the Couscous but the tagine has to be ordered a day ahead otherwise it looks like just couscous or pizza. We left – not just because of the lack of Moroccan food but because everyone stared at us like we were aliens. We ended up in the restaurant next to the Unicorn. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with a frightening rum saturated dessert, punctuated by a very weird exploding rubber thing just across the cobble stones. This apparently happens a lot because no-one seemed to notice it.

We had a lovely stroll back to the hotel.

Our final Breton night was disturbed by an extremely echoey St Malo. Some drunk English guy was moaning about how much he loved someone or other. We kept praying he’d stop but he’d go off then come back. If the object of his affections was within earshot, I’m sure his entreaties would not have been received gratefully.

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