Posts filed under ‘Brittany’

Pink Bliss.

Day 17, Part 2 was probably my most-anticipated part of the entire Europe trip. Why? Because we were going to Perros-Guirec! Random, eh? I hadn’t heard of Perros-Guirec before I started planning for the trip in May. Then, I knew that I wanted to go “somewhere in Brittany,” but I wasn’t sure what Brittany boasted, besides women in bonnets who were photographed for French textbooks. Once I started researching, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, until I switched languages and started researching in French. Perros-Guirec, despite its proximity to the ferries from England, was mainly publicized in French, and I was absolutely smitten with the photos of its pink granite coast. I learned that the pink granite formations are found only two other places in the world, Corsica and China, so I started looking for a place to stay in the area. Once I found a waterfront hotel in Perros-Guirec for only 60 Euros, it was settled. Perros-Guirec was officially on the itinerary. And I officially began praying for sunshine on the one half-day that we had to spend there.

We were careful not to spend too much time at Mont St-Michel, because we wanted to arrive in Perros-Guirec with plenty of light left to walk the coast. Since we were making great time and since we really wanted to see some women in white bonnets, we stopped at a Breton dance festival in Guingamp. The admission was something like 15EUR/person and since we didn’t want to spend too much time, we declined to go in, but I did snap a photo of girls in white bonnets through the fence! Mission accomplished.
Breton girls

The Bretons have their own language, more similar to Welsh than French, since they are a Celtic group of people. Brittany, or Bretagne, is mainly rural and many older Bretons live and farm in ways that are similar to how their ancestors lived on the same lands. Unfortunately, as with Welsh, the Breton language is in danger of dying out. The region has launched campaigns to save the language and culture, so festivals are common throughout the summer, and signs are usually in both Breton and French.

Retro sign
Like this sign! Mom and I loved these retro signs along the highways throughout Normandie and Bretagne. We didn’t see one for the Pink Granite Coast, probably because it’s not directly off the main highway, but this one was for a nearby beach.

We checked into the Hotel du Port first, and were so impressed with our classy room and harbour view. The woman at the reception desk (one of the owners, I think) was kind and informative, and chatted with us in French, slowly enough that I could understand, and without any apparent difficulties understanding me, which is always nice. She marked out a path to follow on a map of the region and sent us off to the coastal paths.

Pink Granite Coast 1
Prayer for a beautiful day granted! And the rocks did not disappoint. I was blown away by the beauty of the coast, and the colour of the pinks against the bright blue water.

Pink Granite Coast 2
Amazing! We loved seeing the Queen Anne’s Lace growing in occasional patches, because it reminded me of the walks that I used to take in the country with Jeannie, one of my mom’s longtime friends.

I think that this might be the house where Henryk Sinkiewicz wrote Quo Vadis; it was somewhere along the path, but we didn’t find anywhere to pick up a guide. I haven’t read Sinkiewicz, but he won a Nobel Prize, so he’s probably a fairly decent writer, and I have decided that if I also want to be a fairly decent writer, I should probably write my next book from inside this house as well. Anyone want to sponsor this plan? Haha.

I am usually a fan of the traditional lighthouse look, but a red-and-white striped lighthouse would have looked so silly here, so I’m glad they stuck with the pink granite!

Puffin Sign
It’s funny, we went out on a boat last year in Newfoundland to see puffins, since we didn’t think that we’d have that opportunity again. One year later, here we are in another town known for puffins! (After a bit of research, I think we still made the right choice…it seems like Newfoundland has a higher concentration of puffins than Bretagne!)

Beach 1
After about an hour of walking, we arrived in the centre of Ploumanac’h, where they have one of the prettiest little public beaches that I have ever seen!

Pink Granite Church just above the beach in Ploumanac’h

One more shot of of the beach, shot from up by the church

Of course, once we had hiked all along the coast, we still had to get back to our car, so we decided to cut our hike short here and start walking back, on interior streets this time, instead of the coastal path. We ended up walking past a gigantic Breton souvenir shop, where we browsed for quite a while. I bought some sea salt caramels (famous in the region, apparently) for Jules and a Bretagne mug for myself. I could have bought so much more, if only I didn’t have to worry about my suitcase’s weight on the way home!

Once we got back to the hotel, it was just about dinnertime, so we headed up the street to La Marée, on the recommendation of the friendly hotel lady. I feel like I should write her a thank you note, because La Marée provided one of the best meals I have ever had!

Seafood feast!
I ordered a combination plate of oysters and shrimp for my main course, and when they brought this plate, I was stunned and a bit intimidated. I had never had oysters that looked quite like that, and the shrimp had eyes and tentacles and such. I wasn’t grossed out by it, but I didn’t know how to eat them. Fortunately, when I started struggling with the oysters, a friendly older man at the next table offered some advice. I was embarrassed, but grateful, and it didn’t seem like he was laughing at us. When it came to the shrimp, he got up and showed me how to pull the heads off (if you pull the wrong way, you get a spray of gross shrimp juice), and then we ended up chatting with him and his wife for the rest of our meal. He told us all about how he loved the United States, and asked if we were from New York, Hollywood, or where the cowboys are. We said Chicago, and he looked at us blankly and said something else about cowboys. I’m not sure he’d ever heard of Chicago, and I think he was legitimately disappointed that we weren’t cowboys or from New York. His daughter had recently moved to Montréal, and he was looking forward to visiting her next year, when he also planned to see New York and the cowboys. Nice man!

After dinner, we walked a little bit along the docks, and when we went back to the room, I took a panoramic of the harbour. Lots of boats, and I love how late the light stuck around.

Bretagne, France, and the European Union


December 16, 2011 at 10:41 am 1 comment


A serial road tripper chronicles her adventures.


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