Friday, April 19, 2013

All About France, The Serenity of Bretagne & Normandie

I remember when I saw Mont Saint Michel for the first time. I was absolutely mesmerized by its image, and even before I knew where it was, I’d vowed to go there someday.

Little did I know, this small island, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located merely 2½ hours away from Paris. Although it’s relatively easy to do a day trip to Mont Saint Michel, my husband and I decided that we wanted to take 2 weeks to explore the region.
The combined region of Bretagne and Normandie is located in the Northwestern France. It’s one of France’s most fascinating regions where it seems time stood still for thousand years. Landscapes filled with dramatic cliffs surrounded by the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean, it’s steeped in tradition, religion, and rich history stretching back over 6000 years.

Of course, the first place we wanted to see was Mont Saint Michel. We’d stayed in the a little town of Dragey-Ronthon, about an hour north of the island where we found a charming little B&B, le Domaine de Belleville (11 route de Saint Marc). We were there in April, which in my opinion is one of the best months to travel in Europe (along with May and September) before the region is bombarded with summer tourists, and everywhere we went, it felt as if we were the only people there.

What I remember most about Bretagne and Normandie is how serene and quiet it was. The peaceful landscape was filled with grazing sheep, cows and horses, and all I can hear while driving along the coast were the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs. It felt as if we were at a spiritual retreat.
le Mont Saint Michel
Le Mont Saint Michel, however, was quite the contrary. Being a popular pilgrimage site as well as one of France’s most sought after destination (attracting 3 million visitors annually), Mont Saint Michel is crowded with tourists any time of the year, and walking through the narrow winding streets filled with thousands of people requires an enormous amount patience. Nevertheless, it’s a spectacular site that should not be missed, and the drive alone is worth a visit.
Our hostess at the B&B had told us about Dinan, located about an hour from Dragey-Ronthon. She said it was one of the loveliest towns in the region unknown to most tourists, and she recommended that we stop by on the way to our next destination. She was absolutely right, as Dinan turned out to be a wonderfully charming little town.
a fishing village with melancholic charm
a town with ubiquitous nautical theme, everywhere from the abundance of fresh seafood offered to the clothing being sold at shops
Guimiliau & St Thegonnec
a quiet little village enriched by Huguenot heritage
Roc Trevezel
WWII bunkers at Normandy Beach


Post a Comment