What to See in Beautiful Brittany (Bretagne), France
Let’s start with Saint-Malo, a port town famous for Intra-Muros., which translates to “within walls”. Intra-Muros is a medieval city next to the English Channel surrounded by tall walls. It’s quite picturesque and worth a visit when in Brittany. It is also the most centric area, so it’s best to book lodging here, especially if you don’t have a car since St. Malo lacks public transportation, besides a few buses that run during the day.
This area is also famous for the small “disappearing” islands that you can only visit when the tide is low. The tide changes so dramatically that if you are in one of the islands during high tide, you’ll be stuck there for about 6 hours until the tide comes back down. One of the memorable spots near Intra-Muros was Le Velvet, a cozy and vintage-looking bar that serves delicious mulled wine in the winter.
Another historical landmark to visit when in St. Malo is Solidor Tower, it is beautifully light at night. I loved walking around it and listening to the beach waves.
Dinard is another Bretonne beach town. It is right next to St. Malo. I recommend visiting during the day and checking out the Market. Here, you’ll find many places to try delicious Bretonne goods such as cider, cheese, and pastries. After this, I strolled along the “boardwalk” that surrounds some rocky hills. There some outstanding views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as from my “future home” aka really beautiful and large houses by the beach I will never be able to afford, but I’m a dreamer.
After the walk, I found myself at a local pub that had the best thing to eat in both St, Malo, and Dinard, the Coquille St. Jacques, aka Scallops. They are served in a crêpe, with pasta or in their shells. I lost count of how many I had during my visit to Bretagne. That’s where most of my money went. I also spent it in Kouign-amanns (buttery cake) aka Bretonne Cake pronounced “Queen Aman”. Another thing to try while in Bretagne. The server at this local pub called Le Skipper was so nice and patient with my “baby French”. She was mainly intrigued since it seemed I’m the first Mexican they had ever seen in that town. At least, that they know of.
The most curious thing about the Northern French,
is the way they drink coffee.
Coffee bowls are a thing! Their excuse is that they have to get the energy from somewhere else due to the lack of sun. Sounds legit.
I noticed the trend when I saw the bowls with names on every souvenir shop. I thought there were for dogs. Later, a local explain the logic behind them. Quite a contrast from the rest of Espresso drinking Europe. My thought was “and they saw Americans supersize everything”, but then again… to each its own.
A curious rumor about Dinard is that the house from Hitchcock’s Psycho was inspired by a house along the coast of Dinard. This explains the random Hitchcock statue with birds, that ironically was covered in bird poop.
There are many beautiful cities and towns to visit while in Britanny besides the mentioned above, such as Rennes and Nantes. Pays de la Loire is also very near and worth a visit. Remember to bring an umbrella, even when visiting in the summer, since the weather changes drastically. No matter where you stay, enjoy the delicious French wine, cheese, and bread. Give seafood and Kouign-amann a try when in Bretagne, walk it all off with a stroll around the coast (during low tide please) and always BE PRESENT! Follow me on Instagram @joyzcortez to check out more photos of this and other trips.