My guest scribbler – for those fast lane dwellers who really don’t have the time to check out the previous installment of this riveting saga (and aren’t they the best kind?) is the “franco-centric” Winsor Dobbin:
The delightful pre-Roman town of Vannes, founded more than 2000 years ago, is far enough off the beaten track in Brittany to ensure it has retained all of its charm.
Stroll its shaded laneways with half-timbered houses and shops built in mediaeval times, or enjoy a coffee overlooking the lively marina quarter with its many waterfront bars and eateries. Located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of the rivers Marle and Vincin, Vannes is 100 kilometres north-west of bustling Nantes and 450 kilometres south-west of Paris. Many of the locals speak a Breton dialect.
The Gothic cathedral of Saint Peter and the old city fortified walls are among the major attractions, while the gardens overlooking the port are a popular place to relax.
Try the local galettes, a style of pancake served both savoury and sweet, and the famous Breton ciders. The nearby Gulf of Morbihan is home to several spa hotels but the best in town include the Quality Hotel La Marebaudiere, the Hotel de France and the Villa Kerasy Hotel Spa. L’Eden and Roscanvec are considered among the better restaurants in town.
How to get there by train: Vannes has connections to Paris-Montparnasse via Rennes, Nantes and several regional destinations.
A small fishing port in Normandy, Honfleur has strong claims to be regarded as the most picturesque town in France.
On the southern bank of the estuary of the River Seine, the downtown area is notable for its old but handsome terraced houses with slate-covered frontages, which look onto the pretty fishing port and fleet. These ancient houses have been painted by the likes of Claude Monet, and many artists have been based in the town. Cafe terraces, sailing boats returning to the marina, painters immortalising the scene under the watchful eye of curious onlookers, make for an enjoyable leisurely stroll.
The Sainte-Catherine church is the largest wooden church in France and was built in the 15th century, while Maisons Satie is a quirky museum.
Home to fewer than 10,000 people, Honfleur is nonetheless popular with gourmets, who flock here at weekends to enjoy fresh local seafood (shrimps and scallops especially) along with Normandy ciders and the local apple brandy, known as Calvados after the local region.
You’ll eat well just about anywhere here but favourites include L’Endroit, Les Assiette des Mondes and Au Bouillon Normand, while there’s a huge range of hotels, many traditional in style, with La Maison de Lucie a good high-end choice and Hotel L’Ecrin and Hotel Monet more affordable.
How to get there by train: Travel from Paris Gare-Saint-Lazare to Deauville or Lisieux and then take a 15-minute bus ride.
Read more HERE.
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?