Friday, November 22, 2013

A Visit to Brittany

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: Saturday, March 5, 2011 

So much has happened since our last visit to France. Darcy has chosen to remain there to pursue her Master's Degree and to be with Mathieu. That has meant many changes for all of us, but we are happy for her. She is following her heart and living the dream! It hasn't been easy. Work permits, visa problems, and other stumbling blocks have caused her a bit of stress, but things seem to be going smoothly for our daughter now.

On this day, we were off to Bretagne, or Brittany, France for a new adventure. Darcy met us at the airport in Paris, and it was so good to see her again! We made our way to the Montparnasse train station, where we had to wait a couple of hours before departing for Carnac by way of Auray. It was very chilly in the station, and we were happy to find a warm, little cafe in which to have coffee and pastries while we caught up with Darcy's news. She seems to be so happy, and is looking forward to our visit to Carnac as much as we are. She had been there previously with Mathieu, and wanted to share the experience with us.  

We were very impressed with the TGV. The quiet, gentle motion of this high-speed train was so soothing that we nearly dozed off. However, I was too excited to sleep, even though Craig and I had been traveling for over 20 hours. I enjoyed looking at the lovely scenery while chatting with Darcy. The forsythia was in bloom, as well as some red-bud and dogwood trees. The countryside was beautiful, with hills, streams, forests, and an occasional castle in the distance. We passed through several picturesque villages that looked so inviting.

The wonderful, high-speed train which whisked us to Brittany.

Darcy had packed a lunch for us to enjoy on the train. Our compartment had comfy, high-backed seats with a narrow table in the center. We munched our way across France on chicken salad sandwiches, madelines, and fruit. After lunch we played a game, which helped to pass the time.

I had reserved a hotel in Carnac called "Hotel de la Marine". It wasn't luxurious, but was clean, inexpensive, and had everything we needed. The bedroom was large and so was the bathroom. The beds were comfortable, and there was a table and chairs in the room as well, in addition to a television that we never switched on. We went for a short stroll through the charming village, spotting a couple of creperies that looked promising. Because it was "off-season", the town was uncrowded. The downside was that many business had not yet opened for the tourist trade.

Craig and Darcy, 
standing in front of our hotel in Carnac, France.

We ate an early dinner at a creperie called "Chez Marie". It has been there for 50 years, so we were certain that the food would be good. It was a charming place, warm and welcoming with old stone walls, slab tables, and beamed ceilings. The gallettes we ordered were all fantastic! I finally understood what Darcy meant when she told me that I haven't eaten a crepe until  I have eaten a true Breton crepe. Craig chose a salmon gallette with salad on the side. Darcy ordered one with herbed mushrooms in butter, and mine was a heavenly combination of lardons, potatoes, Roblochon cheese, onions, and creme fraiche. We drank the wonderful cider that is the usual accompaniment to a meal of gallettes, and enjoyed everything so much that we planned to dine at Chez Marie at least once more. 

The delicious sweet cider is commonly served with gallettes.

Heaven on a plate in Carnac, Brittany, France. 

Recipe: This recipe for Gallettes Bretonnes is from Darcy. You're welcome.

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