Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
YOU QUICKLY GET USED TO THE RHYTHM AND UNDERSTAND THAT IN THE LOW SEASON THE DAYS AROUND THE WEEKEND ARE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FOR THE RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS AND THEY ARE MOSTLY CLOSED ON TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS. BECAUSE SOME STRESSED PARISIANS LIKE TO ESCAPE TO BRITTANY FOR A RELAXED, LONG WEEKEND.
The low season in Brittany has many advantages. October is the time to recharge your batteries in the Atlantic air with long walks along the coast before the annual end-of-year countdown begins. In April, camellias, tulips and magnolias are in full bloom in Brittany.
In the low season you are often one of the few guests. Breakfast with fresh baguette, crunchy croissants and fragrant pain aux raisins, homemade jam, Breton butter and coffee from a large bowl is a relaxed, comfortable start to the day in every respect.
Of course, it rains from time to time in October or April. But does that bother you if you enjoy breakfast by the open fireplace instead? As in many regions of France, Brittany has culinary delights in many places and impressive landscapes on almost every horizon.
The low season has the great advantage that, compared to the high season, you don’t have to book hotels and restaurants weeks in advance and you don’t have to share the beaches with many other visitors. Perhaps the following article on Cancale will tempt you to visit this or any other place in Brittany in the off-season. Let us know.
OYSTERS IN CANCALE
For any oyster lover, Cancale in Brittany is the place to be. From the numerous oyster farms in the bay, which stretches from Cancale to Mont-Saint-Michel, the oysters are sent to the rest of Europe via the fresh market near Paris. A part of it goes directly to the small harbor pier in Cancale and is sold there at some stalls. You can proudly see the buyers hurrying home with small wooden boxes, in anticipation of enjoying the fresh oysters.
The ideal way to arrive at the port is with an oven-fresh baguette, a chilled bottle of cider, a few stylish glasses and napkins. The friendly ladies at the stalls open the oysters and hand them lemons. Luckily it doesn’t need more. Enjoy the delicacies with a view of the sea and squint in the autumn or spring sun.
The freshly eaten oysters increase the anticipation of a fantastic dinner in the evening at the restaurant Le Coquillage, which can be found in the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Les Maisons de Bricourt. The hotel and restaurant is located in Richeux Castle, a mansion in a prominent position above the sea.
The previous owner has laid out a park with great taste and foresight, which offers fantastic lines of sight and particularly emphasizes the trees shaped by the Atlantic wind. Paring down to the essentials characterizes the restaurant’s cuisine, which naturally celebrates the fresh produce of the sea that gently, if at times dramatically, laps the promontory on which the hotel sits.
Due to the fresh seafood, it is not surprising that an excellent Japanese restaurant also has a branch in Cancale – in addition to the other locations in Tokyo and Paris. La Table BREIZH Café is on the first floor of a small house by the harbor at 7, Quai Thomas. The entrance is not easy to discover – on the ground floor there is a creperie of the same name.
IN PÂTISSERIE PARADISE
Lightness and finesse characterize the patisserie in the Grain de vanilla, a small café in the upper part of Cancale. The only difficult thing here is to be spoiled for choice, because all the sweet particles are of world-class quality.
If you look to the left from the cake counter, you can see the open bakery and get an impression of how labor-intensive it is to make the finest puff pastry and mix crèmes before the whole thing appears on the plate in front of you as mille-feuille à la vanilla.
Already the scent beguiles. This classic of French patisserie is particularly fluffy, light and of excellent taste. This is also guaranteed by the selected vanilla, which is of course used in this house.
If you find it too difficult to say goodbye after various delicacies, extend the sweet taste with a packet of Caramel Beurre Salé, which also makes a nice little gift for the Brittany lovers at home.
ALONG THE COASTAL TRAIL
In the off-season, you hike the Coastal Pathways almost alone. After every turn there is a new fascinating view of the sea and many beaches that were almost deserted at this time. In spring, delicate wild orchids bloom along the way and the pine trees are already exuding their aromatic scent.
let more pleasant
don’t work off the calories of Cancale’s excellent cuisine unless you’ve first stuffed your backpack with delicious bread, cheese, seafood rillettes, Breton shortbread and cider. There is no shortage of small beaches and vantage points for a picnic.
SAINT MALO AND MONT SAINT MICHEL
If you want historical fortifications in abundance, you can take a trip to nearby Saint-Malo and visit the impressive buildings in the old town, which bear witness to the former importance and wealth of this port city.
Tourists abound in Mont-Saint-Michel almost anytime. The insider tip is to stay there from December 24th to 25th. On these two days, the flow of tourists ebbs away and you can enjoy a little more silence, not only in the monastery. On all other days, Mont-Saint-Michel, which is visited by around 2.5 million tourists a year, is unfortunately only romantic on postcards.
YOU ALWAYS NEED SOAP
If it is then stylishly packaged, contains only natural substances and does without preservatives or other synthetic components, as in the Savonnerie Cancalaise, you can let the Breton well-being last even after the holiday with a bar of soap, a scented candle or various creams.
The two sisters, who have been running this small soap factory since 2001, are convinced of their natural approach and are happy to explain the small but fine range. On the outskirts of Cancale, between the ship repair shop and the supermarket, you will find the shop and the soap workshop at 4, rue des Ateliers.
You leave Brittany with your trunk packed with culinary delicacies from France and on the way home you are already thinking about which off-season you could return to in order to enjoy the coast and excellent cuisine again, away from the crowds of tourists and the hustle and bustle.
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