Sometimes, a place steals your heart so much that it leaves you speechless. Brittany is that place for me. It worked its way into my heart so much that now it feels like the "one that got away." I'm still in love with it and regret having to leave it. I feel at a loss to sum up this beautiful region in words, but I'm going to try my hardest!
After staying along the pastoral Loire Valley, we nestled into the rolling Brittany region of France. Unlike the light, creamy exteriors and mansered roofs in Amboise, the Brittany region is know for a more natural stone exterior, a richer palette of sea-inspired blues and greens, and more medieval influences.
Our Travels in Brittany, France
We took a lunchbreak in Becherel and it felt like the whole town was under a sleepy spell! I immediately told Stephen "this feels like I'm walking through Beauty and the Beast! Medieval french buildings wedged between more classic Brittanian facades lined cobbled streets filled with a surprising number of book shops.
Medieval Fortress towns: Dinan and St. Malo
From that first stop, we got lost in majestic Dinan with it's triumphant ramparts and city walls filled with myriad slate roofs and charming shops, and then settled in in St. Malo, a place Stephen had looked forward to visiting most on this whole trip.
St. Malo was where I first asked "how much would it cost to live here?" and its a place I dream of returning to as soon as possible. The old city is surrounded by thick ancient walls that now serve as convenient means for pedestrians to navigate the city. We had our fill of their reknowned crepes and cider, walked the cobbled streets and ramparts, (ate eclairs...), and fell in love with it's charms. Strolling St. Malo left me feeling under a spell of romance, charm and history. I googled real estate here and was devastated to find that a 600 sq ft apartment would cost three times our 2200 sq ft town home.
lle de Brehat
From St. Malo, we visited other towns, historic sites, and Ile de Brehat, a pedestrian only island, where we rented bikes, learned how to scare all the hikers with our bike bells (a good scare is probably one of the top 3 funniest things to me. Naturally, this was what I consider the "happiest place on earth."), and took photos on an island that felt like a mix of England, the Cliffs of Moher, The Mediterranean, and France at every turn.
When I'm stressed, I often take a minute to think back to a place where I felt carefree and no stress. After this trip, I now picture myself flying in my "velo" along the trails on Ile de Brehat, shrieking, laughing, and exclaiming "ohmygosh, this is SO BEAUTIFUL!" on repeat at each pitstop.
The Island Commune of Mont St. Michel
The highlight of our visit to Brittany was fulfilling Stephen's lifelong dream to visit Mont St. Michel, an island commune in beachy Normandy. This strategic fortification is just 600 meters off the coast and, at low tide, you can walk across the long flat sandy marsh to it (there's actually a roadway, but that's how people navigated before the roadway). After tide rolls back in, however, Mont. St. Michel looks like it magically rises out of the water. It's both imposing and enchanting and visiting it was one of the best decisions we made.
I didn't realize how deeply fulfilling it would be to just see my beloved husband in wonder at something he dreamed of doing his whole life. It made me so happy to share that experience with him and left us in awe of this beautiful life God has given us to enjoy together.