Monday, 14 August 2017

Postcards from Brittany

Bonjour! How are you all? Thank you for all your lovely comments on our newly decorated bedroom, it was very nice to come home to that - the comments and the bedroom. There's nothing like your own bed after a trip away, is there, no matter how wonderful the trip.

We have just returned from a wonderful holiday in Carnac, on the south coast of Brittany. We've spent the weekend unpacking, food shopping, washing and ironing every single item of clothing we possess (well, almost), gardening (how did it get so wild over only two weeks?!), washing the car and just generally getting back into the swing of life at home, and I finally had time this afternoon to sit down and go through our holiday photos.

Our holiday was similar to last year in that we took the car ferry to France and stayed on a campsite in a mobile home/cabin type affair, and so we had our own car and bikes. These kinds of holidays are so familiar to us now that we all fall into our usual habits when we arrive; lots of swimming, cycling, pottering around pretty towns and villages, market visits, eating and drinking. There was also, as I'd hoped, lots of time for sewing, reading and sleeping. I think I slept nine hours a night for the first week there - clearly a much needed catch up! The weather was mixed and cooler than last year, and there were a few rainy days, but it didn't really stop us doing anything. Bella and Angus spent any time at the campsite cycling around on the bikes, visiting my parents and sisters with their families, who were also staying on the same campsite. With all those cousins, we had our own little kids club going on.

The campsite was very close to Carnac Plage with it's beautiful sandy beach. I loved that beach very much, and my sisters and I would meet early and run along it most mornings which was really glorious. 

The beach was sheltered with no surf to speak of, so ideal for swimming. It was also lovely to walk along in the evenings, which we did a few times.

Brittany is such a picturesque part of France, and with a very strong sense of regional pride. In many ways it reminds me of Cornwall, with it's grey slated-roofed cottages, the agapanthus flowers which grow everywhere, the fishing industry and the many bays and inlets that make up the wild coastline. It's also known for it's crepes and cider, which of course we felt obliged to sample. Frequently.

One particular highlight for me on holiday is food shopping. I just love foreign supermarkets, they fascinate me. I mean look at this jam section!

Food shopping is not exactly a favourite past time of mine at home, but on holiday I love it, whether it's a shop or the markets, which are amazing.  I also brought home a few souvenirs, including a few cotton throw/scarf/hammam towels from the shop pictured below.

Hydrangea bushes are abundant and grow outside most houses and many churches and other buildings. Against the stone walls and shuttered windows, they are really elegant and I became quite besotted with them.

This one was the most incredible - I've since learnt that it's a hydrangea paniculata  - and I've never seen anything like it, with the slightly conical, ombre blooms. Just stunning.

We explored the local region a lot, including a trip to the city of Vannes, which was so full of character with it's medieval half-timbered buildings and city walls.

One afternoon we took a little ferry over to Ile de Moines, the most charming island in the Gulf of Morbihan. There are hardly any cars and everyone gets around by walking or cycling around the narrow, winding roads. I always wonder what it's like to live on islands like this, what it's like in November when all the tourists have left. 

Another delightful - if cold and windy - trip was to the little village of St Cado, with it's stone houses hugging the coast and the tiny oyster-catcher's cottage sitting alone on an equally tiny island.

It was a brilliant holiday and we returned tanned, slightly heavier (that'll be those crepes...) and with full hearts after lots of cherished family time together. Sadly my parents had to leave earlier than planned as my Grandad has been quite unwell over the last week. But - incredibly (he really was very poorly) - he's doing well and we hope he will be home in a few weeks. So it's all been a bit emotional with that going on in the background, but we're very glad he's on the mend and all visiting him as much as we can.

I'll leave you with some family snaps.


  1. Gorgeous photos and it looks like you had a fantastic time. I love foreign supermarkets too; funny isn't it. I hope that your Grandad is back to full health very soon. xx

  2. Sounds like a wonderful break, how lovely that your family were there too. I do hope your granddad is better soon. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, what a beautiful place. CJ xx

  3. Such a lovely post of your holiday with so many moments & photos for you to cherish. Family time is precious & hugs to your Grandfather. Love that tiny hut sitting exposed to all weathers on the wee island. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing & now I feel like I need a big holiday. Now sit back & enjoy the rest of your "English" summer holidays. Take care.

  4. Lovely photos, those colours are fab. Looks like a perfect holiday. Have enjoyed seeing the daily embroidery on Instagram. Hope your grandad recovers soon.

  5. What a beautiful area. Have been to Paris and driven from Germany to Spain, but have never been to Brittany so I truly enjoyed your photos.

  6. What a delightful post and such a lovely part of France! Might have to add this area to my bucket list thought much trickier to get there from Australia!

  7. Thank you for sharing your holiday snaps and impressions with us! It sounds all fabulous, and I am glad you all had such a great time. It makes getting back into the swing of things so much easier, doesn't it.
    Love the stone walls of the houses and churches with the shutters and hydrangeas!
    And like you, I am fascinated by supermarkets elsewhere than home.

  8. Hello from north Brittany! Love that you enjoyed your traditional family holiday - that is probably the main reason we come here every year (this year it will be 3 times, in fact - it's just as nice in spring and autumn!). Our coast is a little more rugged than the south but very beautiful, too. Carnac is fascinating with the stones, up here we have the pink granite. I'm also enjoying a very different sunset over the Sept-Iles every single evening... another 10 days before I have to go home! Today is a bit grey so I'll be checking out the jams and doing some knitting ��

  9. Glad you had a wonderful time! I hope that all will be well for your Grandad very soon!

  10. It looks like you all had a wonderful time and it's lovely you were able to share your holiday with extended family. It sounds like the perfect holiday with something for everyone and the beach looks fab.
    Wishing your Grandad a swift recovery. X

  11. It looks like a lovely holiday destination. The hydrangea you particularly liked could be 'Vanille Fraise' - they grow well here in the UK too!
    Best wishes

  12. The Brittany Tourist Board should send you a fat cheque! Your photos a gorgeous and have made me even keener to visit one day. It looks and sounds as though you had a lovely time. I hope your Grandad recovers well and that you enjoy the remainder of the summer holidays. Sam x

  13. Great pics Gillian. So did you wear the bikini, that is what I want to know! We used to go to Brittany lots when I was little but we ventured South this year and was rewarded with beautiful sunshine. Glad you had a good time. Jo xx

  14. Lovely photos, fascinated by the oyster catcher's cottage. I'm guessing someone probably did live there years ago. I know I couldn't have coped well at that, but I suppose some had no choice. All the best with your Grandad. Cathy x

  15. Lovely photos, I know what you mean about the supermarkets! Lucy x

  16. One of the things I really like on holiday, is going to the supermarket. Looking and choosing from all the 'new' (al least for me) products. Great that you love it too, sometimes I feel a bit strange when I say that to people.

  17. Thank you very much for beautiful Photos. :)

  18. Hey Gillian,
    I do so love Brittany too. Probably because it does remind me of home. Same but different. The colours are gorgeous, and I could spend all day just wandering around looking at the houses, and the planting. We have stayed at Carnac Plage a few times; the boys like it there. You all look very relaxed and refreshed in your family snaps. Good for you!
    Leanne xx

  19. Beautiful pictures, you look so relaxed. x

  20. Hi Gillian, your vacation looks like it was wonderful. I hardly know where to begin with your post, so much to enjoy here! I love the photos of the kids, and the beach, well, everything, because it all looks beautiful and happy. I'm so glad you had a nice, relaxing time. Best wishes to your grandfather.

  21. It looks like you had a fantastic vacation! Your words and pictures make me want to go to France as soon as possible. We lived there for a few years and I almost felt homesick looking at some of your photos in this post.
    I look forward to a post about your embroidered hoiday dairy!

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  24. What lovely collages of happy holiday snaps.
    That little house sat on it's very own island is too cute!
    Oh my, never seen so much jam in one place before.
    Love to see windows and windowboxes when we go aboard.
    The hydrangea looks like a much prettier version of the buddleia which just goes rife anyway it can!
    Lisa x


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