A French Cultural Experience
March - October 2023
5th - 15th each month
2730 USD single
May 15th - May 26th, 2023
Christine Franc Todd
Do you want to improve your French while enjoying a week by the sea in Brittany ?
I invite you to stay with me in the small port of Brigneau, Moëlan-sur-Mer, near Pont-Aven, the city of painters!
With Cooking with Words, learn everyday French, conversational French and blend into French speaking countries fluently and without inhibitions!
In a friendly setting, far away from classrooms and school methods, you will be immersed with an experienced bilingual teacher who knows all about the specificities of French and English.
I will help you to solve any language difficulty you might encounter during your immersion here. You will discover and love a language and culture that are very close yet so different.
Cooking and market activities in which movements are combined with speech will help you to memorize more easily!
Day 1 - Arrive Paris
Accommodation reserved for very early morning arrivals. You will transfer to Lorient where you will be picked up from Paris. Easy train connection.
Day 2 - Discover Moëlan
Our first day will be about discovering the area where I live to show you why I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!
I love the picturesque little ports of Moëlan, (there are 3 of them to choose from) and I live within walking distance of the old fishing port of Brigneau . It used to be very active but it’s now a quiet and picturesque "port de plaisance" hidden in a deep wooded ria.
Over the years, Moëlan has attracted famous painters, writers and poets.
We have the choice of walking on the coastal path, visiting many picturesque places and visiting a lot of historic towns.
Brittany has an unmistakable regional identity. People here love their Breton dancing, music and culture. Brittany has everything, the sea, the food, the art, the prehistoric sites…..
We’ll start our day the French way with croissants and baguettes and then go for a walk on the mythical GR34 coastal path. It runs round the entire Brittany peninsula and we can enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean and the wild and rugged coastline
After lunch, we’ll drive to the neolithic gallery grave of Kermeur Bihan, a prehistoric monument dating back several thousands of years located in a woodland, protected by secular oak trees. From there, we can take a stroll to the little port of Bélon before heading back home for an aperitif and a typical Breton dinner!
Day 3 - Quimper and Douarnenez
Let’s experience the historic city of Quimper, the ancient capital of Cornouaille. We’ll visit the cathedral of Saint-Corentin which is the greatest gothic construction in Brittany, before discovering the rich culture - featuring the traditional costumes and the furniture. You will see the "lit-clos" beds inside their own wooden cupboards, closed in winter to keep people warm.
We’ll take a stroll through the pedestrian medieval quarter. The charming streets and squares keep the names of their historic trades. Place au beurre was for the butter churners,r ue des bouchers for the butchers…
After our morning exploration, we’ll head to the fascinating town of Douarnenez for lunch. Douarnenez is located on one of the most beautiful bays in Europe and it’s also a working town with an active sardine fishing and canning industry with three different ports.
We’ll visit the traditional canning factory of Kerbriant and watch the entire process of transforming the fish into preserves. At the end of the tour, we’ll enjoy a tasting of course!
Later, we'll stroll past the working fishing port and the mythical île Tristan to the Port-Musée where we can see some of the old Breton fishing boats afloat in the harbour. In town, we can stop off at a patisserie to buy some of the infamous Breton Kouign Amann cake to eat later - naughty but nice!
Day 4 - Lorient and Port-Louis
Today is going to be all about Lorient and the battle of the Atlantic.
Lorient had a strategic position in Brittany and the Kéroman submarine base was built by the Germans from 1941 to 1943 for attacking the Atlantic convoys. Its presence is the reason why Lorient was at the heart of the battle of the Atlantic. The base was pounded by allied bombers from the allied aircraft but proved to be impregnable. Instead, the Allies decided to isolate the base by completely destroying the town of Lorient, but not before giving the inhabitants time to evacuate. That's why there are hardly any old buildings in Lorient.
At the end of the war, it was used by the French navy until 1997 and was very active during the Cold War. Three impressive submarine pens make up the base and Kéroman 3 is open to visitors. We’ll take a guided tour. The guides, as well as being knowledgeable are also helpful and really enthusiastic.
We’ll finish our visit with a look inside the submarine Flore. You will be surprised at how cramped it is inside as you imagine the life of the crew members!
We’ll then take the ferry across the harbour to Port Louis, passing its C16 star-shaped fort. Port-Louis was the headquarters of the Compagnie des Indes, which traded with India and the Orient - hence the name of Lorient. It's a short stroll to have lunch in the lovely café "La Dame Blanche" which has its own bookshop and is a well-known venue for literary talks and discussions
Then back on the ferry to Lorient for a bit of free time and a look at the shops!
Day 5 - Castles and Megaliths
In the morning, we’ll start our journey to the "Golfe du Morbihan" (Ar Mor Bihan = the small sea in Breton). It’s an enchanting site, a beautiful inland sea and important region in prehistoric times with many world famous megalithic sites such as Carnac and Gavrinis. As we drive through the region you can see many megaliths in the fields alongside the roads.
Our first stop is Suscinio castle. It was built in the Middle Ages as a hunting lodge for the Dukes of Brittany. The impressive medieval fortress has been restored to its former glory. Situated at the edge of the ocean, it offers a fantastic view of the water.
After visiting the castle and admiring the original medieval mosaic floors, we’ll walk to the beach for lunch.
Then around the gulf to Locmariaquer where we’ll take a mini cruise to the Ile aux Moines, Monks’ Island which is renowned for its mild climate and eco-chic style. It’s one of 40 islands in the gulf, most uninhabited, and a paradise for walkers! We’ll take the marked trails and discover the villages of fishermen’s houses, the chapels and fountains but also admire the magnificent panoramas of the Gulf of Morbihan .
Day 6 - Market and Pont-Aven
We’ll start today with a visit to the market in Moëlan. Every week, local producers, fishmongers and butchers come to sell their products around the church. We’ll choose our cheese, ham and sausages ready to go back home for lunch and make our own "crêpes". I will show you the technique which has been used for generations and then we will eat our crêpes with a bowl of local cider.
After a well deserved rest, we’ll head to Pont-Aven. This small town built of granite, still has a number of old water mills and sluices where the Aven river runs through the centre of the town to the attractive port.
It is best-known for the group of artists the 19th c who gathered around Paul Gauguin, the post-impressionist painter and sometime friend of Van Gogh. Some years before Gaugin arrived, the town had already become a vibrant international artists colony, attracting painters from all over Europe and North America. The first group that arrived consisted of American art students from Philadelphia. The town still attracts tourists and there are numerous galleries in town.
We’ll maybe buy some galettes from the Biscuiterie Traou Mad where these butter biscuits were invented in 1920. And we’ll take a lovely river walk through the Bois d’Amour, a source of inspiration for the artists, to arrive at the Chapel of Trémalo which still contains the carving of le Christ Jaune, the inspiration for one of Paul Gauguin’s most famous paintings. This little 16th c chapel is privately owned and always open in the day time, which always amazes me!
Don’t forget to look at the figurines on the wall plates and the carvings on the ends of the roof beams. Can you find the rabbit playing a trumpet on a dog’s back?
Day 7 - Local delights!
We ll drive to the famous crêperie St Maurice situated in an idyllic setting for lunch and a stroll along the river. Then Jerome who has a passion for wine and cooking (he used to be the youngest sommelier in France) will welcome us in his wine store. He will share his passion with us and organize a wine pairing..
Then back home to cook a meal based on the days theme..
Day 8 - Mont St Michel
In the morning, we will drive to Mont St Michel.
After settling in our "chambre d’hôtes" where you’ll be able to admire the Mont St Michel first thing in the morning, we’ll have lunch and start our walk along the footpath which offers a fantastic view of the mount.
We’ll walk up the Grande Rue, (the main street) with it's many medieval signs which testify of the past and present spiritual activity of the place. The shops offer very tempting souvenirs so we’ll take our time and browse!
We’ll reach the Abbeye built at the summit of the rock at the beginning of the 13th century. It’s a formidable gothic construction, the and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll have a guided tour of the abbatial church, the cloister, the refectory and the gardens.
From the terrace, we’ll take time to contemplate the golden statue of the archangel St Michael, the the chief of the celestial legions.
It was lifted by a helicopter in 2016 to be restored.
Then a bit of free time to stroll around the rock and back to town for dinner. Overnight Mont St Michel.
Day 9 - Exploring the way to Mont St Michel/St Malo
After a substantial breakfast at our chambre d’hôtes, we’ll go back to the Mount to meet our accredited guide, Patrick for a memorable experience. We’ll cross the bay, soaking up the magical atmosphere across the seashore at low tide. This is not an ordinary hike. It is inspired by the thousand-year-old tradition of pilgrims on their way to the Mont St Michel. Patrick will reveal the fascinating secrets of the shifting sands and will explain the unique ecosystem of the bay.
Transfer to St Malo afternoon. Dinner at your leisure.
Overnight St Malo.
Day 10 - Exploring St Malo/Rennes
In the morning we will have time to visit an authentic butter creamery where butter is produced by hand using artisanal techniques.
Later we'll transfer to Rennes and explore the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes or relax with free time. Dinner and overnight Rennes.
Day 11 - Paris/departure
After breakfast, we will travel to Paris/the airport for onward travel. Connection will be arranged by our hotel.
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Guided tour with a French/English-speaking guide
Wine tastings in our homestay
Three daily meals
Pick up in Lorient by your guide
Comfortable tour vehicle
All entry fees for the above sights and additional activities as listed on the itinerary
Full service and assistance before, during and after the trip
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
International and domestic flights
Train fare to Paris from Rennes
Gratuities/tips (for your guides)
Items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, spa, etc)
Costs other than the above inclusions.
What our guests say: