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Bretagne Merci

A French Cultural Experience

June, July, September and October 2021
5th - 15th each month
2600 USD single 

HOSTED BY:

Christine Franc Todd

OVERVIEW

 

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 experimented bilingual teacher who knows all about the specificities of French and English.

 

I will help you to iron out any 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 activities in which movements are combined with speech will help you to memorize more easily!
 

ITINERARY

 

Day 1 - Arrive Paris by international flight

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?

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Day 7 - Local delights!

Breakfast, then a leisurely walk by the sea to build our appetite for a home-cooked lunch. After lunch we will go to Quimperlé  for a stroll around the very pretty village with médiéval half timbered houses and a very unusual abbey dating from the 11th century. Then a wine tasting with a sommelier in Quimperlé's wine shop who will explain the secrets of making wine! Dinner at my home with wine that we purchased in Quimperlé.

 

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/Rennes

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 Rennes afternoon. Visit to the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes or relax with free time. Dinner and overnight Rennes.

 

Day 10 - Paris/departure

After breakfast, you will make your way to Paris/the airport for onward travel. Connection can be arranged by our hotel.

 

                                   

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WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Guided tour with a French/English-speaking guide

  • Cooking demonstrations

  • Wine tastings in our homestay

  • Single accommodation 

  • 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

  • Bottled water

  • Full service and assistance before, during and after the trip

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • International and domestic flights

  • Train fare to Paris from Rennes 

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Gratuities/tips (for your guides)

  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, spa, etc)

  • Travel Insurance

  • Costs other than the above inclusions.

DATES:     June, July, September and October

                 (5th - 15th each month)

PRICING:  USD 2600 single

    

BOOKING: Click here

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What our guests say:

 

This was my first experience of a language immersion course but any concerns that I may have had were quickly dispelled on meeting Christine. I received a warm welcome and was made to feel very comfortable in her lovely home. My requirements for the language course were discussed and Christine's flexible approach enabled the course to be tailored to meet my needs. The course not only provided me with an excellent environment in which to improve my language skills but also an opportunity to discover Le Bretagne with sightseeing trips, coastal walks and the savouring of the culinary delights of the region.

 

The Cooking with Words course as a whole has much to offer, in particular for me, a solo female, it was comfortable and reassuring to be in Christine's company and I very much appreciated her kindness, her ability to make me feel very much at home during my stay, her lovely sense of humour, not least her dedication to her teaching profession and her pride in her Breton heritage. Thank you Christine for a memorable stay chez toi.              Jane Spong, 19th - 21st October 2020

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