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5 days in Brittany--advice on places to eat and stay

mollymcleah May 7, 2011 08:16 PM

We're from the Bay area, are nuts about French food and wine, and will be making our first trip to Brittany in May. Will be staying in Dinan, Douarnez and Auray, but have a car and are willing to go the extra mile for a great, non-Michelin starred find. :-). Love oysters, lobster, mussels and other fruits de mer, but we're open to any truly authentic or quintessential Brittany eating experience. We'd love any advice on where to go and what to eat while we are there!

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  1. Delucacheesemonger RE: mollymcleah May 7, 2011 09:48 PM

    Salt fields in Guerande
    AM market in Pont L'Abbe
    Sardnes in Concarneau
    Not food, but Breton clothing at huge outlet in Douarnenez
    La Taupeniere in Pont Aven
    Oysters at booth just inside wall in St Malo, teeny booth try to find.

    1. p
      Ptipois RE: mollymcleah May 8, 2011 01:06 AM

      Youpala Bistrot in Saint-Brieuc, absolute must.
      Jean-Paul Abadie in Lorient
      Ty Saozhon and all other crêperies in Roscoff
      Le Temps de vivre in Roscoff
      All the incredible spice shops in harbour towns, my favorite being Comptoir Kerjean in Brest, rue de Siam
      Oysters and seafood all over the coast.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ptipois
        Rio Yeti RE: Ptipois May 8, 2011 06:34 AM

        Abadie will be closed at the end of may for renovation (unfortunately, as I had planned to make reservation)...

        1. re: Ptipois
          pepisstud RE: Ptipois Jul 29, 2012 02:11 PM

          Do you have any idea if Le Temps de Vivre Restaurant is still open? I find many write-ups on the hotel, but no information about the reataurant. Have already made a reservation at Youpala Bistrot for our September trip and w2as looking forward to a great meal in Roscoff.

        2. Parigi RE: mollymcleah May 8, 2011 01:57 AM

          Between St Malo and Dinan, one of my fave towns, is the very down-home Ferme de la Porte in Saint Jouan des Guerets. Nothing fancy, but a very nice farm by the Rance river serving food from the farm itself. The first time I went, we arrived in a cold afternoon to find a whole pig roasting in the fireplace in the restaurant. (I remember the farm also has sheep and ducks and geese.)I consider this a truly "authentic Brittany eating experience"...
          In the warmer seasons (with calmer sea) you can even pay to go on the owner's boat and go fishing with him in the morning. Of course this means god-awful early in the morning.

          Another authentic experience is to go to a morning market. The Cancale market is one of my 5 favorites in the world (Boqueria, Villefranche de Rouergue, Qingping, Bayonne which just aced out Ile sur la Sorgue).There is a thrilling "beach oyster market", where you can eat oysters fresh off the sea.

          And I love DCM's and Pti's recs as usual. This whole thread again goes to my archive.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Parigi
            mangeur RE: Parigi May 8, 2011 07:27 AM

            Yes to everything above, plus I would heartily recommend taking the inexpensive 15 minute boat ride from Roscoff out to the Ile de Batz. Walk the village streets, hike, visit the exotic gardens but most important have lunch at "å l'Abri du Vent" creperie. Especially suggest the amazing algae crepe filled with ribbons of green seaweed, scallops and shrimp. One of my most delicious and memorable surprises.


            1. re: mangeur
              mollymcleah RE: mangeur May 8, 2011 07:28 PM

              Thanks, everyone, for the great ideas. We are working out our itinerary now and thanks to your suggestions are definitely making sure we hit Cancale and Roscoff, places that were on our only on our "maybe" list before. And we will be heading to Paris for a week afterwards, and are mining the board archives for all sorts of great ideas for Paris as well. We are new to Chowhound and are just loving it!!!

            2. re: Parigi
              pj26 RE: Parigi May 26, 2011 03:13 AM

              Parigi - is the Cancale market on every day?

              1. re: pj26
                Parigi RE: pj26 May 26, 2011 03:25 AM


                The oyster beach is not part of the Cancale market which is Sunday morning. Seems to be operating every morning. The fishermen's off morning is probably Monday. -- Am guessing.
                But this webpage says it's open everyday.
                You can also call or email the office du tourisme of Cancale. All the offices du tourisme have English speakers and are very nice and helpful.

                1. re: Parigi
                  mangeur RE: Parigi May 26, 2011 06:52 AM

                  I think that the oyster market is probably open every morning but may vary in size. I remember being there several times on frigid December weekday mornings and finding, say, three sellers.

                  1. re: mangeur
                    Parigi RE: mangeur May 26, 2011 07:01 AM

                    That was what I meant to say, but my subordinate clauses raced ahead of me...
                    Yes Cancale has a Sunday morning market which is faaabulous.
                    And it has this oyster market on the beach which goes on every day.

                    1. re: Parigi
                      pj26 RE: Parigi May 26, 2011 07:44 AM

                      Thank you both! In the UK we have an oyster season (or are recommended not to eat oysters in any month without an 'R' in it!) - is this the same in France?

                      1. re: pj26
                        Parigi RE: pj26 May 26, 2011 07:52 AM

                        French oysters can be eaten all year round. Really. I do, and I have a fragile stomach.

                        1. re: Parigi
                          pj26 RE: Parigi May 26, 2011 09:22 AM

                          That is music to my ears, I can't wait!

              2. re: Parigi
                jssLA RE: Parigi Apr 2, 2012 06:51 PM

                Parigi, where exactly is the Cancale morning market? Is it walkable from Chateaux Richeux? Are there other items at that market besides oysters. Sounds great, and we love Boqueria as well.

                1. re: jssLA
                  Parigi RE: jssLA Apr 3, 2012 01:11 AM

                  According to Google Map, the oyster market on the beach should be an 8 minute walk.

                  You eat what the fishermen bring back from the sea right there and then, which means oysters and mussels. So no roast chicken, duh, or shrimp or crab unless you eat it raw (in case you do, I have not seen any, probably because my eyes were blurry from my weeping over the oysters).

                  For an overwhelming "normal" market, Cancale's Sunday morning market occupies a good part of the village. Great, great fun.

                  1. re: Parigi
                    RandyB RE: Parigi Apr 19, 2012 05:32 PM

                    I did not make it to the morning market but I did to the oyster beach. You just drive down the main waterfront street to the end.

                    Four or five vendors selling very (very!) fresh oyster from the farms a few hundred meters away. They all charged around 5€ for a dozen #3 oysters, plus 1€ to shuck them and give you a plate and lemon wedge.

                    Did I say they were fresh? On the other hand, I personally find the Cancale oysters a bit brinier than I prefer. Still, it was a great treat and the setting was perfect.

                    Editing my post: As a pastry chef, I just have to add mention of my hotel in Tregastel. We went to Perros-Guirec and stayed at the Beau Séjour. http://www.beausejoursarl.com/. Renovated, comfortable, very reasonably priced. We stayed there because it was close to some very nice walking on the Pink Granite coast and birding at the 7 Îles.

                    This is a small hotel across from the beach, unfortunately with an ugly rec center in front of it. This does not block the view from the hotel rooms, luckily. Unlike many of the nearby beach areas, this one is relatively quiet, and very quiet at night.

                    The food aspect was first seen at breakfast. For the usual 9€, there are all kinds of fresh baked goodies. Croissants, pains au chocolat, 4 kinds of bread, far (a sort of Breton custard cake), and Kouigh-Aman. The baked goods were outstanding. La patronne is a baker. She has a full-scale (if tiny) bakery in the basement. She makes some of the best croissants I've had in France, and excellent breads. Although I find Kouigh-Aman way too sweet, at least hers was made with really good puff pastry. There was also fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt and jams. Finally, eggs and bacon or a crêpe, all included in the price.

                    The lobster dinner that night for 44€ should be the topic of a separate posting or thread.

                    1. re: RandyB
                      Parigi RE: RandyB Apr 20, 2012 01:34 AM

                      One of the most drool-inducing posts. Bravo.

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