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