AGMA’s back in the land of orange, spray tan insanity! I hope I didn’t miss too many of the Tweeter-in-Chief’s pearls of monosyllabic feculence…
I started this post nearly two weeks ago during our trip and felt certain that I would finish it before we came home.
Clearly, that didn’t happen. But I kinda liked it so I finished it. Here goes:
September 16, 2017
We just left Brittany.
We discovered there are very fat, happy cows in Brittany. And fat, happy cows make delicious, creamy milk that’s made into “to die for” butter.
Demi sal (partially salted) please.
And AGMA ate mass quantities of this delictable Breton butter during our 6 days in a beautifully renovated 17th century Breton farmhouse outside of the charming “Petite Town of Character” (seriously) Jugon-les-Lacs.
Some backstory as to why we were in a 17th century farmhouse in Brittany…
Hubs was inspired last year on our short visit to Provence to learn French. He actually has a history of living in France. His dad was in the army and was stationed there twice while Hubs was growing up. I guess he picked up some French then, but put it down pretty quickly.
A determined Hubs is an obsessive-compulsive Hubs.
He’s spent the last 9 months trying to become proficient in French. He reached the highest level on the Duolingo app in French. He’s now going backwards (from French to English.)
He’s been seeing a French instructor once a week in Atlanta for about 6 months. And for the last 3 months, he’s been Skyping with two French instructors – one in Belgium and one in South Africa. He’s just recently discovered Edith Piaf. Nevermind that AGMA told him about the wonderful Edith years ago… And he watches French cartoons and sitcoms on YouTube. And listens to Zaz.
He was ready for the big time. French immersion. In France.
Turns out, there are quite a few folks in France who want to have people come and stay in their homes to learn French. For a price.
Next, we had to decide who and where. Good teachers (based on previous student reviews and bios) are all over the country, but we wanted to go somewhere we’d never been before. AGMA wanted to go east towards the French Alps, but that teacher was booked. It got narrowed down to a teacher in Brittany and one north of Paris.
The history of Brittany (Bretagne in French) in is fascinating. It’s more Celtic than French. They call Great Britain “grande Bretagne” and Brittany “petite Bretagne”. It was an autonomous region with ties to Great Britian for centuries until it finally became part of France in 1532.
The Breton language is (according to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia) “one of six extant Celtic languages.” And, evidently, there are quite a few redheads in Brittany.
The countryside is spectacular.
No vineyards here. They grow corn. Lots and lots of corn. To feed those fat, happy cows. To make that incredible butter.
That makes AGMA so happy.
The bits of the north coast we saw were spectacular. Wild and rocky. Cliffs and crashing waves.
With very, very few tourists. We liked that.
Hub’s lessons were in the morning, but we managed to see a lot on our free afternoons.
The half-timbered houses of the medieval town of Dinan,
the port of St-Malo with it’s ancient walls,
the world famous oysters at Cancale,
the romantic ruins of the Abbaye de Beauport,
the fortress of Fort la Latte on the sea,
the windy, rugged Cap Frehel,
the very weird Danse Macbre in the Chapelle de Kermaria an Iskuit,
the charming island of Ile-de-Brehat,
and the iconic Mont St Michel.
We loved it!
Our hosts were a lovely English couple who lived their dream by moving to France in 2002 and refurbishing an old French farmhouse into a Chambre d’hote (bed and breakfast to you and I.)
Both Suzanne – Hub’s tutor – and Peter are teachers. Suzanne teaches French to non-French types and English to French types. She also speaks German and a bit of Spanish. Peter is an accomplished musician and teaches music – mostly piano.
Aside from their teaching skills, Suzanne is an incredible gardener. Much of the food we ate came directly from her garden. Including the beautiful preserves we had at breakfast everyday on our bagettes and crossiants. And Peter is an accomplished cook – his lunches were 3 course gourmet wonders.
And butter. We had lots and lots of butter! They bought that at a store.
Honestly, it was a bit embarrassing how much butter I put on the fresh baguettes that we had for both breakfast and lunch. Everyday. But oh so delicious…
It really kick-started the weight gain which gained momentum everyday for the entire 23 days we were in France.
But what the hell… You can’t take it with you.
The butter, I mean.
Viva la France!
P.S. Peter and Suzanne’s farmhouse is called La Croix Julot. En suite bed and breakfast is about 50 Euro a night. You can read the Trip Advisor reviews here. Hubs and AGMA highly recommend it!