Wandering Wives – Sugar Rush In Quimper

Author: , December 2nd, 2015

quimper

We recently took a day trip to the picturesque French town of Quimper. This is pronounced “Kam-pair” but being British we take no notice of the official French pronunciation and say it as we read it. So half way between a quiver and a whimper lies the trembling town of Quimper.

We had begun our day with a healthy cereal based breakfast but we took our time getting going and then we needed to stop for petrol so ended up missing lunch. Luckily we had a couple of emergency Kit-Kats with us to save us from getting hangry (a heady mix of hunger and anger that turns even the most mild mannered person into a monster). In France it can be pretty difficult to find food outside of designated meal times, so we decided to snack our way around the town instead. Our first stop was a cute little coffee shop where, due to our terrible understanding of French, we ended up ordering drinks with more calories in than regular desserts. Sian’s coffee with served with a spoon in order to dig through the mountain of whipped cream and chunks of meringue that covered it. High on sugar we had a great time colouring the walls with chalk provided by the establishment.

As is often the case in Brittany, it was raining in Quimper. The town has a pretty river running through it with beautiful old buildings jutting out over it. The constant rain was driving the flow and it surged at speed through the town. After a quick look at the river and a soaking from the rain, we took shelter in the best shop ever. Maison Georges Larnicol sells traditional baked goods, hand crafted chocolates and rows of brightly coloured macarons. After inhaling the wondrous smell and ooo-ing and ah-ing at the amazing displays, we picked up a couple of salted caramel macarons to try and continued on our way.

Back on the street the rain was relentless so we decided to take shelter in the largest land mark we could find. Even the tiniest of Breton villages have impressive gothic style churches looming over them and Quimper is no exception. The humongous Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Corentin of Quimper sits in the middle of the town square and is open most of the day. When we entered the cathedral someone was playing the organ and the whole building seemed to reverberate with the sound of the pipes. Thankfully it soon stopped and we were able to walk around the vast space marvelling at the impressive architecture and stained glass windows. It was a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris so we lit a candle in remembrance of those that were killed.

Walking past Maison Gorges Larnicol again we decided to go back inside to pick up some gifts. Waiting in the queue we spotted something we had failed to see before. A scale model of the Quimper Cathedral made entirely from chocolate. It was enormous and how we had missed it the first time is anyone’s guess…read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Morlaix A Fairytale Town

Author: , November 28th, 2015

Morlaix street

The old French town of Morlaix is one of the most picturesque places we have ever visited. Nestled between the foothills of the Monts d’Arrée national park and the towns beautiful estuary, Morlaix is a charming mix of ancient buildings and cobbled lane ways, just waiting to be explored. The whole town sits under the watchful eye of a large viaduct, framing its spires and roof tops and further adding to its photographic appeal.

We explored the maze of cobbled lane ways and stumbled across tiny French patisseries and creperies hiding out of sight. We found ourselves wandering for hours, pressing our faces up against the windows of bakeries and marvelling at the old world charm. Poking our heads into cute little shops selling Breton biscuits and traditional French dress. When we stumbled across a bicycle outside a shop, we half expected its owner to arrive wearing a Breton top, carrying a baguette, with a string of onions around his neck. Sadly he did not, but even without the stereotypical native, Morlaix is the quintessential French town… read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Autumn In Brittany

Author: , November 21st, 2015

French abandoned house

Brittany lies in the north-west corner of France and has a climate similar to the UK. So along with driving rain and biting wind, autumn in the region can bring some truly stunning days. Vivid landscapes full of colour are waiting around every corner. Fallen conkers and amber leaves make up an ever changing blanket on the ground. Lush grassy hills play hide and seek in the haze of foggy mornings as coats and scarves come out of hiding.

Autumn in Brittany is about woodland walks through crisp undergrowth and evenings spent by a crackling fire. The colours of autumn breathe life into their surroundings as everyone enjoys the last days of sunshine before winter arrives. Pumpkins are carved, soups are made, slippers are rediscovered and butternut squash becomes part of everyday vocabulary one again. Autumn is bright, vibrant youthful and wondrous.

Or at least that’s what our Instagram feed would have you believe. Leaves on the ground, check. Huge scarf, check. Average pumpkin in the dark, check. Cute dog walking selfie, check. The reality is often very far from the truth. Yes we have been carving pumpkins and walking a dog in a scarf (us not him), but what the selfies don’t reveal is the truth behind them.

It rains 95% of the time and lighting a fire is one of the skills our generation have lost. Most of the leaf strewn pathways are brown and sludgy and very slippery. The grass is always wet and merely glancing in its direction will render your jeans soaked to the knees for the rest of the day. Carving a pumpkin is hard, trying to cut a butternut squash requires so much skill it should be an Olympic event. The super cute giant scarf is actually super itchy and a massive trip hazard. The dog has diarrhoea and shat on his own lead the other day…read more on Wandering Wives

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Wandering Wives – Armistice Day In Northern France

Author: , November 12th, 2015

We spent Armistice Day in the small Breton village of La Feuillee in northern France. In the UK the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is a sombre event, filled with military aplomb. It begins promptly at 11:00 with a silence to commemorate the fallen. Most cities hold large memorial services at their cenotaphs and poppies are worn as a mark of respect. We experienced a similar atmosphere watching the ANZAC parade in Australia. In France, Armistice Day is more of a celebration than a memorial. The French have a public holiday and celebrate their freedom and liberation.

We walked into the village at around 10:50 not entirely sure what to expect and hoping we weren’t late. Our first port of call was the war memorial, which had been adorned with tricolours. On our way towards it we noticed most other people were walking in the opposite direction so we turned on our heels and followed them. We reached the council offices and saw a group of people were gathered outside. We were unsure if we were in the right place as people were calling out to one another, children were shouting and playing, no one seemed to be respecting or remembering anything.

We stood back from the crowd and observed, still trying to work out if we had accidentally arrived at a birthday party or school outing. At 11:00 the church bells rang, our backs stiffened and our heads bowed, ready to contemplate the sacrifice of the fallen. It soon became clear we were the only ones observing the silence. The French villagers continued calling to one another, greeting each other with kisses and chatting. Cars were still arriving and late comers continued to walk up the road from the village with no sense of urgency. We decided to break our silence with a debate about GMT. Perhaps the service was at 12:00 in France due to the time difference. The church bells rang again and it looked like something was happening. It would appear that the French start their commemoration at 11:10, being fashionably late as ever…read more on Wandering Wives

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