Welcome to our Brittany Blog
Thursday, 30th January 2020
Visit the Medieval town of Malestroit
I am sure that I’m not the only person that visits their local towns and takes it all for granted. The old buildings, cobbled streets, amazing tourist attractions. Well, my New Years Resolution is to explore all of our local towns and to whet your appetite for Brittany!..
We will start with Malestroit (yes, it is a bit tricky to say!), a small medieval town just 10km away.
Malestroit dates back to 987 and was formerly on the pilgrimage route to Compostela. However, Malestroit’s real claim to fame was it was in the Chapel of Madeleine the the Kings of France and England met to sign the truce of the Hundred Years War.
A trip to Malestroit should definitely be on you itinerary if you are visiting this corner of Brittany and I would allow a half / full day. So, what is there to do ?
1. First stop, the tourist information office and ask for their free guide to the town (they usually have this guide in English as well as French!). This guide takes you all around Malestoit and points out things that you will easily walk past. The Chapel de Madeleine is just on the outskirts of Malestroit and is now just a ruin and whilst of great historical importance it really isn’t worth the 20 minute walk.
2. Visit on a Thursday, it is market day! Eat hot crepes as you wonder through the stalls buy a baguette, a spit roasted chicken or a bowlful of Paella and head for the canal for your impromptu picnic
3. After lunch take a stroll up the canal and if you are feeling really energetic you can hire a canoe or two.
Malestroit is a typical Breton town. It hasn’t changed since we first arrived over 20 years ago, but that is precisely why we like it. Everything else around us moves so fast, but when you are strolling through the cobbled streets you can really imaging what it would have been like working for the resistance in World War II. What goes on behind the enormous shutters. The houses look so tall and dreary from the outside but if you manage to walk past one of the gated entrances where the gate is open, peer in, the gardens and courtyards are amazing.
Wednesday, 22nd January 2020
Galette des Rois
The Galette des Rois (Kings cake) is one of my favourite French traditions. The Galette des Rois is a delicious cake of puff pastry stuffed with frangipane, where only refined almond powder is used.
Traditionally this cake should be eaten on 6th January, Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings, but if I am honest I have been eating them since they first appeared in the shops on 2nd December!!
It is now 22nd January and they are still in the shops, but I think that this may be my last one this year!
Inside of the Galette is placed a small ‘feve’, the prize, which usually is a small ceramic figurine which I am amazed is still permitted as these could easily be swallowed or at the very least break a tooth !!..
1.Gather friends and friends around a table.
2.The youngest person then crawls under the table.
3.The oldest (or the most honest !!) person then acts as distributor.
4.The distributor then cuts a slice of the galette and the person nominates who should be served each slice.
5.The person who finds the ‘feve’ is the King and wears the crown !!
Tuesday, 14th January 2020
The Old Ivy restaurant in Reminiac reopens next week ....
The good news is that the Old Ivy is re-opening on the 20th of January 2020 after being closed a while due to the previous owners ill health
A local family is taking it over and intend to offer all sorts of local Breton produce both lunchtime and some evenings
There will also be a bar plus café and fresh bread will be on sale daily..........
As soon as we have tried it out we'll let you know
Sunday 12th January 2020
Brexit and Travelling to France in 2020
At last some sort of resolution to Brexit is on the horizon so here's the latest we have as far as travelling to France goes for 2020. The good news is nothing should change this year- plus, assuming the details get sorted out not a lot should be different for 2021 onwards either
The UK is leaving the EU on the 31st January 2020 but there will be a transition period until the 31st December 2020. During that time nothing will change as far as UK citizens rights in Europe are concerned. No extra paperwork, visas etc will be required to travel to France. The European Health card will still be valid during this eleven month period
Brittany Ferries have said on their website ......"Whether you have already booked or are thinking of travelling with us, deal or no deal, Brittany Ferries will continue to operate all routes after the UK has withdrawn from the European Union. The fundamentals of travel by sea will not change regardless of the post-Brexit landscape, so please continue to book with confidence"
Passports: The Goverment advises that you should ensure that there are at least six months duration reminiang on your passport from your date of arrival abroad. For the latest information, visit the government’s webpage on passports
So book with confidence and come and visit sunny France !
Friday, 10th January 2020
Bonne Année !!
The year is only ten days old and I have just received an email from my bank alerting me of a potential scam for 2020.
When writing the date many people in France and I am sure in the UK just use two numbers for the year. Yep, I do that, so for today I would write 10/01/20.
My bank has just warned me that unscrupulous companies or individuals could easily alter the date to future date document or contract 10/01/20 could easily become 10/01/2006.
I must be so naive, I had even thought about that!. Hence, the advice is to write the date in full.
Wednesday 16th October 2019
Nutella Unites France
If there is anything that French families all put in their shopping trolley, it is Nutella.
Nutella was created by an Italian baker, Pietro Ferrero, during World War II when he came up with the spread because of a shortage of cocoa, so he supplemented the cocoa with hazelnuts and sugar. By 1964 it had gone through its second iteration and began to gain widespread appeal and now sells 365 million kilograms in over 160 countries. However, it is in France that the Ferrero family business sells the most—it is reported that France eats a quarter of all Nutella pots produced, often at the 4 p.m. “gouter,” which is a sweet snack to tide people over to dinner.
The French are very passionate about Nutella.
In January 2018, there were riots in French supermarket, Intermarché, when it reduced the price of Nutella by over 70%, meaning a 950g pot that normally costs €4,50 was only €1,41. Many people were hurt in the scuffles which took place around the country.
In January 2015, a French court ruled that a family could not legally name their daughter Nutella, after the brand. Since 1993, parents have been free to choose their baby’s name unless it is thought to not be in the best interests of the child. Her name was later changed to Ella.
Since May 27, 160 workers–of a 400-strong workforce–at the Nutella factory in northern France have been on strike demanding a pay increase of 4.5% and a bonus of €900. Management are trying to negotiate just a 0.4% raise, which has not gone down well and strikers are blockading lorries in and out of the plant. Since June 3, striking workers have been subjected to severe fines but so far the strike is still ongoing. It means that of the four production lines, only one is working and only at one-fifth capacity. This is very very bad news for the Nutella consuming French population.
Monday, 7th October 2019
Brittany to start using radar cars
Just a little warning for those travelling to Brittany this autumn
A total of 60 vehicles will be deployed in Brittany, Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire in the new year after the government deemed a year-long trial in Normandy a success.
Cars, which are operated by private companies, became operational in Normandy in April 2018. They recorded more than 12,000 speed violations in a year.
Plans for the vehicles were unveiled in February 2017. At the time, it was said they were intended to free up police and gendarmes. Drivers’ groups say that the extra fines revenue could be worth €2.2billion.
The private unmarked speed cars operate a least six hours a day, compared to the average of 1hr 15mins for police-driven vehicles. Officials deny motorists' associations claims that the increase in hours is intended solely to drive up revenue for the State.
Authorities have previously said that the speed control unit, camera and software in the privatised vehicles is automated and the driver will not be able to affect its operation. Nor are companies paid by the number of tickets that are issued.