De Bretagne en Normandie!

My correspondent’s family took me to their vacation house in Porspoder. The town was beautiful beyond my ability to describe it. The idyllic image of the sporadic gabled houses surrounding the cluster of sailboats at anchor carried an air of simple sophistication and tranquility. Many of the buildings were vacant. A very popular spot for summer residences, the town felt significantly smaller on a slow weekend like this. There were few people about the stores and restaurants, giving the town a sleepy peace. This was aided by the weather which, though grey, only aided the appeal of the town as a whole. And the view over the ocean was not to be missed. A large island on the horizon and the intimidating surf served as a backdrop to the harbor, which emptied and filled daily with the tide. At times the boats could be seen standing on the mud. Some comfortably on rounded bottoms and others propped precariously on their keel. A few fell at worrisome angles, their sails more towards the shore than the sky. And we were able to enjoy this view from the deck of a coffee shop at the center of the main road which ran along the water. The surrounding land was also beautiful. We enjoyed two walks around the fields on the coast and the presqu’île, which offered not only beautiful views but also simple yet enthralling landscapes and no shortage of bracing winds. At the end of my stay I was sad to leave, but I was grateful for the opportunity to get acquainted with the town.

Olivier

Saturday morning I had slept in till 12. Loan had woken me up and told me we would leave in about an hour to go do laser tag. As we drove through the pastures and landscape, we finally got to brest and waited for our other friends to come. We waited for about 30 min, then got inside the laser tag building. We started to play immediately and we were all surprised to see the black light show how dirty our clothes were. The game was very intense and competitive. Everybody running all over the place, shooting everything the could see. We played for about 20 min and the game ended. I ended up getting first place while Benjie second. After this we went shopping. Everybody ended up buying at least one item. Then we split up for a bit, went to get some food, and met up again for dinner. It was really a fun night being with all of our correspondants and our fellow urban people and it was such a great weekend.

Sam

This past weekend my host family took the three hour drive down to Nantes. This city is located next to the Loire River in the Upper Brittany region of western France, and it has a long history as a port and industrial center. We arrived on Saturday morning and immediately started visiting the attractions within the city center.
We first walked to an old shopping center known as Le Passage Pommeraye. In this building, Tifenn (my correspondent) and I were immediately struck by the immaculate hallway which was built in the 1840’s and lay before us in perfect condition. As we entered, we gazed at the vast collection of shops and boutiques which lined either side of the main corridor. We only stayed for around 15 mins, but the whole experience prepared me for the beauty of Nantes which I would see during the remainder of the weekend.
Next we went to Basilique Saint-Nicolas, an incredibly large and intricately designed cathedral. We spent around an hour in this location to try and appreciate the many statues and art pieces within the cathedral, yet I still think we could have spent more time gazing at the massive building.
On Sunday morning, Tifenn’s mom took us to two markets. The first was a small outdoor market which contained a handful of tents and showcased pastries, cheese, and wine. Here, I bought a bag of classic French cookies – called canelé – which made my (already full) stomach feel as though it was about to explode. Next, we went to an indoor market which had EVERYTHING. Our jaws dropped as we saw booths displaying everything from rotisserie chickens with their heads still attached (to show the freshness) to steaming hot Vietnamese dumplings to fresh oysters and clams. Damn.
During the majority of the day on Sunday Tifenn and I then spent 4 hours at the Art Museum of Nantes looking at the floor length paintings and detailed stone carvings. (By the end of this visit we were both ready to scarf down a Kouignamann and take a nap!)
The last stop we took was at the Jardin des plantes de Nantes. I did not know that they were taking me to this park, and once we walked through the gate my I was immediately hit by a wave of sweet smelling flowers and hungry goats (it was a very nice way to end the trip).
– Dillon Case

This morning we said goodbye to our host families in Brest and headed to Mont Saint-Michel. After a two and a half hour drive we arrived in Normandy. The abbey is on an island which overlooks the ocean. The street which leads up to the abbey is lined with cute little shops filled with lots of souvenirs and restaurants where we ate delicious crepes. We took a tour of the abbey, and walked up many flights of stairs. I was surprised by how large the abbey was— we walked through so many rooms! The views from the top of the abbey were magnificent. We then had some time to walk around the island. We bought some souvenirs and spent the afternoon exploring the hidden alleyways behind the main street.

We checked in to our hotel and ate dinner in a restaurant nearby. For dinner, we had “Mère Poulard” omelettes, a specialty to Mont Saint-Michel. So far, our visit to Normandy has been spectacular and visiting Mont Saint-Michel has been truly special.

Julia