March 14, 2009

Europe In 30 Days - St. Malo and Cancale France - Part 1

What an amazing home exchange experience this has been, 5 days in Provence! The location of this exchange was, I think, the best possible advantage to see so much of Provence. We never traveled more than 30 miles in one direction and we were able to spend time in eight different towns, not to mention the ones we drove through or past. And all of this for the cost of only some vehicle fuel and our meals that we either had at a restaurant or prepared at home ourselves.

After we finish cleaning everything up and put clean linens on the bed we say good-bye to Venterol and head out for our next adventure in France.

A little background story I think you must know before I go on though. This past October while on a home exchange in Indian Rocks Beach Florida, Stijn presented me with a certificate for my birthday that he had hand written himself. It was redeemable for a 2 night stay in the Normandy region of France. So, it is now January 15th and we are on our way!

We actually spend our first two nights in the Brittany region and it is just starting to drizzle a little bit as we arrive in St Malo this evening. We are staying at the Ibis Hotel which happens to be in what I think is the best possible location. We are on the 2nd floor and our room has a view of the ocean!
Now you know I'm a happy girl! After we settle in, we walk next door to Chez Jean-Pierre, a pizzeria, and we order ourselves up a pizza before calling it a day.

We wake up this morning to the sound of the waves crashing against the seawall just outside our window. This coast line has one of the most dramatic differences between high and low tide, as much as 30 feet or more. We have some breakfast in the hotel restaurant while watching the water come up over the seawall during high tide.

We are happy to learn that we are within walking distance of the walled medieval city of St Malo and we head that way making sure not to get wet from the waves. On the way we can see Fort National sitting out on an island just past the fortified city of St Malo.

We enter the city through Port St Vincent, built in 1709. Now you must know something, to visit this magnificent site is absolutely FREE! After we enter we notice that there is a stairway that leads up to the rampart walk, from which we have some wonderful views of the city. I thought how cool is this that we are walking along the wall that encloses this fortification. About halfway we decide to come down and walk out to a point where a lighthouse sits. From here the view looking back at St Malo is magnificent! After taking some pictures we head back up to the rampart walk and finish our "loop".

Well it's time for a bite to eat and something warm to drink. We find Cafe Licorne situated where we started our day, in front of Port St Vincent and most importantly has an outdoor heated terrace. Bet you can guess what I had to drink to warm me up. That's right, an Irish Coffee. After taking a look at the menu I am set on having the Buckwheat crepe. It wasn't what I was quite expecting, but definitely a nice surprise. It was very large and a bit on the crunchy side and had a thick sweet sauce settled in the middle.

After we finished our little warm up we now decide to take a walk through the actual streets of St Malo. Now it is evident that current times have given way to tourism. These ancient tiny cobbled streets are full of pubs, cafes and some fascinating shops along with some more well known retail stores.

As we are walking back to our hotel we can see now how far the tide has gone out. It was amazing to see such a calmness now when only a few hours early the waves were so violent. Back at the hotel we get in the car and take a drive over to Cancale.

Come back soon to read about how we ended our day in the Brittany region of France.

If you would like to see pictures of our day in St Malo, please visit Where's Debbie and click on the album "On our way to St Malo" and "St Malo"

1 comment:

  1. This is fabulous, Debbie. I can't believe no one has commented. I am going to pin my husband down to sitting with me this afternoon to try to get a room at the Ibis in St. Malo at the end of next month.
    I have problems with my feet, so I can't walk very far or very fast, but if Mont St. Michel can be seen from St. Malo, then I'd be happy to get photos with a zoom lens and not have to walk all the way out the causeway.
    I'm SO happy you found my blog via Hootin' Anni (she is a hoot, isn't she?) so I could find yours.
    I see you had a home stay in Provence. We have a week in a condo in Perpignan (lots of beaches nearby) and there are trains from there to almost everywhere.
    Back to perusing your blog now!
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel


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