I am owing you the second part of our trips around Bretagne. It's a bit different from places to see in Bretagne, since I will also introduce you to some places you don't really have to see when you come here. So let me start by telling you the story how Merlin gave us the run-around ...
The quest for Merlins tombAdmittedly, I was super excited for this trip. Ever since I've started reading and exploring the land of sagas and myths, I've been fascinated by the stories about King Arthur, Merlin and the lady of the lake. I even took part in a forum/community-based role play (do things like this still exist?) on the King Arthur legend.
Thus you can probably imagine how excited I was when my aunt told me that the castle where the legend originated was only an hour drive away from Rennes. Little did we know that magical places are hard to be found. I am pretty sure that Merlin put a spell on his tomb and the castle. Since the navigation system didn’t know the exact address of the castle we chose to simply go to the city center and follow signs from there on.
Everything went downhill from the first sign for Merlins tomb. Our mourning consisted of a completely clueless, muddy walk around a lake, which definitely wasn’t the one the lady of the lake lived in, a 2-hour loop following signs and directions until a French farmer got a heart and took us to the tomb himself. It was slightly disappointing, truth be told, and so was the fountain of youth. Plus this one handed us another miracle – small stone-towers all around the place.
If you expect something greater from the castle itself, let me tell you, it’s not a lot easier to find and … it’s closed on Monday’s. To mark the epic failure of this trip we drove right into a downpour. After a toilet break in a small town (it took us half an hour to find an open bar/cafe) we consulted the tourist guide for where to go instead and here we come to a trip I would recommend you to take:
The city of Dinan
Dinan is a small breizh city with a nice medieval historical center and a few tourists shop, which my mom and aunt used to buy some presents to bring home. Since I have 2 months left to buy my souvenirs, I just bought some breizh candies for myself. Whenever you are in Bretagne I recommend to try some salted caramel nougat. Oh and you should visit the Le Café Noir due to the loveliest puppy in Bretagne – share your croissant and you’ll have his heart forever. After some walking and shopping we went back to Rennes for our dinner reservation.
Eating out in Rennes
One of the first things I noticed about Rennes is that people are really friendly and always try to help you out with anything you need. When I needed to get my highlights refreshed and asked a French girl in my class where I could find an affordable hairdresser she asked around and told me exactly where to go two hours later. And when I asked a friend where to take aunt, mom and Jay for dinner he also consulted some friends and offered me a range of recommended restaurants to choose from. What I didn’t think about is that most restaurants are closed here on Monday’s (same goes for Germany by yhe way), so I needed to find another option on trip advisor and I am happy that I did, since Le Galopin was an awesome choice. Classic French cuisine, affordable prices and a nice location. My favorite part of the meal was definitely the scallop saffron creme I had as a starter – I used some baguette to get all of the remaining sauce out of the bowl, that is how good it was!
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The next evening we tried one of the recommendations my friend gave us: La Table Vasselot. It had more of an modern twist towards French cuisine and though we liked the idea behind the dishes, the taste itself just wasn’t as good. I really enjoyed the fried frog legs, but didn’t like the pasta-risotto, which was some kind of mac’n’cheese. The fish on top was nice. The rubixcube dessert looked great, but the components weren’t that great. Dry brownie, way too liquid chocolate sauce (more like cold chocolate milk) and a not too bad chocolate ice cream. We spent nearly as much money as the day before, but didn’t feel like the food was worth it.
Lastly a culinary experience you shouldn’t miss out on in Bretagne: le crepe. The savory variation of this dish made with buckwheat flour is quite typical for this region of France. I really like the Creperie Saint Anne in the city center. It looks quite small from the outside, but the three floors fit a lot of people and are always crowded around lunch time. I tried crepes with chicken and ratatouille, salmon and lemon and smoked duck and potatoes on salad so far and the last one was my favorite.
That was part two of our Bretagne adventures. I’ll be back with a Paris recap soon. A bientot!