Pont Croix

Another charming little town that we explored during our Bretton adventure is Pont Croix.

We nearly don’t get to see the town itself as I get very over excited with this delightful collection of weathered painted signs outside a seemingly abandoned door.

But I am finally dragged away and we climb up an old cobbled lane towards the centre of the town.

But wherever we look there are gloriously painted doors, whether it’s local sardines or just vivid splashes of aqua blue.

Hot red geraniums tumble from doorways and old watering cans prove to be ideal planters.

Finally we reach the town centre however. It’s an attractive old town with houses dating back to the 15th century.

The Monastery Church of Notre-Dame de Roscudon,below, which dates from the early 13th century, has a 67 m high spire that served as the model for the spires of Quimper Cathedral.

The tall spire dominates the skyline of the town and the facade features impressive ‘lacework’ stone carvings.

While the inside has a decorative altarpiece and other figures and a painted ceiling.

As well as ornate wooden carvings there are a wonderful selection of stained glass windows.

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These beautiful, jewel bright, windows are illuminated with the pale Bretton sunshine creating a dizzying display.

Pont-Croix’s cobbled streets and medieval houses are located around a market and a church. The market is held every Thursday morning.

 

Another quirky feature of the town is a variety of amusingly altered street signs.

From hungry mice to voluptuous reclining women, a religious icon or a weather warning, someone has taken the time to inject a little added interest into the local street furniture.

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Concluding Concarneau

In my final look back at Concarneau I’ve collected together some snaps of the details that I spotted around this pretty little town.

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From painted wall plaques to delicately decaying shutters and unique shop signs.

Meanwhile the Next male models take a break from filming to take in the atmosphere . . . .

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Then the family ‘happily’ pose for a holiday portrait to capture the relaxing atmosphere . .

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Concarneau is known as a ‘Town of Art and History’ and is especially famous for its ‘Ville Close’, the oldest part of the town that was fortified in the 1300s and is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Here, you’ll find a collection of superb timbered and gabled houses surrounded by flowers, all jostling for space in pretty cobbled streets where you’ll also be able to browse in the local shops.

Step up onto the ramparts and you’ll be able to watch the still-active fishing port as well as the marina with its bobbing boats.

I adore these pastel blue shutters with their little heart shaped cut outs.

The views from the ramparts of Ville Close are pretty spectacular. From bobbing boats and verdant green lawns to palm trees and weathered old stone.

Finally we head back towards the car but en-route we encounter a little speciality food market.

Naturally this means that I have to stop and methodically catalogue various flavoured French sausages in boxes . . .

And creepy naked mannequins. And fishing nets.

Here’s a few more of the meaty products – saucisse a small sausage that requires cooking, and a saucisson – a larger cured, smoked or dried salami type sausage

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The Little Red Riding Hood bakery has an adorable fairy tale feel about it with these quaint shutters.

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To finish off our tour of Concarneau I spot this tiny little old couple standing guard amongst the olives.

 

 

 

 

Craving Concarneau

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Concarneau is France’s third most important fishing port with plenty to keep you occupied.

The Ville Close is without doubt Concarneau’s most popular tourist attraction. This old stone fortified ‘town’ has just a few narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants, where geraniums tumble from window boxes.

Concarneau has made its living from the fishing industry for hundreds of years and the town remains an important centre: more than 100,000 tonnes of tuna are caught each year by Concarneau-based boats

However, forget stinky fish, I have my eyes on something far more tasty and sweet!

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A confectionery shop has caught my eye and I am lured in by the colourful delights on display.

These delicately pastel hued meringues always intrigue me but I am still yet to sample one.

Close up they are even more delectable and sweet tooth inducing!!

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Even better is this chocolate king of the jungle. I am surprised the man can keep the mania from his eyes – he is a chocolate fiend!

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I enjoyed the quirky pieces on display at crazy shop Votre Boutique Design.

From huge British bulldogs to bright red perspex men, there’s something bound to catch your eye. Although I couldn’t fit anything in my suitcase!!!

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Find out more about their zany, colourful interiour designs on the website here.

From the uber modern to more old, vintage details. Concarneau is jammed pack full of them, more to follow!

 

 

A little more Quimper

Continuing our wander around Quimper we’re after food, drink and curios.

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Can’t beat some sugary churros and chocolate dip. So we must eat them until we are sick!

We also do a spot of making the streets safer by locking up some hardened criminals.

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Then it’s onwards to find some quirky details such as painted tiles and bookshop signs.

A few of the imprisoned criminals appear to have escaped and need rounding up!

Quimper became wealthy from the 17th century onwards due to the growth of the pottery making industry here.

You can find many examples of pottery from cheap and cheerful tourist buys to centuries old, uber expensive, examples.

Below are more of the quaint medieval half-timbered buildings that make Quimper such a delight to visit.

You can roam the back streets in search of colourful souvenirs or (in this case) beach mats!

Musical flutes are always a treat for people who have small children . . . . .

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A bit of political paste up – Labour Law? No!

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Below are more examples of the town’s past architecture. This cute little tower leans out over the water like something out of a Disney film.

The caffeine addicts need their fix and so drop into a tiny side street cafe for a refuel.

I leave them too it and head off to snaffle out some architectural features and old signs.

Of course, no holiday visit is complete without the obligatory market traipse. So we head to the main, covered market hall ‘Halles Saint-François’.

Opened in 1847 on the site of the former convent of Saint-François, it is the most famous market, located in the heart of Quimper.

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From juicy fruits, to nuts, radishes and more – I am in shiny, colourful, snap happy mode.

Salad, spices and herbs are all stacked high and ready to be added to a tasty Breton dish.

The market resembles the hull of a ship with its wooden framed roof.

Double trouble sneak off to sample some curry to round off a day of hectic sightseeing.

Quimper

The next stop on our tour of Brittany is the pretty town of Quimper.

Not only is Quimper the administrative capital of the Finistère department, it is also generally regarded as the cultural heart of Brittany.

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The town is known for its cathedral, atmospheric old quarter and museums but most of all for its annual festival celebrating Breton culture.

The atmospheric old town is where you’ll find many half-timbered houses dating from the 14th century. The streets are named after old job titles.

 

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Below are a gorgeous array of mouth wateringly colourful macaroons. I had to be physically dragged away . .

Quimper gets its name from the Breton ‘kemper’, which refers to the junction of two rivers: the Steir and the Odet.

Quimper’s most impressive building is its cathedral, which is said to be the best example of Gothic religious architecture in Brittany.

Building started in the 12th century and continued at intervals until the 19th century, when the two spires were constructed and new stained glass windows were installed.

The cathedral is named after St Corentin, Quimper’s first bishop – the Cathedral of Saint Corentin of Quimper.

The cathedral lightly bends in the middle to match the contours of its location which was done to avoid an area that was swampy at the time of its construction.

It was the site of a devastating fire in 1620 when the bell tower was burned and the populace apparently saw a green devil in the flames.

The cathedral is full of stunningly vivid stained glass windows. Each with their own story to tell.

The 15th century windows are exceptional with colours that remain rainbow bright despite the passage of the centuries.

The level of detail to be seen on the windows is incredible including these petite little faces and architectural elements.

 

Next up we make ourselves sick on Churros and explore more of Quimper’s quirky streets.

 

 

Stone piles, old and new

Our final few glimpses of Camaret are a little on the grey, drizzly side.

As it starts to really rain we pop into Notre Dame de Rocamadour, or the Church of the Fishermen.

This attractive little church is situated out on the breakwater and lost its steeple to an English canon ball in 1694 during a naval battle between French and Anglo-Dutch vessels.

Inside the charming little church are various sea based religious icons. There are also three models of boats hanging from the nave.

The light coloured stone of the church’s interior feels light and airy and candles flicker against the warm, swirling stonework that almost resembles marble.

One of the most iconic symbols of Camaret is the Tour Vauban (Vauban Tower), initially known as the tour de Camaret – a 18m-high polygonal defensive tower.

It has three levels and is flanked by walls, a guardhouse and a gun battery which can hold 11 cannons as well as a cannonball foundry added in the French Revolution period.

Close to the tower, visitors have created their own little stone towers on the pebbly waterside jetty – also know as the sillon.

These stone cairns are oddly soothing to look at on this cloudy, grey day.

Continuing in Camaret

We continue to cruise the streets of Camaret, keeping eyes peels for little details around each corner.

Including this fantastic mustard coloured door with delightful pastel detailing.

 

The man helpfully points out where we are as I am more than a little geographically challenged!

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Then we head towards the harbour, stopping every five seconds for me to obsess over little paintings and rusty anchors.

I am finally man handled to the harbour (the man loves his floaty boats).

But to my endless delight we are greeted with this majestic spectacle – a ship graveyard *squeal*

So here’s just a selection of peeling, beached, rotting boat hulks for your “enjoyment”

Checking out Camaret

Next up on the family whirlwind tour of Brittany is Camaret. But we can’t resist stopping off at yet another little cove first!

Then it’s back on the road and headed onto Camaret-Sur-Mer, a small port town.

Lovers of seafood will be in their element here, at the port there are two “viviers” (holding tanks for live crustaceans), where you can buy all manner of sea foodie delights such as lobster, langouste, various species of crab, and, if requested, they will even cook them for you.

Some fishermen sell their catch directly after docking at the quayside, that’s just about as fresh as it gets. Colourful murals portray the fishy delights well.

Apparently the name Camaret-sur-Mer comes from Breton “kamm” (curve) and “red” (current).

For several centuries, Camaret drew its prosperity from sardine fishing, which was abundant in its waters. It had a flotilla of several hundred boats which tracked the “blue fish” in the Sea of Iroise.

It was also once one of the largest langouste fishing ports in France but has developed over time into a centre for artists and writers.

Evidence of this creative streak can be found everywhere – on walls and in galleries.

You can also admire nature’s artistry with beautiful planters and hanging baskets. Here’s a few of my favourite semperviums.

Plus there are a multitude of delicious blue windows and doors to snap away at!

More pictures from Camaret to follow shortly 🙂

More magical markets

Carrying on my pictorial romp though markets that I have known and loved!

These are a throwback from a trip to Southern France way back in 2009. From flavoured salts to olives and figs, there’s a host of delicacies on offer.

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These snaps are from the bustling Cours Saleya market in Nice which is at the heart of the Old Town.

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Cours Saleya hosts four different markets. The most well known is the Marché aux Fleurs, or Flower Market, held Tuesday through Sunday.

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Expensive mushrooms nestle on a bed of greenery while pretty tins full of sweets tempt the younger market goers.

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These little marzipan delights come in all shapes and sizes. Bananas, tomatoes, cherries and ladybirds – which ones tickle your fancy?

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A rainbow of soaps are available in every colour and shade. From juicy cherry to tangy lime, they make your mouth water and your nose twitch.

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Get yours in peach, violet, mimosa and rose amongst others.

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And if you want less perfume and more spice then there’s a veritable cornucopia of seasonings to chose from.

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Let’s end on this rather peculiar vegetable. A giant orange courgette!

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