Bonjour Savouring Life in Brittany France 

160520 4 Andrew enjoying being back in France

Our first Port of call in France was St Malo arriving on Thursday 19th May. Once through the lock with the help of the very friendly line handlers we were directed by Louis our harbourmaster to a hammerhead in the newly extended marina. The view from our cockpit was of the Grand Porte entrance to the historic walled city of St Malo. To celebrate our arrival we thought it only correct that we embrace the view with a meal of cheese, cured meats and of course French red wine. 

160521 2 Streets of St Malo160525 2 Mont-St-Michel

The old city of St Malo is completely surrounded by ramparts. Established in the 6th century by a Welsh Monk who came to spread the message of Christianity it grew from the 16th century into a prosperous sea port. In 1944 it was heavily bombed with the debate as to who was responsible - Americans and British or the Germans for its devastation still in historical question. The town was rebuilt as it had been before the bombings and today is a major tourist attraction with hotels and restaurants on every corner. We spent almost three weeks in the harbour of St Malo and walked nearly every cobblestoned street within the walls. It took a couple of trials before we found the best Boulongerie from which to buy our daily Batard but definitely the find of the township was the store Vent de Voyage. This boutique workshop did what is becoming  more common transforming sails into luggage and bags. For us they made new cushions for our cockpit a perfect practical souvenir of St Malo. 

160525 10 Mont-St-Michel Abbey

St Malo is for many and was for us the place from where to visit Mont Saint Michel. We were able to catch a local bus that dropped us off at the massive carpark area. Given the space that is allocated for parking I definitely would not want to visit in high season. Mont Saint Michel itself is simply breathtaking. From the moment you walk down the long causeway you have to be in awe of such a grand construction that stands on an island with origins dating back to 708. The Romanesque Abbey founded on Mont Saint Michel rock towers over the island and dates back to the 11th Century. We did an audio tour through the Abbey covering some twenty rooms, but the sheer size of the building left you feeling disorientated as to what level you were on or even which way you were facing in relation to the island. A lot of work has been and is continuing to be carried out to return Mont St Michel to an island once more. Siltation over the years had become a huge problem. A mitigation system has been installed, the causeway changed all in an effort to ensure that the water from tidal flows is managed to ensure the reduction of siltation. 

160605 1 Cycling Sign160521 Fort Nationale 17th Century Fortress accessible only on low tide 160528 4 Tom Maxwell Oulten Park F3

Our bikes have surfaced from the garage for the first time this season and we have enjoyed rides along the waterfront of Saint Servan and Rotheneuf. Our French is slowly improving and we are now very aware that signs such as these are enforced as we had confirmed by a very friendly Police Officer - no riding along  beautiful esplanades between 1pm and 6pm. On low tide we crossed the causeway from St Malo to visit Fort Nationale built in 1689 as part of a strategic reinforcement plan for St Malo by Louis XIV. The house within the fort is like many of the buildings in St Malo a replica rebuilt to the plans of what was there prior to the bombings of 1944. Fort Nationale gave some beautiful views across the stretches of white sand to Le Sillion and the ramparts of St Malo. 

One of the key reasons for staying in St Malo was the security of the Port whilst we flew back to England to be sideline supporters for Thomas Maxwell. Toms from our home town of Darwin and at 17 years of age is chasing his dream of becoming a formula 1 Race car driver. This is his first year racing Formula 3 a big jump from Karts but he has taken to the challenge securing a position with  Sean Walkinshaw Racing to drive in the 2016 British Formula 3 Championship. He is currently sitting in 9th in the championships. His parents are doing everything they can to give Tom this opportunity so when they are unable to fly from Australia we hope to be trackside to fly the Aussie flag in support. If any one out there is looking to put there name to sponsor an up and coming racer we would certainly suggest you contact Tom. You can check out Tom’s progress

Tuesday 7th June saw the arrival of Jim and Cathy Blackwell from Texas and we look forward to spending the next week or so in their company exploring a little more of Brittany. 

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© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain