Text read by Monique and Bernard

We arrived in Perros-Guirec at around 3 pm and unpacked our suitcases in the charming “gite”, or Bed and Breakfast. We liked the stonework and the blue doors, which are typical for Brittany. The low building was a converted stable that was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century. It had a quiet, beautiful green garden. There was a small, round table in the courtyard where we could sit down. The host brought us some refreshments. Coffee, cidre, and a coke for Bernard. 

Monique liked the collection of ceramic pots and roses. It looked a little wild, not perfectly maintained, very natural, sitting on the steps. In this region, you can find many hollyhocksThey grow, along the walls, on the footpaths, everywhere. They mainly come in different colours, pink, blue, violet. Clarisse had tried to grow them at home in the Alsace, but the soil is not the same. It is too warm here. They do not have any scent. 

The next day, we went to the Tourist Information office to ask about hiring bicycles and what we must explore in the area. The Tourist Information office rented 3 electric bikes to us for three days. We were given maps of the local area and planned our itinerary. We also went to the shops nearby to organise our picnic lunch. Baguette, Camembert, Saucisson, Cornichons and some chocolates for dessert.

What is a saucisson? It is a short, dried sausage, usually made from pork, turkey, wild boar, donkey or duck meat. It is made with different ingredients, olives, pepper, nuts, Herbes de Provence, thyme, rosemary, garlic, chestnuts and many other ingredients. It is often said that the best saucisson comes from Corsica.  

Clarisse said to Monique & Bernard, that she often freezes saucisson for 3 months. She wraps in aluminium foil to keep it fresh. Alternatively, you can wrap it in a cotton dishcloth and store it in a well-ventilated cellar. But you have to resist the temptation to eat the whole saucisson very quickly it is so delicious. It is often served with the Apéro and is very tasty. The combination of saucisson and an apéro is perfect.

A cornichon is a small gherkin with extremely fine needles. You can harvest the cornichons small or a little bigger. However, the smaller the cornichon, the crunchier it is. A perfect cornichon is one that makes a noise in your ears when you eat it. The taste of a cornichon depends on the vinegar it is marinated in. There is sweet vinegar. Then there is white vinegar which is stronger and more acidic. Often, a little sugar, bay leaf, mustard seeds, pepper, a little salt, juniper berries and onion pieces are added to round off the taste.

Many hobby gardeners, like Bernard, grow cornichons to conserve them in jars. We harvested the cornichons, then we washed and brushed them to remove the needles. After that you put them in special preserving jars. You boil the vinegar, some water and the other ingredients separately and pour into the jar. Then you put the jars in a preserving pot and heat at 80° or 90°C for about 60 minutes. They are ready for eating during the winter. 

We also bought some water and, a bottle of beer for the apéro and a bottle of red wine for lunch. Clarisse asked me if I had my pocketknife with me. I said it was in the car. Clarisse wanted me to confirm my pocketknife also had a corkscrew to open the bottle of wine. Everything was stored in the saddlebags, and off we went. 

We started by discovering the coast and the famous pink granite rocks. We could see the remains of an old building, perhaps a lighthouse, an old prison or perhaps, an old bridge. Monique liked the pink colours of rocks contrasting with the blue water. It was very relaxing. She waded into the water up to her ankles. The water was a little cold, but it would help make the feet feel warm. A feeling of Zen enveloped her, and her head emptied of all thoughts. 

Clarisse noticed another building on the opposite shore. She looked at the map to see how to get to the castle. Was it possible to get there with the E-bikes? The question was if it is inhabited, private property or could we visit this castle? In Brittany, as in all of France, all beaches are public spaces. Everybody has the right to go to the beach and enjoy the possibilities, the views. 

The castle was surrounded by tall trees. The building is raised a little from the seabed and offers a wonderful view of the area. But Bernard had itchy feet. He wanted to continue exploring the area. 

In the afternoon, we went to Trestraou Beach and had a picnic. When we arrived at the picnic spot, Clarisse asked Bernard, “Where is the rucksack with the food?”

“Oh no,” I groaned  “I left it in the saddles bags by the bicycles.” 

“Typical man”, was her reply. 

But then, Bernard produced the rucksack (he had hidden it behind a big rock) and said to the two ladies, with a big grin, “Ah, it was just a joke.” 

He handed the rucksack to the ladies and asked Clarisse,

“Do you have the corkscrew?”

Clarisse replied, rolling her eyes, and looking very exasperated. But she saw the smile on Bernard’s face. It was high time to eat and to drink something.  

After lunch, we parked the bicycles to walk along the beach on the seaside promenade. We admired the houses on the coast, amongst the rocks. Clarisse imagined what it would be like to have a second house near here, to spend some good times. 
Monique wondered if there were any boat trips available for 1 or 2 hours. It is possible to organise such a trip and do this later in the day because, in Brittany, the days are longer than in other parts of France.

In the Tourist Information, we were told that there are hotels which offer thalassotherapy. Walking along the beach, we saw a hotel which caught our attention. We went to the hotel reception to find out about their offers. 

It is a modern building overlooking the beach. The receptionist showed us the spa area. 

“Oh, this is for me. A swimming pool and sun lounges to relax on.” I said 

The whirlpool was definitely a hit. 

Clarisse booked a well-being programme with a sauna, followed by beauty therapy. 

I opted for a beauty therapy and a massage. 

When we also saw the menu displayed at the restaurant, we decided to spend our final evening in the town in this restaurant. The menu was:

Menu Macareux – 58 €
Tarte gourmande aux champignons et truffes d’automne
Lieu jaune cuit nacré
Financier Mojito

Accord Mets & Vins – 27€
Menu Côte de Granit Rose – 68 €

Tarte gourmande aux champignons ou Foie gras de canard
Lieu jaune cuit juste nacré
Pigeon du Mené Bré rôti
Fine coque meringuée aux fruits rouges ou Financier mojito

Accord Mets & Vins – 38€  
Menu Macareux 58€  

Quiche with mushrooms and autumn truffles. Pearly pollack Pre dessert
Mojito Financier
Bernard asked, what a mojito financier is. It is a small muffin-like pastry, infused with mojito.

Food & Wine pairing 27€
(The restaurant brings the right wine with the different courses.)            

Menu Côte de Granit Rose – 68€  
Mushroom quiche or foie gras (duck)
Duck liver paté
pearly Pollack
Mené Bré roasted pigeon.
Pre dessert
Thin meringue shell with red fruits or
Mojito Financier  

Food & Wine pairing – 38€

All chose the first menu but shared a bottle of white wine from the wine menu. Again, after the delicious meal, 3 espressos were very much needed.

The ladies also chose a digestif, a Calvados. Bernard, “pauvre Bernard”, had to miss the digestive because he was the “designated driver”.

Before we left the next morning, we went on a boat trip. It lasted 2 ½ hours and was good value for money at €22.50 per person. The boat, recommended by the Tourist Information, took us to the Archipelago of the Seven Islands. The whole area is a protected nature reserve.

The boat moored close to the Ile aux Moines. We disembarked and walked around the small island. It was very loud because we heard many seagulls. We walked to the top to the lighthouse, and it rewarded us with this view. We also looked at the small fort before it was time to return and continue on to our next destination Pontivy – Lorient.

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