We did a lot of driving to different historical or artistic towns in Brittany, but my favourite was the very first one we visited. Rochefort-en-Terre was an utter delight from the moment I stepped across the floral threshold. The town is absolutely awash with flowers, especially the hydrangeas which seem so beloved of the region. It was fragrant and rich, and bees and butterflies cascaded amongst the leaves. It’s not a huge town, with a main central street with many shops selling artisan products, as well as plenty of side roads to explore. It has a castle and cathedral, the former which was closed and the latter I only looked at from the outside. The architecture is beautiful, colourful and full of tiny details to spot. The houses themselves, as well as the town’s flowerbeds, were dripping with flowers and plants. There were a lot of tourists there but despite everything I would simply describe it as a beautiful place to go, rather than the tourist attraction that it is.
We stopped for lunch at one of the many crêperies, yet another joy. We started with a galette each, myself a Normandaise with goat’s cheese, apples, walnuts and honey; Chris a more savoury Forestière with emmental, mushrooms, bacon.
We sat in a shady terrace. Dessert was shared – more feasting – a crêpe with crème Chantilly, ice cream, almonds, and caramel made with Breton salt.
Next to this slightly bizarre shop selling nothing but fire bellows was a shop selling straw baskets. I spotted a selection of straw hats at the back of the shop, and so began the first of my encounters with chapelleries in Brittany. I seemed to start a trend: the moment a hat touched my head, swarms of women began entering the shop and making their way to the hat section. Soon, it was heaving! I had to leave.
What a beautiful place, quite unlike anywhere I have been to before. I could have happily gone there every day just to sit and smell the flowers.