30 August: Heading to the coast for more medieval action

Author: Mrs A

Location: Concarneau, Brittany, France

Having dipped our toe into 7,000 year old history it was time to return to the mere 900 year old historical towns that are more accessible in these parts. Our first stop was Concarneau, a fishing town on the coast. Tuna and sardines are the main business here, and it is France’s third most important fishing port, along with tourism, of course. To some extent it reminded me of my hometown of Hastings in the UK, the smell of fish, salty air and seaweed coupled with the sweetness of ice creams.

We arrived as the Friday morning market was closing up. We were sad to have missed it – it looked to have been huge and pretty good. We managed to buy a couple of things from stall holders before they finished completely and then crossed the bridge into town.

A beautiful glistening harbour
The walled city reflecting in the waters

Concarneau is very pretty, particularly when the sun is shining, and the old town almost entirely dedicated to tourism. It has been a while since we have seen rows of souvenirs for sale, gift boxed tuna and sardines, butter biscuits and toffee from Brittany, blue and white painted pottery (probably mass produced in China). In between these shops there were a few nice stores selling more authentic produce, and strangely an amazing smelling spice and tea store. We also found the crowds of people who have been missing from our past few weeks…well, they felt like crowds to us, but apparently French schools go back on Monday so visitor numbers are actually down on the past few weeks!

And here are the people!

It wasn’t too hard to escape the crowds, however, stepping a few metres off the main street and up onto the walls. These have been well preserved, and offer fabulous views around the working harbour. Outside of the old city, it feels like an authentic working town. There’s a long distance coastal walk that starts here too, for those with more time.

Looking back at the town
The coast guard heading off on a mission

We had a walk around town, made a few purchases as gifts for friends back in the UK (look out for your white and blue china, folks – ha ha!) before heading off .

The old gates have been preserved
I wonder how many people have sat on this wall over the centuries

We selected another France Passion site for the night, this time just half an hour inland from Concarneau on a peaceful farm. We were greeted by three teenagers in their halting English, keen to show us where to park and give us a tasting of their grandparents’ cider home brew.

Of course we purchased a couple of bottles, it would be rude not to!

Truffy’s home for the night – a 400 year old farm selling cider and apple juice

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