A Visit to Brittany:
Once again, I am looking in my Paris diary and see that on this day I called my friend Benedict. She came from France to Canada many years ago to live and work, and now she and her mother own two houses on the coast of Brittany. Before I left Ottawa she said to come out for a visit if I got tired of Paris. So today, sitting in a sweltering hot apartment, I decided to do just that. Time to escape this heat and humidity!
Called Benedict this morning in Brittany and she said it was OK to come out today if I wanted to. I called the Gare Montparnasse and reserved a seat on the TGV to St. Brieuc tonight at 6:10. I went to Place des Voges to eat lunch and get out of the heat...well, at least sit in the shade of some lovely old trees, and watch the goings on. Being on the grounds of that beautiful, historic park was always a treat!
At 4pm I caught the #96 bus at Place de Ville for the the train station...arriving around 4:30.
After a short time, I bought my ticket, and studied the schedule posted on the board. It said that this was the route from Paris to Brest with short stops in Rennes and St. Brieuc. I entered the ultramodern, air conditioned TGV car at 6:10, slumped back into the super comfy seat and briefly closed my eyes. This felt so good...no humidity...ahhhh!
The streamlined train pulled out of Gare Montparnasse slowly, and rolled through the quieter suburbs of Paris, heading towards the Atlantic coast. In a short time we had accelerated to about 200 km per hour and were speeding through the picturesque French country side. It was such a relief to feel cool, and to see open fields where cattle and sheep were peacefully grazing. What a different world this was compared to the hustle and bustle of steamy Paris.
I slept for a brief time, and honestly think it was the first time I “really slept” since leaving Canada on July 16th. The train seemed to glide on air rather than to be rolling on tracks...the ride was so smooth and quiet...like flying! It was fantastic, and it seemed like no time at all that we were arriving in Rennes. After a brief stop, we were once again zipping along on our way to St. Brieuc, and we arrived at 9:20...a little bit late, but I didn't mind.
I got off the train and there were Benedict and her two little nephews to meet me. It was so cool and pleasant...what a change of climate! I put my bag into the back of the blue Citroen and away we went towards the Brittany coast. We talked as we drove, and passed through several small villages before turning down a narrow dirt road with a sign at the end saying “Pors Gwen”.
Benedict said that they had built both houses in the old Bretton style to be in keeping with the other architecture near by. “They are magnificent houses,” I said, “you must love it here.” “We do,”
said Benedict,”and we always come here as much as we can....a place to all be together.”
We parked the car and went inside where I met her lovely mother, sister Claire, and her three small children who were very cute. “Bring your bag, and I'll show you your room,” said Benedict, “You must be tired, and we can talk more tomorrow.” I followed her to a wonderful bedroom that had a large, open window facing out towards the sea. It was getting dark, but I could still see the small islands that dotted the bay, and little flickers of light from the houses scattered here and there. Sail boats sat at anchor near the islands, and sea gulls dotted the pink, evening sky. It was indeed a beautiful sight...a coastal paradise!
I put out the light, slipped between the cool, cotton ,sheets on my bed, thought about all the wonderful things I would see in the morning, and was sound asleep in no time.
Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
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Blair T. Paul