This Breton town, 25 km east of Auray, is one of those with a delightful mediaeval centre of chaotic ( for the stranger ) streets crammed around the cathedral church and including gardens, ancient ramparts and a tiny stream. In the19th century, after the Revolution, the focus of town life shifted somewhat towards the Place de la République. It is near here that the more modern public buildings are to be found such as the impressive Hôtel de Ville. La Cohue (meaning hubbub) is the place to find arts and crafts on sale and upstairs is the art gallery.
From the U.K. Brittany Ferries offers a choice of routes to Brittany or you could travel across from ports further east. Alternately come by train via Paris or fly to Nantes, though the latter might not be a cheap option.
Being Brittany there is a fish market three times a week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) as well as a general market near the cathedral on Wednesdays and Saturdays,
Other activities – this list is almost endless, the town being as it is on the famous Gulf de Morbihan – boats and fishing, walks and swimming of course, but also its own microclimate which means different flora and fauna. The town is only minutes away from the Rhuys Peninsula with its many bays and inlets – I was once told there is a beach for every day of the year, which may or may not be an exaggeration, but gives you some idea of what the area has to offer. Don’t forget going inland either where you will find dozens of little towns each with its own charm. There are boat trips out to the various islands, though some are privately owned. For the lovers of tradition the Bretons provide plenty with lots of folkloric activities from concerts to country dancing. For even older history there are remains from the stone-age to be explored and wondered at.
Food and drink
Here is excellence. Some recipes are purely Breton and others incorporate other Northern ideas such as chicken in cider which comes originally from the Calvados region. The sea food is fresh – you can watch it being unloaded and you will be spoilt for choice as you will with great restaurants. Try oyster soup if you can and the famous buck wheat pancakes available everywhere. You can even go on what is described as a ‘Meal Cruise’ if you’ve got your sea legs.
Terroirs, Rue de la Fontaine, 5600Vannes, Tel no: 02 97 47 57 52
La Table de Jeanne, Rue de Poissonnerie, 56000 Vannes ,Tel no : 02 97 47 34 91
Talking of choices this is a great place to buy property whether just for holidays or as a permanent base. Going a few kilometres inland will mean a drop in prices, but just as much charm and good food and, as nowhere in Brittany are you far from the sea, there is little disadvantage. Sextant Property bi-lingual agents know the area well and can guide you towards properties that fit your budget, your expectations and your dreams. They can also open your eyes to facts that you might miss, whether this is a right of way going past, a boundary being bigger than you might think or the extreme soft water found in some parts of Brittany which needs treating – not that any of these would put me off. For me Brittany is one of the worlds top places – why not make it yours.