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Thread: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    I'm thinking about a trip to Brittany, France (Bretagne in French) in April or May. Is anyone here familiar with it?

    Lisa

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Hi Lisa

    Yes I know Southern Brittany rather better than Nothern Brittany. The Golfe du Morbihan area to be specific. It is very beautiful and photogenic whether you stay on either the coast or even better if you explore the actual coastline of the Golfe (gulf) which is an inland sea with islands.

    Slightly further North is the lovely River Odet running from Benodet to Quimper and is tidal. It runs through a stunning Gorge.

    The food of course is wonderful especially if you like Fruits de Mer especially oysters (les huits)! You are never far from some very interesting old towns and cities and the WW2 Submarine pens are always worth a visit just a little further south at St. Nazaire.

    Summer weather (July, August and September) is usually very good sometimes a little cloudy in the mornings but clearing up to very sunny skies in the afternooons. However as always, France shuts down during August and everyone goes on holiday which is when Bretagne gets very crowded!

    I hope that this helps.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Thanks, Dave. I'm actually just about finished planning the trip now, for mid-April (before tourist season hits). We're starting at Mont-St.-Michel and making our way around the coast by car, ending up at the Golfe du Morbihan. Do you have any specific suggestions of photogenic places I shouldn't miss? I'm particularly interested in interesting old towns (since I'm from a part of the world where virtually everything is 20th century) and megaliths (and I already know a little about all the ones around Carnac & Locmariaquer). I'm less interested in rugged coastline, since I live in a part of the world with plenty of it.

    I hadn't heard about the Odet gorge. I'll look into it!

    Thanks,
    Lisa

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Hi Lisa

    Try Quimper which is an old lace making town, Lorient, Douarnenez and Concarneau if you like sea port cities, Vannes (city of many artists) nearer to Golfe du Morbihan and you will drive through many old small villages always worth a stop and walk around with a camera. The light is particularly good around the Golfe area which is why it attracts so many artists........and photographers!

    Your timing is good but might be a bit wet in the mornings, but I will ask my very good ex-sailing friend Gilles who lives near Sarzeau on the Iles du Morbihan which is also a small town but very photogenic especially on market day.

    Market days in Southern Brittany are special as you are expected to taste before you buy. By hopping from stall to stall you can have your fill of fresh oysters, cheeses, fruits and the fish stalls are worth a photograph or two on their own especially if you manage to capture the owners as well. But be sure to buy at one of them!

    Legislation about street photography is supposed to be even stronger in France than in England, but in fact I have never had a problem, often shooting in full view of gendarmes. Gilles tells me that it is very simple in France........no one takes any notice of laws in France, but if you happen to disobey a gendarmes warning wag of his finger.......they will throw the book at you!

    A wonderful relaxed attitude to life and of course Brittany prides itself on being Bretagne and not really France! Just as Cornwall is not really England either, in the eyes of the Cornish people! the Bretagne and Cornish people share their ancestry.........neither being tainted with Saxon, Angle or Norman blood! Now that is going back a bit!

    Enjoy!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Hi Dave -

    Thanks very much for your suggestions! Are market days always the same day of the week everywhere, or different days in different towns? How would I go about finding one?

    And we'll be ready for a bit of rain or other damp weather. We don't mind it, really, as we have waterproof jackets and pants, and it keeps the tourist crowds down. :-)

    Lisa

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa View Post
    Mont-St.-Michel and making our way around the coast by car, ending up at the Golfe du Morbihan. Thanks,
    Lisa
    Lisa:

    My wife and I were there a few years back. We stayed in a hotel right on the Mount. We rented a car and there were quite a few photgenic spots on along the way.

    If you get up early in the morning you can catch the good light and the shepards moving their flocks out to graze. The sunset is pretty good too.


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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Mmmmm, pretty shot! We'll be staying overnight one night on the Mont too, so perhaps I'll wander out early too to look for good shots.

    Lisa

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    BTW, how do you start a trip at Mont St Michel? When we went, we started at the CDG airport with a rental car.

    All my photos are on film and not scanned, otherwise I would share a few more shots. I will pull the binder of slides and see if I can remember some of the scenic spots.

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    I took a few minutes to go through some slides. Here are a couple from Mont St-Michel.

    We stayed in the Hotel Mouton Blanc. Speaking of Sheep, if you like lamb, you will find the best in the world served at the restaurants in Mont St-Michel. The theory is the diet of the saltwater marshes adds to the flavour of the meat. This is the view out of our hotel room. You park out at the causeway and walk into the hotel, so only bring what you need. They are also very small rooms.



    Madame Poullards is famous for a large fluffy omlette cooked over an open fire. We ate there and it was delicious.



    Honfleur is a small port town that you may visit. It is very photogenic at sunrise. The food at the restaurants was very good too.



    I will post a few more images later this evening.
    Last edited by robsteve; 18th February 2008 at 13:39.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    How we "start" at Mont-st.-Michel? Actually, we're arriving by ferry at St. Malo and renting a car there, then heading east for MSM before turning back west to Brittany for the rest of the trip. We've had some dreadful experiences at CDG airport in the past, so we're avoiding it and flying into Heathrow (London) instead (especially since our local airport has nonstop flights to Heathrow, but not to CDG). It's also good excuse for seeing Portsmouth (England) on the way, which is something I've been wanting to do, and the overnight ferry to St. Malo leaves from Portsmouth. It all works out tidy, and avoids CDG.

    We're staying elsewhere at MSM, at the Auberge Saint-Pierre. I had read about the omelette place you mention, but it sounded quite expensive - is it good enough to be worth it? (I do enjoy a good omelette!) BTW, that's an excellent photo you have of the omelette-maker!

    Lisa

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    It has been about seven years since we were there and the Omlettes didn't seem all that expensive considering the size of them and what they came with. They were more of a full meal than just an omlette. It might have been under $20 each and you were in a very nice restaurant. About $14 comes to mind.

    One of the tours we took on the way from Paris was the Rout of the Abbaye's. Photographically it wasn't all that great because the Abbey was often just a church in the middle of a town and not that photogenic or open to the public.

    The picture below was the one of the only photogenic Churches on that route. It was the Abbaye de Jumieges. It had a musuem and large gounds and parkland around it. It was actually just ruins, but nice to vist.


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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Lisa

    Sorry for the late reply but my friend who lives at Arzon has only just replied to me about the weather in Brittany during April. The spring weather there is very unpredictable, it can be quite hot one day and cold the next. He has seen people on the beach one year and another when it's snowing! Sorry not much help I know, but either will produce great pictures! Take clothes for either scenario!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Thanks very much, Dave, for the weather warning. I'll be sure to take clothes for all conditions. (I do a lot of hiking, so I'm well experienced with preparing for widely varying weather, and own plenty of waterproof clothing!)

    Lisa

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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Lisa:

    Did you make it to Brittany yet?


    Robert

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Yes, I'm home now and just barely over the jet lag. :sleep006:

    It was a pretty good trip, not one of the best, but pretty good. The vast numbers of megaliths littering the landscape are incredible (and great subjects for IR photos). Rouen cathedral is possibly the most gorgeous cathedral I've ever seen. The quaint little Old Towns in the towns and villages are fun (especially for those of us who live in a strictly 20th-century part of the world; we often played a game of "how old do you think that building is?"). I was slightly sick for a lot of it, though (standard head cold, and some digestive upsets probably caused by something in crepes and galettes), which put a slight damper on things. It was a pretty good time of year; partly sunny or cloudy with occasional drizzle, but no serious weather, and, best of all, no crowds!

    I've only worked on one photo so far (I still need to get the last photos from my last trip posted), and not the best but just the first one that caught my eye, but there will be more:

    (From the old clock tower in the old town of Dinan)

    Lisa
    Last edited by Lisa; 27th April 2008 at 09:18. Reason: (typo)

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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    Lisa:

    My wife and I were there a few years back. We stayed in a hotel right on the Mount. We rented a car and there were quite a few photgenic spots on along the way.

    If you get up early in the morning you can catch the good light and the shepards moving their flocks out to graze. The sunset is pretty good too.

    Robert,

    AT the Mere Poulard?

    in the am the streets were so crowded, you could hardly leave the inn!

    great place though.

    really like the foreshortening. Taken a little from the south on the mainland, yes? since you can see across the bay, rather than out to sea (or rather 'out to the mudflats!')

    However, I was there in '86, a little before 'digital' time ACtually, more into kids and movies

    Victor

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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Robert,

    AT the Mere Poulard?

    in the am the streets were so crowded, you could hardly leave the inn!

    great place though.

    really like the foreshortening. Taken a little from the south on the mainland, yes? since you can see across the bay, rather than out to sea (or rather 'out to the mudflats!')

    However, I was there in '86, a little before 'digital' time ACtually, more into kids and movies

    Victor
    Victor:

    I think we were in the white sheep hotel, across from Mdame Poullard's. Since we were there in the March or April, it was pretty quiet in regards to tourists.

    They were all shot on film. The shepard shot was done by driving back towards the litle town and hanging a right and then eventually a left to get on to the road that runs along the top of the dyke. I drove the top of the dykes until I found the composition I wanted then walked down off the dyke and shot from the grass. It was shot with the 105-280mm in the 280mm range.

    Robert

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    I just finished processing my photos from the trip. For anyone interested, I've posted posted what I thought were the 11 best ones to my Gallery here.

    For the first time, I had more good infrared photos than regular color photos (my usual ratio is about 10 to 1 in favor of regular color photos). I guess megaliths and gothic churches just look more interesting in infrared!

    Lisa

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    Re: has anyone here been to Brittany (Bretagne)?

    Lisa - I looked through the gallery and I agree the megaliths look very good in infrared. I like how the trees and rocks work in these images. Nice trip!

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