Friday, June 13, 2008

On to Rennes, France (Brittany)

We hopped on the train Thursday from Paris to Rennes. We made it fine even with my delaying our departure (all of five minutes) from the hotel with a bathroom break. Lord, I hate being rushed. I was glad to be on the train and enjoyed the views from our window. I truly wished we had more trains available in the United States. Nashville closed their train station many years ago. It's such an easy way to get around a country.

Pretty views. (You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.)

Raphi's mom was sweet enough to meet us upon our arrival in Rennes and we made it to their lovely home with plenty of time to relax before dinner. And what a dinner it was. We started it all of with a bottle of champagne when Raphi's father arrived. It was then on to roast chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes and then a course of cheese. We finished with a delicious chocolate mousse. I was so stuffed by the end, it was hard to get a spoon full of mousse in my mouth. But it was all so delicious, how could I not stuff myself? I wish I had photos of everything, but I didn't want to seem rude, ya know, as a guest. Now I wish I had taken photos of simply everything!

I truly can't say enough about Marie Christine, Raphael's mother. She is one of the sweetest persons I have ever met. She is an ophthalmologist and doesn't work Fridays. She was kind enough to take the kid and I into Rennes for a lovely day of touring on her day off. I know she had better things to do, but she was a lovely guide and we just enjoyed the day so very much being with her. (I found this map online of the Parc du Thabor plan, which will give you an idea of the size. You can see the church to the left.)

We started with Notre-Dame en Saint-Melaine, Pro-Cathedral of Rennes, (an 11th century Benedictine abbey) not far from the house. This is connected to the Parc du Thabor and just so happens to be where Raphael went to school as a child. I think I could handle going to school with gorgeous gardens surrounding me, you? This site has been used for cathedrals since the 6th century. The lower level was built in 1541!

This is the high school on the right.

The path going towards the gardens. Raphi said he ran many a mile around this path for gym.

Parts of the old church. I love moss. It's seldom seen where I come from because of the heat!

They were doing a little work on the grounds. Be my guest, if you read French. But it gives you and idea of the enormity of the gardens which we barely skimmed.

We then headed into the town center. Marie Christine wanted to do a little shopping so we headed straight away for the market. Oh, it was a sight. There were foods of every type. Breads, cheeses, meats, seafood and even crepes! I could only snap one photo before we had to swiftly leave for a bathroom break. Aw, the joys of traveling! But look at my favorite dish in all of France, the famous blue lobsters. I had them twice during my visit and each time, I was in heaven. YUM! There was a fishermen's strike going on and Marie Christine seemed upset that the langoustine were so small. Regardless, she bought a bunch (which I missed out on because I left for home after only two days in Rennes, pout) for the kid to enjoy. She's just the sweetest!

These are some of the gorgeous medieval timber houses all around the center of the city, 16th and 17th century stuff.

I loved the colors on this house/shop.

Meandering alleys.

Here is part of a castle complete with drawbridge. How fun is that?! All of the rock here is granite. We met up with Raphael's brother, Regis, and had a delightful lunch of crepes right here. Crepes are my favorite! Any type of crepe will do, si vous plait! They were so kind and took the time to read the entire menu to us so we could decide what to get. Of course, we ordered what they ordered. Along with the marvelous crepes, we had Brittany's very popular cider. It's not our American cider by any means. It has a little alcohol content but tastes of sparkling apple cider. It was a real treat.

One of the center structures is the Cathedrale Saint-Pierre (1787) which was built on the site of two previous churches dating back to the 4th century. Wow. Looks like a wedding is taking place soon.

This is the chapel for the Lady of Lourdes. The kid and I lit a candle here and we all said prayers.

Another old wooden statue in the church.

This is the Place des Lices where two rather large buildings sit. They open for market on the weekends. It is said to be one of the largest markets in all of France. This used to be the square where all the jousting took place before it was turned into a market place in the 1700s. I wish I could have seen it! (The market that is, not the jousting--ouch.)

Rennes is the capital of Brittany. This is the Palais de Parlement which was almost burned down in 1994 due to rioting fishermen (again on strike)! Ooof! Amazing since it survived the fire of 1720 which destroyed much of the town.

This is the Place de la Mairie which houses the city hall and the opera. It's a beautiful square with cafes surrounding it and even a sweet carousel.

Quaint cafes and shops including, oohlala, Hermes. I want this small fuchsia scarf! It's so un-Hermes! But I dared not to enter.

Instead, I came home with these "older" types of linen and an old rosary (I love collecting them from other countries).

We ended the night saying goodnight to Raphael's dog, Unix. Awwwww, what a cutie! I think we all slept well this night.

PS Raphi, let me know if I got anything wrong.


Saucy said...

Wonderful photos! Oh, the cathedrals! I love them so. And the one built in 1787 - that would have been the height of the French Revolution, can you imagine the turmoil?

Linda said...

Isn't France great? There is so much to see and almost every city has an old section filled with those charming buildings.

Artsy Etc. said...

Don't you just love European architecture? In this country we tend to knock down anything that's old and put something new in its place. I really love an ivy or moss covered building. Really pretty photos, Rosemary.

Jeanie said...

this is so picturesque I can't stand it! I want to be there myself! Glorious photos and the food sounds fab.What wonderful hosts you had!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great place! Thanks for sharing those wonderful pictures with us!



Beth said...

Some more wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

robin bird said...

oh my goodness i can hardly believe you got to photograph all of those beautiful places and eat lunch!!

eewwww (in your words) on those live lobsters though. not appetizing when they move :)

p.s. i did receive that great postcard but way past when you got home :) thank you very much it is a keeper! i would love to be sitting at that cafe right now!

The Antiques Diva said...

Rosemary, I came across your blog by means of Paris Parfait and I really enjoyed this posting on Renne! I think I'm going to enjoy lurking around your life!
The Antiques Diva (TM)



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