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Jeremy Waldron
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Guerladen lake in southern Brittany has been empty this summer

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St Malo - A Sensible Life. The English visiting in the 1920's.

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It’s nice when your expertise really comes into use. Janine Marsh who writes and edits The Good Life France blog and magazine (www.thegoodlifefrance.com)  is writing an article on Brittany for the next edition and wanted to use the following picture, but was unable to identify its location.
There she was left scratching her head until she remembered meeting me at an awards event last year, where we chatted about my long association with Brittany both as a tourist and as the owner of Brittany Travel. She also remembered that I was walking the coast of Brittany (a 1500 mile walk!), so she decided to test my local knowledge and ask if I could identify the pic.
A quick email last weekend unfortunately left me a little bemused as I could not remember passing this port on my walk. A few hours spent with the detailed maps and some searching on Google could still not solve the problem. So many little ports look the same, yet the tower on the hill was very distinctive. However, if you have walked past this port you were unlikely to have spotted the tower as it is only seen from the sea!
Not wanting to be beaten, after all I am the ‘Brittany Expert’! I then reverted to my library of Brittany books. One of my favourites is La Bretagne vue du Ciel (Brittany from the Air). Success! there was a picture of Cancale, the little port not far from St Malo, famous for its oysters. A quick further check on Google and its now confirmed.
I can remember now that when I passed Cancale on my walk in 2010, I commented that this was the start of the ‘real’ Brittany, having spent the previous two days strolling along the polders of the Bay of St Michel as I had started the walk at the top of Mont St Michel itself. Happy memories.
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The Wild West of France
The Point du Raz in the far west of Brittany in the department of Finistère,  is known as the wild west of France for its rugged scenery and the fact that it’s the most westerly point in France. 
Little did we know when walking it recently that this also applies to the bus service! There we were having walked all day from the town of Audierne, a pretty place with a bustling quayside and narrow streets. We toiled up and down cliffs, exhilarated by the magnificent views. Arriving at the tip we discovered a throng of tourist coaches, well, it is one of the most visited attractions in France.  What we also discovered is that the local bus service back to Audierne only runs at weekends. 
Quelle disastre! 
A brief chat to the local tourist office generated a list of taxi firms which got us no nearer to Audierne. We finally decided to walk the 8 miles back to town, having already completed 12 miles. Luckily, resorting to the trusty thumb got us a lift in just a few minutes from two very charming young French guys from Paris on their first visit to Brittany. In return for their hospitality I gave them a full run down of the attractions of this beautiful area which I’ve visited many times. 
We finally arrived in Audierne where we indulged in the time honoured French pastime of sitting on a café terrace, facing the port, drinking coffee, in the late afternoon sunshine.
The perfect end to the perfect day. 
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BRITTANY - HERE WE COME - Planning well underway for the Brittany trip. Have checked the weather and that looks OK, checked the bus times so we can do the Pointe du Raz walk and get back to the car. This should be our most challenging day lots of up and down along the cliffs of Cap Sizun. We'll be posting each day so keep looking for some great photos. That's the Pointe du Raz in the background of this pic.
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Brittany Islands.
Whilst we come from an Island to get to Brittany, maybe we are just as happy not to get on a boat again. But there are some great short trips that can be made to the close by off shore islands of Brittany.
The most famous of which is surely Mont St Michel, this tiny rock with a town on it is about to be returned to the sea! The causeway that has linked it with the mainland for nearly a hundred years is finally being removed in 2015 letting the sea once again swirl around the island a high tides. These tides arrive so quickly that they are reputed to run faster that a horse so do not be tempted onto the flats.
We can then move to the subtropical island of Batz just off the coast from Roscoff. It’s a short 15 minute boat ride to this sub-tropical paradise of the Exotic Garden. This garden is full of handsome species of about 1500 shrubs from every continent.  The island is car free, but you can hire bikes for a quick tour before returning to the little village for a well-rewarded Breton pancake and cider!
Swinging from the north coast to the south coast you come across the crab like Ile de Sein, an almost flat outcrop about 5 miles off the coast beyond the Pointe du Raz. This little islet has a fascinating story from WW2. On 6 July 1940 General de Gaulle assembled the first 600 Free French volunteers who had been able to make it across the channel to London. He discovered that 150 of them, the entire male population of the islands, were from Sein. The General was astonished and famously said that the Ile de Sein is thus a quarter of France! You can visit the island from Audierne which takes about an hour.
 
A little further south just off the coast near Benodet are the Glenan Islands. There are regular boat trips from several ports along the coast including Benodet and Concarneau. They are small enough to only need an hour to explore them, but the deep blue seas around them and the dazzling white sands make you feel you are in the Caribbean! The seas are so clear that you can take a glass bottomed boat trip and see the abundance of marine life that populates the seas.
During my next trip to Brittany in may I will be visiting the Ile de Sein and the Glenan islands so look out for my reports and hopefully some great photos.
 
 
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