For New Year's I went to Saint-Malo, a tiny port city in the north of France, in Bretagne. It was the first time I have been in this region, and I made sure to take advantage of the specialties: crêpes, apple cider, caramels made with sea-salted butter (the best EVER), kouign amann (sounds like "queen aman", it's a delicious, buttery, pastry) and of course plenty of fresh seafood. Here as some photos of the town.
This is one of the main roads in the old town. As you can see, it is lined with creperies. I have never seen so many creperies in such a tiny space, but no complaints, they are one of my favorite foods here!
Here is the port. On the right you can see the walls of the old town, which both enclose it and protect it from the high tide, and provide a great walk and view.
Chateaubriand, who was from Saint-Malo (a Malouin), is buried here. I wouldn't call it an island, but it is only accessible during low tide. Unfortunately everytime I wanted to go visit it was high tide! The rainbow was amazing and I felt fortunate to see one on the first day of 2006. The picture was taken from the roof of the Musée d'Histoire de la Ville, itself a beautiful old building.
Another one of the old forts at Saint-Malo, on a rare sunny day!
A view of the beach. This seems to be some sort of make-shift pool, perhaps for kiddies in the summer? I have never seen anything like this before. And do you think the steps are for a lifeguard, or a diving board to jump into the ocean? I have no clue. In any case, the water was beautiful - a clear green or a blue depending upon the weather. Thanks to my upbringing near two heavily polluted bodies of water I am always surprised when I see an ocean or river that is not brown, and I tend to comment, "Wow, the water's really blue!". As you can see from the picture, I repeated this comment quite a few times while at Saint-Malo.
I would definitely recommend Saint-Malo for a day or weekend maximum, that's more than enough time to visit and "escape" from Paris. But I would not recommend it on a holiday, especially New Years, due to the same reason: its size! There was absolutely nothing going on, no fireworks, nada. Everytime we asked about it (at the tourist office, at restaurants, at our hotel) the people just laughed at us. Stupid Parisians, thinking that they would find festivities in Saint-Malo.
I will try to do another post on the restaurants, cafés, and bars that we visited. Because that's another advantage to Saint-Malo: you can eat SO well for SO cheap!