France, Day 8: La Roche-Bernard

La Roche-Bernard is a small com­mune 30km due south of Rochefort en Terre, with about the same pop­u­la­tion. It’s said that the town has more boats than peo­ple; the rich leave their ves­sels in the port until they have a few weeks of vaca­tion, and take off from here after arriv­ing by car or train.

It was orig­i­nal­ly a viking colony, tak­en up as a fort because it con­trols access to the riv­er that runs through it. The hills above are still pock­marked with stone walls and canons on the hills above.

La Vilaine

La Vilaine is the main riv­er run­ning through La Roche-Bernard, flow­ing out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Before leav­ing though, we loaded up on some tra­di­tion­al French food.


Galettes, or more prop­er­ly known as Breton Galettes (as they’re a very tra­di­tion­al food for the region), are like crêpes but made of buck­wheat instead of flour. With only egg, cheese (typ­i­cal­ly emmen­tale), and a slice of ham, it’s as sim­ple as it is deli­cious.

cooked galette

The pack­aged final prod­uct.


Served with the galettes is a cider that’s much dri­er than I’m used to, but this meant it bal­anced extreme­ly well with both sweet and savoury.

apple caramel crepe

And for dessert a caramel apple crêpe, with semi-sweet choco­late chips and ice cream.


I was talk­ing with Tanya about how much of a sac­ri­fice it must be to have chil­dren (not­ing she had three of her own), and she said that if you tru­ly love your kids, it nev­er feels like a sac­ri­fice. That is, until they want the last bite of your crêpe.

A walk through town

I imag­ine not much has changed in this town for hun­dreds of years; when you see how the stone hous­es have been built around the uneven path­ways, it’s like you’re step­ping into a time machine. And with so much green­ery, it’s tru­ly feels like you’ve set­tled into a lit­tle cra­dle of the earth, as it’s all around you, not flat­tened and cleared beneath you.

market place

This used to be the mar­ket­place. The win­dow ledges are par­tic­u­lar­ly deep and low to the ground because peo­ple would open the win­dows and sell right out of their homes, rest­ing their wares on the win­dowsills.









one way street


countryside 3


countryside 4


steps to marketplace







Chorizo is an extreme­ly spicy Spanish pork sausage. I love how every­thing here is so fresh that you can just buy a few slices off the counter.

boats on dock


raised boat

If you’re excep­tion­al­ly rich, you can pay to have your boat hoist­ed with a crane and kept out of the water.

dock plugs

And if you want to live in your boat while it’s docked, the docks have plugs for elec­tric­i­ty and taps for water.

dock restaurants


dock tie


fish signs

The artist’s door. I imag­ine in a small town like this, it would actu­al­ly be accu­rate to call some­one, “the artist”.



green path


old buildings


old dock




pathway up

If this was a big city, a tiny path­way like this lead­ing “down­town” would be so shady.

quay sign


seafood market

The seafood is always fresh when you’re this close to the water.



shoe pot


stone steps


walking dogs


wash basin

Before indus­tri­al­iza­tion, the women of the town would come here to wash the laun­dry in the shal­low pool.




Dinner that night was raclette, which refers to both the cheese and way it’s served melt­ed over var­i­ous meats and pota­toes. This is where I learned that meals for the French aren’t only about the food, they’re about get­ting togeth­er with friends and social­iz­ing too.


Kir is a cock­tail made from a bit of crème de cas­sis (black­cur­rant liqueur) and white wine, served as an aper­i­tif. Crème de cas­sis itself is a tra­di­tion­al French alco­hol, and typ­i­cal­ly about 15% alco­hol by vol­ume. It did­n’t make me any more hun­gry, but I cer­tain­ly had more fun just sit­ting in a chair by the fire.

raclette grill

The raclette grill. The top is used to keep the pota­toes warm, while the bot­tom has heaters to melt slices of raclette. Traditionally, raclette was melt­ed by keep­ing it by a fire.

assorted meats



Calvados is an apple brandy, also made in France, typ­i­cal­ly tak­en between cours­es as a palette cleanser. At 40% alco­hol by vol­ume it was a lit­tle strong for my taste (though it remind­ed me some­what of tequi­la), so they gave me a cube of sug­ar to suck on after it’s been dipped in the brandy. Everyone else was drink­ing it out of their cham­pagne flutes.

Europe 2010 travel diaries


  1. Enjoy your stay in France !!! I’ve been using your theme for a cou­ples of mon­tehs, and I am real­ly hap­py with it!
    I am locat­ed in the south west of France, near the span­ish border…I just got to your blog for the first time as I was look­ing for tech info about the theme (try­ing to change the haders col­or) and I found out about your trip ! real­ly nice pic­tures by the way ! very good! Anyway… enjoy your time here, I’ll come back to fol­low your french adven­tures!

  2. Your pho­tos are breath­tak­ing. I feel like I was trans­port­ed to this mag­i­cal place, though I’ve nev­er been before. I can see why Kir, Calvados and Raclette are such a well-loved culi­nary tra­di­tion.

  3. RaaaaaacLEEEEETTTTTTTTE.….….


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