France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre

It’s so nice to be accept­ed into anoth­er fam­i­ly, and to be able to live the way they do for a bit. You get a taste of some­one else’s life and habits. That’s when a trip is more than just a vis­it to a dif­fer­ent place, and becomes an expe­ri­ence.

And on our last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, there were still things to do and dish­es to eat.

cleaning mussels

Cleaning the mus­sels for steam­ing in white wine and onions. This is how Frédéric won Misun’s heart.

curled kitty

This is not a small chair made for a kit­ty. This is a human-sized chair with a large kit­ty in it.

steamed mussels



Quatre-quarts is the French ver­sion of pound cake. It means “four quar­ters”, which refer to the por­tions of egg, sug­ar, flour, and but­ter used. In this ver­sion from the Breton region, noth­ing else is added, which makes it per­fect for spread­ing jam or hon­ey.

feet by the fire

I spent a lot of time doing this.

beef bourguignon

My first taste of authen­tic beef bour­guignon, orig­i­nal­ly a peas­an­t’s dish, slow-cooked with red wine to ten­der­ize the meat. It was SO GOOD. My sali­va glands are swelling just from look­ing at the pic­ture.

kouign amann

Kouign-amann is anoth­er cake that’s authen­tic to the Breton region. It was tra­di­tion­al­ly made by flat­ten­ing any left­over dough from cook­ing, adding sug­ar, then but­ter­ing one side. The dough would then be fold­ed in half, and one side was but­tered again, and this con­tin­ued until it became the shape of a cake. When baked, the sug­ar caramelizes and makes the cake a mix­ture of crunchy and soft. No won­der the name lit­er­al­ly means “but­ter cake” in the Breton dialect.

There’s only a some­what mild taste (which is why it goes per­fect with ice cream), but it’s extreme­ly heavy.

cutting sausage

The thing that threw me off about this sausage is that it’s not very salty. The taste is very mild, and main­ly fat. The skin was also quite tough.


Be home soon.

Savage Coast

Before leav­ing, we head­ed out to La Côte Sauvage (the “Savage Coast”), known for the huge waves that pound the stones on shore. This was by far the most chal­leng­ing shoot­ing con­di­tion I’ve ever been in. The winds whipped any shal­low water into a froth, which meant it was not only impos­si­ble to hold the cam­era steady, but I was fre­quent­ly pelt­ed by large waves of foam. A storm had just moved in, and cov­ered the area in dark clouds, cov­er­ing a lot of impor­tant light. The fine spray from the huge crash­es was relent­less, and end­ed up cov­er­ing all my equip­ment and clothes. I could­n’t change lens­es, out of fear that I’d get my sen­sor dirty; it was hard enough clean­ing the water off the glass of my lens.

It was all worth it though. You tru­ly feel like you’re in the mid­dle of untamed nature here, cer­tain­ly some­thing that isn’t always pos­si­ble to expe­ri­ence even if you live far out in the coun­try.

Côte Sauvage 1



Shot inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s paint­ing, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.

Côte Sauvage 2


standing on the beach


The town of Rochefort-en-Terre

The sun was bright and the air was clear for a few hours, and this was the only oppor­tu­ni­ty in three days we had to go out to see the town with­out a tor­ren­tial down­pour ready to soak us in two min­utes. The sleepy lit­tle vil­lage is actu­al­ly quite an active tourist spot dur­ing the peak peri­ods, famous for it’s crêpes (in this town of six restau­rants, appar­ent­ly five of them a crêt­peries). That’s when the roads are so crowd­ed that they block all traf­fic, but on the off-sea­son it’s very qui­et and peace­ful.

downtown Rochefort-en-Terre


country house


Morgane in the rain

Morgane says, “I don’t need a coat. I won’t get sick. Seeeeeeeeee?”

chateau de rochefort en terre

Château de Rochefort-en-Terre

corner store

Christmas lights up already.


A flock of sheep lit­er­al­ly across the road from the vil­la.

side road


small church

A chapel on a hill.


Rochefort-en-Terre has been a bat­tle­ground in sev­er­al con­flicts.

touching seeds


old buildings


old church


rain gutter

A very old rain gut­ter. How rare would some­thing like this be in North America? There were also car­toon­ish faces embed­ded in some of the bricks of a few hous­es, por­traits of the own­er and his wife from long ago.


Dear Mr. Proprietor, please wheel your pas­try wag­on 20 feet to my house.

Europe 2010 travel diaries


  1. Wonderful things, as per usu­al. The “very old rain gut­ter” is a “gar­goyle”, isn’t it?

    • I was going to say that I thought it did look like one, but I imag­ine that one of the dis­tin­guish­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of gar­goyles are wings.

  2. Dear Jeff,
    Thank you for all the won­der­ful pho­tos and com­ments. It real­ly brings some good mem­o­ries of your stay with us not long ago. I feel ter­ri­ble that I was­n’t here to say good­bye. I hope that you enjoyed your week in England.
    I look for­ward to see­ing the rest of your trip. Hope the tran­si­tion back to real­i­ty isn’t too dif­fi­cult.
    All the best,

    • Thanks for the hospitality…next time I’m in Rochefort-en-Terre, I’m def­i­nite­ly pick­ing up that con­ser­va­teur du beurre!

  3. This batch of pho­tos are my per­son­al favorite in some time.… it reminds me of how I always had envi­sioned George Sand’s Nohant. (Come to think of it I must look THAT up. )

    The video is so cool, wish it were longer. I did­n’t know seafoam could become like soap­suds! Very fun…but not for your equipment.…The coast is more rugged than I real­ized France would have.

    Oooh tell me, did they add any fruit into the boef bour­guignon? I make one I adore that calls for cher­ries.

    For any­body who wants to know, my art his­to­ry teacher made us swear to remem­ber that rain­spout fig­ures were gar­goyles, where­as the faces or heads not used for rain­flow in the archi­tec­ture are termed grotesques. Just so she does­n’t haunt you too.

    • I think this coast was par­tic­u­lar­ly rugged, which is why it sort of stands out from the rest in France. I wish the video was longer too, but it was so hard to keep steady with the huge gusts of wind.

      No fruit in the bour­guignon, but that sounds like an amaz­ing idea. It’s such a sim­ple recipe, even a sin­gle extra flavour would stand out.

  4. I actu­al­ly find the streets and archi­tec­ture quite sim­i­lar to those of Quebec. And Frederic looks like the actor David Morse.

    • I don’t think I’ve been to Quebec enough to tell if the archi­tec­ture is sim­i­lar, but cer­tain­ly in Old Montreal there’s the same kind of European flair and per­son­al­i­ty in the build­ings.

      And Frédéric total­ly does look like David Morse! I nev­er saw that before, but now I can’t stop think­ing it.

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