So I finally left Paris. And, despite my nagging inklings to the contrary, I did not fall off the face of the planet. Instead, after about 5 hours of driving (and eating at a gas station Kwik-E-Mart, oh how I miss the States), we arrived at this little village that barely has a name right next to Saint Malo. It’s right on the beach and quite picturesque. However, like most beach towns in any country, it being January and all, it was dead.
The people that inhabit touristy beach towns year-round or even exclusively during the winter (except perhaps those who are 1023208352 years old) are a special brand of unacceptable. Especially in France. The fishermen are so crusty and weathered, they look like strips of beef jerky covered in barnacles that scowl down the street clearing their throats. And smoking. Let’s not forget the smoking.
There’s also a fair amount of gross-looking, middle-aged women whom I assume exist only in some sort of package deal between Poseidon and said crusty sailors to be their ladies for all eternity. These ladies are far too salty and gravely-voiced and soaked in cigarette smoke to exist in any other context.
Anyway, so, add to those unreal caricatures of what you’d imagine hangs out at a nothern French beach the fact that the Bretagne accent may be the most ridiculous, unattractive, and hard to understand of all the accents in France. And France includes Marseille. Essentially, what I’m saying is the population is 100 percent win.
So in the little downtown of their tiny town, there were about 6 stores open for a total of 45 minutes each. We managed to eat lunch, though, which was an experience. I ordered steak and potatoes dauphinois (always a safe bet), while the two families I was with proceed to fill the table with every variety of unappealing, unfortunate smelling, upsettingly obscure seafood still in full posession of their heads. We’re talking whelks, goeducks, shrimp (to which I am allergic), sea snails, etc. It was essentially as though they had had a talk with my immediate family before bringing me here and demanded to know what would be the least appetizing thing they could put in front of me. At each one, I politely declined and watched as the families looked at me with what I could only imagine was pity and confusion, “why does this girl not want to eat this slimy, salty, smelly animal whose heads we rip off and proceed to eat raw?!”
I can hear all my Annapolis friends yelling at me in unison, “BUT IT’S SO FRESH AND DELICIOUS AND OCEANY.” Fuck you, it’s gross.
And as if that wasn’t enough of a briny delight, on walking out of the restaurant and scuttling around this little toybox of a town, I happened upon two of the nicest Bretons in the area! I was standing in front of a wine shop (that somehow was open far longer than the rest of the stores and was much more well stocked—you know where your priorities lie, France) holding the hand of the two-year-old I care for. Directly in front of me, this little old Peugot pulls up and stops to ask for what I assume are directions. However, the two men are (as is the norm here) rather salty and Bretagne-y, and thus in possession of that lovely accent that makes one’s words sound as though they’re going through a paper shredder filled with gravel and chewing tobacco. So, naturally, I ask them to repeat their question. They start mumbling to each other and then look back at me and repeat their question at the same pace and in the exact same phrasing, so I proceed to walk away, giving an “I’m sorry, I’m not from here” gesture. I then hear this, yelled out the window at top volume,
“VA TE FAIRE FOUTRE, ESPECE DE SALOPE”
That would be, “Go fuck yourself, you fucking bitch.”
I just want to take that whole little scene and turn it into a postcard.
Anyway, blah blah blah, the French are rude.
So, deciding that Chelsea hadn’t been traumatized enough by the briny, salty ocean and the quasi-humans that crawled out of it to settle in Bretagne, we went to an indoor hot seawater pool. No one informed me that women in France wear one-pieces to pools, and I was literally the only one in a GIANT indoor pool with at least a hundred people wearing a bikini. Oh, well. At least I’ve recently lost weight.
Side note—it wasn’t until I was in the changing room about to put my clothes back on that an old woman told me my bottoms were inside out. THANKS FRANCE.
On the bright side, all the men wear delicious, delightful speedos. This is occasionally extremely unfortunate, but most of the time was greatly appreciated. Nomnomnom.
All in all, I can say that I enjoyed Brittany, that I appreciated its sprawling natural beauty and unnecessary one-family castles overlooking the ocean, and that I will make sure it’s the summer before I ever come back again.
This is going to be the night where I read through my blog ~2 years ago, when I first moved here, and I was a student and au pair and actually kept a legitimate blog. Wow.
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- godinredlipstick said: I went on a camping trip in the grand canyon and all these old german men were there. They all wore speedos and drank tequila all night. Europe is weird.
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