Voila! A rare slice of sunshine on the magnificent IÎe-aux-Moines, a tiny island off the coast of Brittany, nestled in the Gulf of Morbihan. Although the sunshine was as sporadic as our worries, I reread The Great Gatsby and relived Gatsbian decadence at a 5-day wedding soaked in champagne and good cheer.
Let me share with you the ideal day on IÎle-aux-Moines…
Enjoy a coffee and croissant on the terrace of San Franciscowith its tony view overlooking the busy port.
Rent a bike and take a spin around the island while taking in its coastal views and prehistoric treasures, including the dolmen of Penhap. Be warned, although it’s easy to get caught up in the romantic, rainy charm of IÎle-aux-Moines, renting a tandem bike with your French other half does not come with a bilingual communication manual…
It’s always a sign of an oyster’s freshness if the person shucking it is wearing waterproof yellow overalls. Save yourself and buy a douzaine direct from the ostréiculteur at Ets MARTIN including an obligatory glass of white.
Tea time! Hands down, the only place to get an authentic crepe fix on the isle is Lonely Galettes.
Book at table at Le Cagou for regional slow food, the freshest fish, and an enticing prix-fixe menu. Langoustines, Saint-Pierre, and far breton (Brittany’s ubiquitous prune clafoutis) will top off a perfect day on IÎe-aux-Moines.
For those who have never been, Brittany smells like either fish or butter, depending on the direction the wind blows. We experienced the best of both worlds last week on our last little getaway for the summer. We were invited to the summer home of some friends on Belle-Île-en-Mer, an hour boatride off the coast of Brittany. Monet himself eternalized its rustic rock formations at Port Coton. But its pristine sand beaches and rugged landscapes have made it a super summer destination for sunbathers. And surfers flock to its rough waters, too. Personally, I was more into picking sun-warmed blackberries and avoiding a sunburn in my impromptu burkini.
But no trip to Brittany is complete without paying an edible homage to the birthplace of crêpes, especially at Crêperie “Chez Renée”. These are not the overloaded saccharin strawberry and whipped topping crepes of IHOP fame. They are deceptively simple. The savory version, la galette, is traditionally a paper thin buckwheat pancake. A thin cracker-like crispiness envelopes its fillings with an unabashed amount of butter. I had the ultimate sweet and savory moment with my smoked bacon and prune purée crepe. My dessert crêpe de Froment was kept simple with poached pear and local honey. Alongside the obligatory bowl of cider or two, it was a perfect post-beach/pre-nap lunch.