CANCALE – France
48.6769° N, 1.8506° W
Consider Cancale if you’re searching for: the quintessential fishing village on the coast of Brittany | towers of seafood | authentic charm
Oysters? For breakfast?
Seriously. It says “check here” if you’d like oysters delivered to the room for breakfast.
I sat, propped up on immense pillows, listening to the rising tide, watching the fog envelop the distant Mont-Saint Michel. I might never leave.
Cancale is a picturesque fishing-village on the coast of Brittany. It’s known amongst foodies for its oysters. Although small, Cancale remains a lively fishing port. Famed Michelin-star chef Olivier Roellinger holds court here. Lucky, lucky Bretons.
Coastal trail Walk the coastal path around the peninsula into town (the old custom officer’s path). The scenic walk takes you along the cliffs, past vine-covered cottages, marine roses, row-boats, and oyster beds.
La Cuisine Corsaire- Culinary School Emmanuel Tessier and Olivier Roellinger offer cooking courses. They beckon visitors to “discover, master, tame and glorify the products of the Sea and of the vegetable garden using the set of spices which characterise the culinary spirit of Maisons de Bricourt.” Place Saint-Méen Cancale, France
La Maison de Gwenn – After your long walk, some reflexology with flowers, oils, and spices is in order. 2 Rue Saint-Malo Cancale, France
Shop in the quaint downtown for La Marinière – the iconic striped sailor shirt, made in Brittany. Stock up on salted butter caramels (caramel-buerre-salé) – which, due to the high-fat content of the Breton butter, are the finest in the world. Don’t miss the local cheeses (technically from Normandy) including Camembert, Livarot, and Pont-l’Évêque.
Mont-Saint-Michel – a short drive from Cancale stands Mont-Saint-Michel, on a rocky tidal island. Formerly a Benedictine monastery, then a prison, then a military stronghold, it’s now on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Le Coquillage – Chef Olivier Roellinger is world-renowned for creating masterpieces by infusing seafood with spices. This is the site of the best meal of my life – lobster with sherry, vanilla, and cocoa (it’s 19th century-style, they say). The delicate scallops with coriander, anise, and cardamon took a close second. On my boyfriend’s birthday we ordered a seafood platter that took us two happy hours to polish off. D155 Rue du Mont Saint-Michel, Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, France
La Houle District Stalls stand just feet away from the oyster beds in downtown Cancale. Pick out your oysters and the proprietors will hand-shuck them for you and present them on a plastic plate with a wedge of lemon. Talk about going to the source. Cancale, France
Grain de Vanille – A Tea Room to sample Breton pastries. If you’re in the mood for something stronger, there’s spiced hot chocolate and Breton cider, too. 12 Place de la Victoire, Cancale, France
Les Maison de Bricourt – Château Richeux – The staff take pride in this Relais & Châteaux property. The atmosphere is warm, welcoming, homey, and unique – not at all stuffy. Exploring the property, we discovered sheep, horses, hiking trails, greenhouses, gardens, ponds, and the bake-house where David was making the croissants. In the evening we ordered up some spiced grog and cigars, wrapped ourselves in white blankets, and headed out to the windy seaside terrace. I don’t know how the blankets stay white, but they do. D155 Rue du Mont Saint-Michel, Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, France
Les Gites Marins – Relaxing seaside cottages with terraces, fireplaces, and breakfast basket delivery filled with David’s breads and brioches. 62 rue des Rimains, Cancale, France