October 25

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11 Bretagne

BRETAGNE

 

We went to Bretagne looking for oysters, both to eat and as a photographic subject. After all, this was where Louis XIV arrived at the Bélon River on a campaign of conquest and found the Ostrea Edulis–or Edible Oyster–or Huître de Bélon–or Bélon Flat Oyster–that revolutionized seafood tastes from Paris onward.

But more than mollusks, we found in the ancient province a wild landscape with colors we had never seen before. Partly, it had to be the season–between Christmas and New Year’s–with storm and bluster flooding off the English Channel to alter the weather by the hour. But this hardly explained the rich hues of the Bay of Biscay, off the southern, more sheltered lee of the peninsula.

It’s no wonder that Brittany was the last of the great French historical provinces to be subdued by the French crown–to the extent that it ever was. Celtic roots, both cultural and linguistic, still run deep here and drop the ancient country, once known as Breizh, somewhere between France and the other six Celtic Nations, Kernow, Éire, Mannin, Alba, and Cymru (that’s Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales).

No matter the season, don’t forget your overcoat!