My vacations in Roscoff

· Food, Travel

With a little delay, I come back here on my summer vacations which took place at the beginning of September in Brittany. One thing is sure, I always enjoy going on holiday when everyone else has already gone back home.

Last year, it was Belle-île-mer. This year, it was Roscoff in Finistère where the calm of September is always appreciated. Not to mention that we had a rather dull summer, so I took it as a blessing to be able to enjoy these Breton sunbeams.

I will try to list in this article the different places we visited during our stay so that you can maybe organize a vacation or a weekend there (a weekend seems to me a bit short to enjoy everything). Let’s go for the visit!

 

Getting to Roscoff

We chose to go there by car (about 5h30 drive).

However, there are trains with a connection in Morlaix from Paris Montparnasse. Once there, it is easier to drive to visit the surroundings but I imagine that with a little organization (and bus lines) everything is feasible.

 

ROSCOFF and its surroundings

 

THE EXOTIC GARDEN OF ROSCOFF : A garden with more than 3500 species of plants from the southern hemisphere. Very interesting to walk through, exotic and special mention to the panoramic view at the top of the rock and to the Koi carp pond.

 

HIKING TO THE POINT OF PERHARIDY : We went for a short day walk to reach the point of Perharidy, starting from Roscoff and following the coast.

No big difference in level, it is a hike categorized as easy.

Some people will finish this walk in 2 hours or less: we chose to take our time to admire the scenery and have a quiet picnic.

The changing atmosphere, from bright sunshine to fog, was full of mystery.

 

THE MENHIR OF CAM-LOUIS : 7 meters high for this erect rock.

It is said that it is built on a treasure accessible only on Christmas day (if you want to check, you know what you have to do for the holidays).

Beach and rocks of Cam-Louis

 

 

BAY OF KERNIC AND DUNES OF KERRAMA : Long beaches of fine white sand that we walked at the end of the day. If you like sand yachting or kite surfing, this is the place for you.

 

BATZ ISLAND (some pronounce it Batz and others Ba, I don’t know who has the truth because I heard everything on the spot 😉

We spent a small day on this island to go on foot or by bike (the Roscoff – island of Batz crossing is done by shuttle during 15mn).

We chose the bicycle to shorten the distances (already short) but the exploration on foot in one day is quite possible if you have time.

 

The most striking point of interest is the Georges Delaselle Garden which is a good complement to the exotic garden of Roscoff. It brings together plants from Africa, Australia and Asia and thanks to the micro-climate of the island, you really feel transported to other latitudes.

Of course, I had planned to wear my vintage Hawaiian shirt to match the scenery that day… and I don’t regret at all this express stopover in Hawaii!

The lighthouse on Batz Island can be visited, to admire a high viewpoint or explore its museum. Unfortunately, it was closed during our day of visit.

 

CALLOT ISLAND : My favorite island, which has kept its wild side (indeed, you will not find any shop or restaurant on the island, be careful).

This long island is accessible at low tide. You have to be careful to note the tide times to know when to go there and when to come back! Otherwise you might have to sleep in the only gite on the island (or enjoy the hospitality of a local villa owner).

 

I loved the little Notre Dame chapel on the highest point of the island and leaning against the Mazarin turret to admire the horizon for a few minutes. Wild and quiet, a real luxury.

 

BEACH OF THE AMIETS AT CLEDER : We regretted not to have discovered this immense beach of fine sand earlier. A small air of Thailand with its rocks. A pleasure to contemplate.

 

My addresses in Roscoff

 

THE BRITTANY & SPA HOTEL : A Relais & Châteaux hotel with a view on the sea, very comfortable, and close to the city center on foot. We really wanted to treat ourselves during this week of rest by taking care to be pampered as we should: Mission accomplished!

The breakfast was copious and we were able to taste an unusual specialty of the place: the gros lait (a kind of fermented milk with a stringy texture).

There were also some Japanese-inspired dishes (horse mackerel in dashi broth, nori seaweed tartar) at the breakfast buffet since the second in command (Kazunori Tanigawa) and the wife of the Chef Loïc le Bail happen to be Japanese! The timing couldn’t be better!

 

LE BRITTANY RESTAURANT of the Chef Loïc le Bail : With one Michelin star and its few Japanese influences, our 2 dinners booked within the hotel were absolutely wonderful.

Amuse bouche with Roscoff onion and Kouign amann, caramel apple stratum, rosemary orange sorbet

 

Brittany and Japan mix very well: a festival of iodized, Breton and exotic flavors (they even served small bánh bao (or nikkuman) with seaweed and Roscoff onions as a side dish)

 

LA CREPERIE DE LA POSTE The buckwheat pancakes are soft and crispy at the same time (special mention to the Concarnoise (St Jacques and leek fondue with cream) and the wheat pancakes are tasty.

 

CHEZ JANIE The seafood restaurant that was recommended to us by the hotel. Enjoy a seafood platter or a dish of the day cooked with love. The service is friendly and I have the sweet memory of a fresh and greedy strawberry pavlova.

 

 

The rest of the time, we picnicked or ate on the go so I don’t have many gourmet addresses to share with you but if you are local, feel free to post your recommendations in the comments (=visits or gourmet places)! It could be useful for the next visitors !

I hope you enjoyed these selected pieces of Breton summer vacations before entering a little more seriously into autumn! (English translation by Quiterie)

Motionless journey

· Culture, Fashion, Travel

I’m back on my blog after a few months of absence, following technical problems that prevented me from posting. Everything seems to be working again (fingers crossed): so I’m taking advantage of this to finally find you here!

This summer, I stayed in Paris and didn’t move around much, but that didn’t stop me from escaping on several occasions during a few immobile trips (which you may have seen, if you follow my Instagram stories), whether it was via exotic Parisian places or other inspiring reading. If you haven’t had the chance to go far away and you miss Japan, maybe this article will give you some ideas and allow you to escape too!

 

Japanese serenity at Jardin Albert Kahn

Here are some pictures of a morning spent in the Japanese garden of the Albert Kahn museum in Boulogne. I hadn’t been back since 2014 and was pleasantly surprised by the size and beauty of the recently renovated place.

The tour begins with the Japanese village, which banker Albert Kahn, inspired by his travels, had built in 1898, with the help of a gardener and carpenter from the land of the rising sun. The vegetation and the tea pavilion are immediately transporting us to another place.

Further on, a more contemporary Japanese garden, designed by landscape architect Fumiaki Takano. Maples, ginkgo biloba, azaleas and magnolias complete the harmony: the view should be even more spectacular in autumn or spring.

Two bridges spanning a stream in which a few Koi carps are waving : it really is like being there in Japan.

If you decide to visit this garden during the weekend, don’t forget to book in advance (during the week, it is not necessary to book).

 

Books that smell of Japan

 

To escape at the moment, there is nothing better than to immerse yourself in some exotic reading! I’m not going to list all the books in my library related to Japan, but here is a small selection that recently allowed me to travel there, by turning the pages.

 

♦ OGAWA ITO’S BOOKS

I started with “The Restaurant of Regained Love”, then went on with “The Tsubaki Stationery” and am currently reading “The Republic of Happiness”. The Japanese author has written 5 novels.

I am so seduced by the three I mentioned that I intend to read all five. Each novel has such a cosy and gourmet atmosphere that you have the impression of travelling through a Japan where the sweetness of life is omnipresent. A very soothing and epicurean read.

 

♦ HANDMADE IN JAPAN (Ed. Gelstaten) : A magnificent book that brings together the work of several Japanese craftsmen. Ceramic, fabric, wood, metal… All materials are worked with love to obtain precious objects highlighting the Japanese sense of detail.

 

♦ TOKYO PETIT ATLAS HEDONISTE (Ed. Chêne) : A book gathering good addresses in Tokyo with a lot of photos and a nice layout.

♦ SOUL OF TOKYO (Ed.Jonglez) : a small guide with other off-the-beaten-track addresses.

♦ ANDO (Ed. Taschen) : I already had a book collecting some of Tadao Ando‘s works (bought at the Pompidou museum exhibition). However, I fell in love with this book, more complete. I also plan to buy the one gathering the works of the architect Kengo Kuma whose work I also like a lot. (English translation by Quiterie)

ANDO Complete Works (Editions Taschen)


My Outfit

Jumpsuit American Vintage (already seen here)
Bag brought back from Bali (2017)
Sandals 70/30 (already seen here)
Earrings Eloïse Fiorentino (already seen here)

Naoshima

· Art, Food, Illustration, Travel

It’s been almost 2 years since we left for this road-trip on the island of Shikoku in Japan and I still haven’t finished telling you about it! It’s a good thing because I’m not going to go there anytime soon, so this will allow us to travel by proxy.

Going through the pictures and my memories requires a little effort of memory to be able to transcribe the rest of this trip but I will try to do the best I can so that you can teleport yourself for a moment and why not plan a future visit to Japan (fingers crossed). Let’s go now!

 

Preparing your visit to Naoshima

Last time, I left you on a “nature and slow” note with this stay in Otoyo with our adorable family in the mountains. This time, I’m going to Naoshima Island, a small island transformed (thanks to the help of the architect Tadao Ando) into a real jewel of contemporary art.

I’m skipping for the moment our intermediate city Takamatsu (which I will detail in a next post) to tell you about our day in Naoshima: Indeed, if you look again at the details of our itinerary, you will notice that we left from Otoyo (Nagafuchi) to reach further north, the city of Takamatsu.

We stayed there for 3 nights and visited Naoshima Island by doing just a day trip. It was intense but it seemed to be the easiest in our case (don’t forget that we had a car which couldn’t be taken with us to Naoshima!). However, you can also choose to stay longer on the island. Here are some tips to prepare your visit:

  • Book in advance the tickets of the museums you want to visit on the Benesse art site especially for the very popular Chichu Art Museum: You will be able to choose your visit time. The other museums are more easily accessible without reservation.
  • Book your hotel on the same site if you choose to stay longer on the island. Unfortunately, I don’t have any recommendations for you as we were going back to Takamatsu on the mainland in the evening.
  • Be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat (bucket hat ?) if you go during the sunny season because there is not much shade on the island.

 

Getting to Naoshima

To get to this island, there is no other way than by boat. A ferry leaves about every hour from Takamatsu harbor from 8am with a journey of about 50mn (you can also leave from Okayama if you are not from Shikoku)

I already told this story on Instagram but because we forgot our museum tickets in our hotel room in Takamatsu (and I was not sure if they accept the electronic version), we had to go back in a hurry to get them and missed our ferry.

If you are as dizzy as I was (=I was in charge of the tickets), you should know that speed boats (more expensive and faster: crossing in 25mn) also allow access to Naoshima island with different time slots: what we took to catch up and manage to respect our appointment time for the reservation of the Chichu Art museum. Intense, I told you!

So I can’t advise you enough to check all your reservation tickets before you go to the port: My mistake may be useful to you! I’m not sure if ferry/speed boat tickets can be booked in advance on the internet though, but you can find the boat departure schedule here.

There are 2 ports on the island: Miyanoura and Honmura. The ferry coming from Takamatsu arrives at Miyanoura harbor while our speed boat docked at Honmura, further east.

The “cloud shaped pavilion” from the  architects Sanaa on the Honmura harbor

 

Getting around Naoshima

The island is not very big and can be reached by bike or by foot. But if you want to discover the museums and a maximum of artworks scattered all over the island, you can save up time by taking the bus which more or less goes around the island.

Despite our early morning loss of time, we chose to explore the island on foot: we are far from having seen everything but it was nice to slow down the pace and admire the artworks more quietly. (To be able to visit the whole island and all the museums, I think that 2 days minimum would be perfect, for information)

 

Admire the artworks on the island

“Naoshima Pavilion” by Sou Fujimoto

 

Just walking around, you won’t be able to miss the artworks that are scattered all along the way. If you are sensitive to the contemporary art and minimalist architecture of Tadao Ando, you will love it.

When you think that before the 90’s, Naoshima was almost unknown to the main public until the Benesse company took a look at it by calling Tadao Ando to “pimple” it into an artistic visual place, it’s pretty crazy!

Here are the works that crossed our path: from the famous pumpkins of Yayoi Kusama to the sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle, we didn’t know where to look. And everything matches so harmoniously with the surrounding nature!

“Yellow pumpkin” and “Playhouse pumpkin” by Yayoi Kusama

“Another rebirth” by Kimiyo Mishima

“Shipyard Works : Stern with Hole” by Shinro Oktake, “3 Squares Vertical Diagonal” by George Rickey

“The bench” by Niki de Saint Phalle (Sorry for the tourist photo !)

 

Stairs by Tadao Ando which includes “Seen/unseen Known/Unknown by Walter de Maria

 

Naoshima’s museums

On Naoshima, there are not only artworks in the nature but also museums and art houses. We only took the tickets for the Chichu Art Museum (those we forgot at the hotel!) while for the other museums, since the reservation was not mandatory we wanted to see how the day was going to be to choose to visit them or not.

In the end, we only visited the Chichu Art museum in depth but here is an overview of the others so you can make your choice.

 

CHICHU ART MUSEUM :

Photos are not allowed inside, so I only have these few exterior shots to offer you but since I bought a book describing Tadao Ando’s work on the island, I have a few glimpses of the works you can admire there.

“Open sky” by James Turell and “the nympheas” by Claude Monet

 

In this museum with concrete architecture (signed Tadao Ando) are grouped 3 permanent works in 3 different rooms: “The nympheas” by Claude Monet, “Open sky” by James Turrell and “Time/timeless/no time” by Walter de Maria.

Time/ Timeless/ No time by Walter de Maria

 

As in many places in Japan, you have to take off your shoes before the visit: take care of your socks to honor the place and the art, haha. In any case, the architecture of the place is pure and plays with the light, highlighting the works of art. Conquered I was.

 

LEE UFAN MUSEUM :

We only went outside this museum presenting, as its name indicates, the works of Lee Ufan, a Korean artist.

 

BENESSE HOUSE MUSEUM : I regret not having had the time to enter this museum which mixes perfect architectural lines and majestic artworks. We were still able to admire the works of Niki de St Phalle located outside the museum.

 

ART HOUSE PROJECT : 7 abandoned houses rehabilitated into artworks are located on the side of Honmura harbor. Paintings and sculptures can be admired there.

Haisha : “Dreaming tongue” by Shinro Ohtake

 

ANDO MUSEUM : which consists of a concrete cube elegantly integrated in a hundred-year-old wooden house.

NAOSHIMA BATH : It is possible to take a bath in this unusual sento with kitsch, colorful and non-minimalist design by Shinro Ohtake.

Naoshima bath

 

MIYANOURA GALLERY 6 : designed by architect Taira Nishizawa. I hear it’s closed right now (but between us, is this information really useful in our current situation?)

 

Eating in Naoshima

CHICHU CAFE : No real time to try restaurants on this island. But we chose to have lunch at the Chichu Café of the Chichi Art Museum and here is the view we had while having our meal.

This cafe offered quick but tasty lunch platters (rice pilaf with beef for my SO and a rice burger with chicken teriyaki sauce for me). Chocolate fondant and ice cream are also offered.

Here are a few other dining tracks I spotted on the island (but didn’t try):

CAFE SALON NAKA-OKU : Omurice (omelette au riz) dans une maison japonaise traditionnelle

NAOSHIMA CAFE KONICHIWA : Curry rice et risotto

MAIMAI : Burger de poisson

APRON CAFE : Produits locaux et menus de saison

 

I hope you enjoyed this visit of Naoshima island and that it will be useful if you plan to go there: I tried to detail without saying too much, to let you have the satisfaction of discovering new things if you have the chance to step on the ground of this island one day.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments anyway, I’ll be happy to help you out! See you on the next visit: Teshima Island, less popular but not less interesting, rather the opposite! (English transation by Quiterie)

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