"I Know What You're Going To Say" - France Sept 2019 - Update 10/20 Bayeux Tapestry

Dis_Yoda

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Vannes

We got ready and had our luggage waiting by the door as required at 8:30AM. We headed upstairs for breakfast where I had more bread, butter and prosciutto. My husband tried their eggs and was not a happy camper. He really should know better about eggs in European countries.

At 9:30AM, we headed onto the bus to head into Vannes for our walking tour followed by free time to explore or shop. Vannes started its journey as a trade city back when the Celtic people settled the area. Eventually the Romans overtook the area until the fall of Rome and eventually the Britons fleeing Britain settled. The whole Dark Ages happened and then we reach the middle ages where the Dukes of Brittany lived during the 1200s to 1500s before becoming a palace in the 1600s.


Saint-Vincent Gate







Original Bath House

It is full of historic 14th and 15th century timber homes that looks like they are going to fall over but won’t.



Timber Houses









Once we reached the center of town, we were told we had about 90 minutes of free time to explore as we wish, grab food for lunch and shop. We decided to skip looking inside the church as well, we aren’t church people and we had seen a lot so far this trip and knew we had more to see.


15th Century Sculpture

While shopping, I picked up my mother her gifts of the trip - a piece of slate that was hand painted with a lighthouse along with a wooden lighthouse. We got some cookies and sweets to bring back home as gifts for our coworkers. We also each got a pastry from a local shoppe to enjoy. For our lunch, I picked up some cheese while my husband got some bread as we planned on eating on the bus as we head to our next stop. It was market day so there were tons of vendors out and about.



At 12:15pm, we met back up with our guide to head to another Chateau and some creepy guests.​
 

Dis_Yoda

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Chateau Josselin

On our drive towards Josselin, we stopped in Guehenno to visit St Peter’s Church graveyard for a leg stop. It has the Calvary of Guehenno on display which survived extreme damage to it in 1794 during the French Revolution and is classified as one of the seven great calvaries of Brittany.





Church Stop - Unbaptized Children



After our 15 minute visit, we continued towards Josselin.


Josselin Castle



At Josselin, we got a private tour of the ground floor of the chateau but we were not allowed to take any photos inside due to ‘insurance’ reasons as it is still an active residence for the Duke of Rohan (former president of Brittany)





The chateau was originally built in 1008 as it provided a great view of the river so the location was great for military and trade. It was destroyed again in the late 1100s before it was rebuilt in 1370 where 8 towers and a 100 yard keep were constructed. In 1488, the Duke of Brittany took over but his daughter Anne of Brittany (the one that was the queen consort of France twice) returned it back to the Rohan family and in turn, they added facades to the building to include a sculpted letter A under a cord in her honor. More history stuff happened but the chateau was used as a prison during the French Revolution and a Nazi headquarter area during the World War II occupation.






After our time around the Chateau, we were taken to the Josselin Doll Museum. It contains a collection of over 3,000 dolls, some of which date back to the 1600s.









We headed back to our bus to adventure onwards!​
 

2xcited2sleep

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Wow!! I'm so impressed by your tour. All of the accommodations look amazing as do most of the meals -- including your DIY balcony meal of french bread and rose! Seems like a good blend of group and on your own time as well. I'm definitely putting this or ABD on my bucket list behind Aulani/Hawaii, which I think is next on my list. I remember loving your report on Hawaii as well!
 
  • kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    How did I not know your dog was a Newfie? My husband grew up with those. It was too much hair and drool for me with that size so instead we have the 90 lb Rhodesian Ridgeback. I bet the Newfie would have been easier to train since it doesn't have that hound independence!
    Ours isn't a bad drooler but the hair is pretty bad. We had two but lost our other one last year. This one is almost 12 which is pretty unheard of but he's hanging in there. And they were pretty easy to train. They are not known for being smart dogs and are not independent so you can just fill the little brain they have with good. I can't fathom not having another Newfie, but pretty sure we won't go that route because its so hard to get them around when they are old. We had to find a vet that charges out the wazoo just to come to the house and see him.

    We got some cookies and sweets to bring back home as gifts for our coworkers. We also each got a pastry from a local shoppe to enjoy. For our lunch, I picked up some cheese while my husband got some bread as we planned on eating on the bus as we head to our next stop. It was market day so there were tons of vendors out and about.

    I can only fathom how amazing it would be to wander through a french market and see all the sites and smells. I would be in cheese and pastry heaven.

    After our time around the Chateau, we were taken to the Josselin Doll Museum. It contains a collection of over 3,000 dolls, some of which date back to the 1600s.

    Nothing says France like a creepy doll museum :D
     

    TeeterTots

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 9, 2014
    oh my goodness, I stopped receiving update notifications on my phone. grrr. what a lovely trip. everything looks simply amazing.
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Wow!! I'm so impressed by your tour. All of the accommodations look amazing as do most of the meals -- including your DIY balcony meal of french bread and rose! Seems like a good blend of group and on your own time as well. I'm definitely putting this or ABD on my bucket list behind Aulani/Hawaii, which I think is next on my list. I remember loving your report on Hawaii as well!
    It is a good blend of group and on your own time. Some of the walking tours were optional to join in on so if you wanted more on your own time you could do it. I'm glad we found Tauck when the ABD we wanted didn't work out date wise as I think they work better for me. Yay for finally doing Aulani! I just booked my mother for 2 nights there in May as her birthday present. Luckily it was on points :).

    Ours isn't a bad drooler but the hair is pretty bad. We had two but lost our other one last year. This one is almost 12 which is pretty unheard of but he's hanging in there. And they were pretty easy to train. They are not known for being smart dogs and are not independent so you can just fill the little brain they have with good. I can't fathom not having another Newfie, but pretty sure we won't go that route because its so hard to get them around when they are old. We had to find a vet that charges out the wazoo just to come to the house and see him.
    I know that hair problem! It is hard to get them around as their older. I know at least with the ridgebacks - I can easily lift half of their body into the car and then lift the second half if they don't want in. They are really good dogs :) At least my Ridgebacks keep me on my toes!

    I can only fathom how amazing it would be to wander through a french market and see all the sites and smells. I would be in cheese and pastry heaven.
    So much cheese, pastries, veggies, meats...live chickens (that they will kill for you), mattresses, belts and basically anything you would ever want. It is so interesting.

    Nothing says France like a creepy doll museum :D
    I was hoping for creepier...I wanted some Chucky level chills!

    oh my goodness, I stopped receiving update notifications on my phone. grrr. what a lovely trip. everything looks simply amazing.
    Thank you! It was such a great trip. I'm glad we blew our budget to make this happen :).
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    St Malo Arrival

    In a little under 2 hours, we pulled up to St. Malo. Along the way, our guide talked to us about the region some. Saint Malo was a popular sea trade location and has lots of history of piracy. It also has huge tides known for the French beaches along the English Channel (although not as bad as Mont St Michel which we would be visiting the next day) Our guide also let us know that our hotel had an Aquatonic spa which had 19 different stations set up as a salt water labyrinth to help promote relaxation, muscle tone and blood circulation. We also picked our dinner time (we picked the latest one again)


    Guide in Swim Cap[/b]

    We arrived around 5:30pm and headed to our room at the Grand Hotel des Thermes once we were given our keys. Our room overlooked the ocean which was great but what really was the win of the view was the room below us. They had an 11 week old golden retriever puppy with them and they were playing fetch with the dog on the fenced in patio for those ground floor rooms. Adorable!







    Vannes Purchases

    My husband saw there was a paved boardwalk in front of the hotel and decided to go for a run. I decided to go down to the Aquatonic to experience it. I discovered that my weight loss means that my swimsuit doesn’t fit as well and I quickly had a saggy bum but at least that's a good problem to have! (It also gave me something easy to throw out to shed luggage wet when we flew home)


    Dis_Yoda in her swim cap

    After our respective exercises, we cleaned up and headed to the bar for a drink. My whiskey sour was exactly what I wanted and my husband enjoyed his mojito. The bar snacks were just ok but we knew we had dinner coming up quickly so it was all good. The piano player was also excellent!


    Bar Snacks


    Whiskey Sour


    Mojito


    Piano Bar

    A little before 8PM, we headed to Le Cap Horn for Dinner. We ended up dining with the couple from Ohio whose husband was a retired aerospace engineer from a company that my old job used to work with so conversation was easy flowing! Our table also really offended the table next to ours. During Tauck-covered dinners, the guide stops by to make sure all is going well and to make sure everyone knows what's going on for the next day or if we have questions/concerns. We were talking normally and the table by the window had already finished their dessert. Well, during our conversation, they took their plates and stormed over to the hostess as it was ruining their meal. Come to find out later - they were a table that were trying to seek a free meal or something as they had already been moved 2 times and complained a lot. You can’t please everyone!

    Our amuse bouche was extremely refreshing way to start the meal. Unfortunately, they didn’t explain what the dish was when it was given to us. The wife of the couple we were dining with is allergic to cantaloupe but luckily only had taken a small sip when we determined what it was.


    Cantaloupe Soup Amuse Bouche

    My husband and I both got the same starter. We really enjoyed the lobster salad as the meat was tender and the meal felt light even though it looks heavy.


    Lobster Salad

    I went with the Turbot as when you are by the beach, why not enjoy a lovely fish? I really enjoyed the flakey and meatiness of this fish. Not sure how well the red wine sauce went with it but I still enjoyed it all.


    Grilled Fillet of Turbot with Red Wine Sauce

    My husband switched things up and went with the pork dish. He absolutely loved this dish as well. The pork was tender and the potato/apple cake was a hit as well.


    Filet of Pork w/ Smoked Bacon Served with Apples, Cider and Calvados Sauce

    One of our servers came by after the entrees were cleared and brought the cheese slate to our table. He was fun in his jokingly sad manner when we all declined some cheese as we were full. We had to wait a bit for dessert to come due to some issues with not enough servers for the dining room with all the presentations needed (cheese and desserts) but that ended up ok.

    I had gotten the Grand Marnier Crepe as it is such a classic French dessert, I knew I needed to get at least one here! There was a lot of meringue with it too which helped balance the orange flavors.




    Orange Hot Crepe Souffle flamed with Grand Marnier

    My husband got the Breton Cake which was one of the lighter options. He really enjoyed this as well but he wished it was a bit warmer as that would have been a bit better.


    Breton Caramelized Cake Served with Buttermilk Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

    As we hadn’t eaten enough, we were given additional sweet treats before we left our table for the evening. The eclairs were the best of the two options.


    Treats

    We had another one of our liquors to try out since we only got two glasses of wine at dinner. We thought this was terrible and quickly poured it out.


    After Dinner Drink
     
  • KenyaSierra

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2012
    Where are you date wise in your trip report? I’m loving it but also dying to hear what you thought about DLP. I’m pretty sure I saw Mr. DY during the half marathon on the out and back section- he was coming back as I was going out, so miles ahead of me!
     

    kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    Cause swim caps on a bus makes complete sense

    Gorgeous view!!!!


    Dis_Yoda in her swim cap
    Did you steal the cap off the tour guides head?

    Come to find out later - they were a table that were trying to seek a free meal or something as they had already been moved 2 times and complained a lot. You can’t please everyone!
    :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: They sound absolutely lovely

    Wow, this looks and sounds amazing. I don't think I've ever had one of those but would be so all over it
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Where are you date wise in your trip report? I’m loving it but also dying to hear what you thought about DLP. I’m pretty sure I saw Mr. DY during the half marathon on the out and back section- he was coming back as I was going out, so miles ahead of me!
    I'm about to post half of Day 9 of our 19 day trip. I had hoped to be moving along faster but this past week has been crazy busy with watching another person's dog and my dog recovering from his neutering. I need to step it up!

    My husband did well at the Half considering he was under trained and full of French food & wine. There were some things I liked about DLP and some things I didn't.

    Cause swim caps on a bus makes complete sense
    All for the fun!

    Gorgeous view!!!!
    It was my favorite view of the trip!

    Did you steal the cap off the tour guides head?
    Nope! I now own two of those sexy things as they had them for us in the room!

    :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: They sound absolutely lovely
    I wouldn't want to live their life.

    Wow, this looks and sounds amazing. I don't think I've ever had one of those but would be so all over it
    So good! You would love it. It isn't too sweet which made me happy!
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Mont St Michel

    When I woke up this morning, I headed to breakfast alone. I got some bread, butter, and pineapple. All parts of a good breakfast!

    We all met up at the bus at 8:15AM and no one was late! We headed out for our hour and a half drive from St Malo to Mont St Michel. It was a foggy morning as we pulled into the bus parking area.



    After a bathroom stop, we headed by tram to the island. A few years ago they built a bridge so that people can visit the island no matter the tidal situation. (Although the bridge has flooded a couple times thanks to climate changes) It is still possible to walk to the island and we saw a group of them doing the trek. It is recommended that you have a guide as some of the sand is quicksand and can harm you. They apparently have a helicopter during the main pilgrimage week to quickly assist those attempting it without a guide.






    At the island, we met a local guide who was able to take us up the island on the lesser traveled path rather than the crowded main street that heads to the Abbey. We started our walk uphill and it wasn’t long before we stopped along the ramparts to discuss the history of the island. It has had a monastery since 8th Century where the island was set up with the abbey at the top, great halls below, stores/houses and then fishermen/farmers outside of the walls. Legend is that a bishop from a nearby town was visited by the Archangel Michael to have a church in this location and thus why there is a gold statue of Michael was added on top of the spire in the late 1800s.






    We continued to climb up the stairs and hills until we made it to Abbey.






    It took some members of our group a bit of time for the last set of stairs but overall, I found it to be actually not that bad. Our guide had built it up that if we needed to stop or bow out of the tour, it would be ok as she knew the incline and steps could be too much for people. Maybe because of that build up, I was expecting worse. I also realize we’re not the typical clients so maybe it's also that too. Outside of the abbey, you could see markings on the stones. Back then, the brickmakers were paid by piece so they had their own marks to show which bricks were theirs. The triangle guy had a lot!



    We then entered the abbey. At this time, there are only 4 monks and 7 nuns living there of a different order than the Benedict Monks but they do service 4 times a day. The main church was built in the Romanesque style and the lower level halls and crypts were built to support the church on top and took many years to build. After a fire, Gothic architecture was used to finish it along with adding the refectory and cloister. In 1791, the abbey was closed and it was used as a prison until 1863 which unfortunately ended up with the loss of many of the original stained glass, historical books, etc. They worked on fixing the abbey up and




    Kitchen


    Cloister


    Old System for Delivering Goods




    Defaced Statue (French Revolution)


    Original Fresca

    After the end of our tour, we had some time on our own to explore the town before heading back to the bus. My husband and I did a little shopping and knew we needed to get some food. I wanted to eat a crepe which I did and my husband ordered some kind of sandwich that ended up having french fries on top of a baguette. We also got some ice cream before we met our guide at the entrance to the island where we got to watch a pilgrimage group arrive and then clean themselves off from the sand.


    Main Street


    Crepe


    Ice Cream


    Shopping Finds

    Not shocking was that at the end of time at Mont St Michel, we were missing 1 person. Yes, one of the people from my favorite family on the trip ;) Our tour guide was about to call it and leave her behind when she finally showed up. Frustrating!​
     
  • Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Walking Tour of St Malo & Dinner

    On our drive back to St Malo, we took the scenic route along the coast where we could see all the boats stranded in the sand due to it being low tide. Our guide also suggested a couple restaurants tonight by passing around a note sheet.


    Restaurant Suggestions

    We dropped people off at the hotel that didn’t feel like going on a walking tour of St Malo or even into the main town without the guide. About half of the guests opted for that option as Mont St Michel had wiped them out. We went into town with the guide to learn the history of St Malo.


    Map of St Malo


    Outside the Gates


    City Gates

    So St Malo is a really old city - the area was originally populated by the Gauls in 1st Century BC as a trading city. A fort was built to help protect the shore from invaders in the 4th Century. When the Roman Empire fell, the area took in a lot of Celtics from across the English Channel. A monastery for St Aaron and St Brendan was built in the early 6th Century. They didn’t really consider itself Breton or French but rather had an independent spirit loyal to their own town. It became notorious with pirates, even the ones working for the French government to seize ships in the area. Jacques Cartier who discovered Canada for the Europeans lived and sailed out of St Malo.

    The city was pretty badly destroyed during WWII, but you can see some of the fortresses and outposts outside the walls of the city. They rebuilt the city in 12 years after the war.









    Looking Over The Ramparts


    Important Pirate - Jacques Carties


    Sewer Manholes

    After our walk around the ramparts, our guide took us to a local Kouginamann Stand to try the signature pastry of Brittany. New York Times called it the “fattiest pastry in all of Europe” So its basically dough with lots of sugar and butter in a very layered form and the sugar is baked and turned into caramel. Like - the word actually means Cake of Butter. It was extremely rich and so good. I actually couldn’t finish it but my husband had no problem finishing his!


    Kouginamann Stand


    Fresh Kouginamann

    After our treat, our walking tour and history lessons were over. We decided to head back to the hotel as we didn’t really feel like shopping more.

    On our way back to the hotel, my husband and I got into the fight of the trip. He wanted to run again and I told him he had run too many days in a row without a break that he’s going to injure himself. He said he needed to balance out all the food and alcohol. I suggested to him that he should join me in the Aquatonic and relax his muscles. He didn’t want to do that and oh well. I would be more nervous if we didn’t fight from time to time and they tend to happen on long trips at least once.


    Hotel Icon

    When we got back to the hotel, I left him in the room and left to go to the spa. I had a wonderful hour relaxing my tired legs! I came back to the room and showered. We both were less cranky after our respective relaxations. We debated on where we would head to dinner that night and ended up deciding that Italian sounded good to break up what we have been eating. We looked up what time they opened and decided it would be a good time to walk over a little after they opened (7:00PM) and I pulled up the directions on my cell phone to screenshot on our way over. It took about 15 minutes to walk there but it was a lovely evening. When we arrived, the place looked closed. I awkwardly opened the door and scared a man seemed weirded out we arrived there. The restaurant was empty but he had to check to see if they could take us but we ended up getting a table by the front.


    Table Setting

    The menu was only in French but as it was an Italian Restaurant, we were able to figure out what to order. My husband was a little cranky about it but this wasn’t the most welcoming experience. We also got to hear all the cooking going on in the back. We just had to laugh at this point and drink our house wine we got.


    Specials

    Luckily, all the worries we had went away when we got our food. My husband was so happy with his pasta. The sauce was well made and so flavorful.


    Penne with Meat Sauce

    So I didn’t realize I was ordering spinach ravioli when my dish was served but I put that on me as I ordered it. It didn’t matter as it was so good! I’ve never been this in love with a pasta dish even when we went to Italy in 2017.


    Spinach/Cheese Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

    We settled our tab as we didn’t feel like dessert since we knew we had chocolate back in the room from our purchases in Vannes. We also had liquor to enjoy as well. We ran into our two favorite couples as we were walking back to the room as they were heading to the restaurant we just left. We were glad we timed it as well as we did! We ended up hating the liquor as it tasted medicinal so we poured it out and tried another one that was much better. We eventually called it a night before the next day’s adventures.


    Sunset


    Liquor In The Room


    More Liquor & Candy
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Wow just Wow!! You continue to amaze me with the fabulous trip!
    Thank you to continue to follow along as I slowly get through this. I need to step my game up as I'm not too far out from my November Disney Trips but I'll just do food reviews for those.
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Bayeux Tapestry

    We woke up around 7:00AM and got our luggage ready to be out of the room shortly afterwards. I headed to breakfast alone as my husband didn’t want anything. I ended up sitting with some other people from the group so at least I wasn’t alone.

    We met up with the Tauck group and everyone was on time for leaving St Malo. Our guide spoke to us about how we were leaving Brittany now and gave us a gift to remember it by. I’ve used this salt since coming home and it works well for finishing dishes!



    Brittany Salt & Salt Container

    On our way to Bayeux we were given a history lesson about William the Conqueror or William the Bastard depending on what side of history you are on. William was the son of the Duke of Normandy but as he was from the Duke’s mistress, he wasn’t considered a real heir to the title/lands but after winning the battles that raged over the issue, he kept that title. He eventually lead the charge to conquering England by killing his half brother who had been named King after the death of Edward the Confessor. WIlliam’s other half brother commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry to show William’s journey to becoming the king of England. It is unique as it is embroidered rather than woven like most tapestries. It also shows movement which was rare for art to do at that time.

    When we arrived, my husband and I noted this large sign announcing a new exhibit opening in Bayeux that day so if we had time after looking at the Tapestry, we would head that way to check it out.



    Our group headed to where the Tapestry is held so our guide could get our tickets and audio guides for us.





    So you aren’t allowed to take photos of the actual tapestry so the photos are of ones you could buy in the gift store at the end.




    We had about an hour and a half to enjoy the tapestry or we could explore Bayeux on our own some. We got through the tapestry pretty quickly as it was way too crowded in there to listen to the entire tapestry story so both of us weren’t enjoying it very much. We listened to a couple scenes but we walked through it and just enjoyed what we saw rather than needing the full lecture. It took us about 15 minutes to get through it while I know some others in the group spent up to an hour there. We decided to go see if we could check out the Game of Thrones Tapestry as today was the opening day!

    Or not…

    We walked over to explore the exhibit and were told no. It really opens tomorrow as today was Media day. Boo…don’t say you open on a day if you don’t actually open that day!






    As we had time to kill, we went to the Bayeux Cathedral even though we were kinda over seeing more Cathedrals at this time.






    What interested us in this cathedral was that the crypt was open so you could see the original frescas and tombs. We were glad we ended up getting to see these!







    We met back up with our group at the designed time as we continued on to our next location and begin the somber part of our journey into Normandy, starting with the peace museum.​
     

    kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    Wow, that is gorgeous.

    I don't even know what is in or on this crepe but I want it!

    Yes, one of the people from my favorite family on the trip ;) Our tour guide was about to call it and leave her behind when she finally showed up. Frustrating!
    What did her other half have to say if she was almost left?


    Fresh Kouginamann
    Ok skip the crepe and give me this. Fattiest pastry ever has my name written all over it

    I awkwardly opened the door and scared a man seemed weirded out we arrived there. The restaurant was empty but he had to check to see if they could take us but we ended up getting a table by the front.
    Is it wrong that I secretly hope they were still empty when you left and they wouldn't seat your favorite couples :P

    So I didn’t realize I was ordering spinach ravioli when my dish was served but I put that on me as I ordered it. It didn’t matter as it was so good! I’ve never been this in love with a pasta dish even when we went to Italy in 2017.

    Wow, a pasta dish in France better than Italy. That must have been some amazing ravioli and I'm sure a welcomed change of food.
     


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