Finding myself with a weekend and no work, I decided I would make the effort to explore a bit of France. I found the website To Be Erasmus in Paris*, and saw they were offering a very reasonably priced weekend in Normandy / Brittany for Erasmus students.
So, bleary eyed at 8am on Saturday morning, I headed to Porte Maillot to meet the group and start the weekend. There was a great mix of all nationalities and with everyone being around the same age it was a great weekend for making friends.
We first headed to Honfleur, where we had some time to explore the little port town and buy some lunch in the market there. It’s a really pretty town, with colourful terraced houses overlooking the port. Next we headed to Deauville, which (possibly due to the torrential rain) wasn’t my favourite place. This is the place to be in the Summer, a kind of St Tropez up North, with its long beach and town filled with expensive boutiques and restaurants. Not somewhere fora budget conscious tourist!
That afternoon we drove on to Saint Malo. We had a little time to wander around the town and look at the shops selling Breton cidre and salted caramel goodies (definitely overindulged that weekend). That evening we ate at Le Licorne – an amazing crepe restaurant in the historic centre, really good prices and delicious food – also the waiters dress up in white dungarees and striped Breton t shirts which is quite fun. Then it was back to the hotel (we stayed in the Ibis budget hotel a little walk from the historic centre, which I would definitely recommend).
The next day (after a massive breakfast – included in the room price) we walked back to the historic centre, and had a lovely walk around the ramparts. Saint Malo is an old fortified town and the ramparts are still in place enclosing it all. You get a lovely view over the beach and sea, and the weather was perfect. We had a little stop off on the beach, then accidentally found ourselves back at the crepe restaurant for a mid morning snack (the smarties crepe was incredible).
Next it was on to Mont Saint Michel. When you arrive, the car park is a short distance away, you either take a shuttle bus or walk for about 30 minutes, which I would recommend for the great views. Mont Saint Michel was really lovely, it’s very small and is a complete tourist trap with over priced restaurants and tacky tourist shops, but the Abbey at the top is worth a visit and the views are breathtaking.
So all in all, an action packed weekend but definitely some great places to visit. Brittany and Normandy are definitely home to some of the best food in France, and the cider is delicious. Be prepared to eat a lot if you ever find yourself there…!!
*To Be Erasmus in Paris is aimed at young people living in Paris, and they organise nights out and trips around France and Europe. It’s a realyl great way to explore different places without spending a ridiculous amount of money, and a perfect way to make new friends (which in Paris can sometimes be quite difficult).