Monday, February 25, 2013

France, Day 10, 8/31/2012

We have a busy day. We go to a laundromat, where the proprietor, who happens to be there painting the walls, gives us directions in English. (And we needed them, too! It was a very confusing laundromat.) While our clothes wash and dry, we have coffee at le Bar Tarmac (it had an airplane theme), and then go see the old town's ramparts. They aren't as massive as Saint-Malo's, but they're impressive nonetheless. We hike up Mont-Frugy (not a real mountain) looking for a nice place to picnic, but we come back down and eat at its foot when we can't find a sunny spot. After lunch, we look at some pottery (Quimper has been a center of pottery for a long time) and check out the 11th century church of Locmaria.

Outside of Locmaria.

A stream in Quimper.

After another stroll around the old town, we go to the Breton museum and see art, artifacts, clothes, and furniture from Brittany, from prehistoric times to the 1920s. We stop at a bar with lots of Breton beers, and we both get little, 1/4-liter glasses.

For dinner, we go to Chez Max, a very nice looking bistro hidden in a courtyard. When we ask the server what something is on the menu, she brings over an English speaking waitress who tells us (it was clams). Unfortunately, she then proceeds to translate the rest of the menu for us at length. We share six stuffed clams, chewy but delicious. I get a faux-filet (beef tenderloin?), also chewy but delicious, and it comes with a sauce that seems to be roasted garlic and other vegetables in oil. It also comes with fries, excellent roasted vegetables (zucchini and carrots), and a little salad. Lindsay gets moules frites, which are much worse than the muscles we've been eating, fishier and not as sweet. We swap halfway through as usual.

For dessert, I get a pear with Fourme d'Ambert, a truly delicious blue cheese that I ate twice a day last year in Saint-Flour. The pear is whole and is baked in a thin crunchy sheet of pastry, along with the cheese. It's not sweet at all—in fact, it comes with a salad. It would have been nicer with some element of sweetness, whether honey or just a riper pear. Lindsay gets the Breton cake with a scoop of buckwheat and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Our waitress dutifully translated all the ice cream flavors for us, something not exactly required for words like vanille and chocolat. The cake is dense and dry—I've never had a gateau Breton before, so I'm not a good judge, but I don't think it was supposed to be so dry—but the ice cream is delicious.

No comments: