I went to Brittany’s magical St Malo in an off season (late fall) and loved the area. My journey was before the Internet was widely used and prior to cell phones, hence, no Trip Advisor or other on-line travel guides. It was a marvelous experience exploring the city and its environs, using my very basic French plus a small French phrase book.
Each morning, I’d walk along the shore, smell the sea air and be immersed in the fog and dampness. You can walk to two little islands at low tide. Note: always check the tides ~ or you will get stuck there!. Later, walk about and explore the ramparts which surround the old town.
Walking about the cobbled streets of the old town, I discovered several marvelous restaurants. One in particular was special. It has a blazing fireplace and an enticing menu. The Quiche as I recall was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. The red wine was terrific as was the dessert: a fabulous meringue pie with Calvados. The atmosphere was quiet and I marveled as I was able to understand other customers speaking French (unlike in Paris where everyone spoke very rapidly). An elderly lady entered and the staff immediately went to greet her and assist her to a table. That simple gesture is a favorite memory of St Malo and its’ wonderful people which has stayed with me for more than twenty five years.
Other restaurants were also very good as were the local wines and desserts and pastries. The Breton crepes are every bit as delicious as you imagine. The word sublime comes to mind.
I took a local bus to Mont- St- Michel and spent most of the day exploring this spectacular place. The medieval religious and military architecture is amazing. The view from the top of the Abbey is incredible and well worth the long walk. I had a late lunch (fabulous pate and local red wine) on site. Going off season the weather may not be great (it was foggy and damp) but it’s also not crowded. It is a must-see on your visit to France and yes, it is very crowded in the summer months.
Working for the airlines and flying stand-by, I took many vacations off-season which I grew to appreciate. I shudder when I see photos of long lines of people waiting to get into museums or top attractions. It is so much more enjoyable to travel off-season … true, the parks may not have flowers but … it’s a trade-off … and you, fellow traveler have to decide your priorities.
Travel well and often.