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On my footsteps

Back to the Middle Age in Britanny

FRANCE | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [147] | Scholarship Entry

I'll never forget the day that I visited France for the first time. It was also my first trip abroad and as a brazilian girl grown in the countryside I was really excited.
The trip started in Britanny, a small region north-west of France, dominated by a tradicional and strong culture. The feeling is so strong that if you ask a local his nationality he will answer “Breton”, before saying that he is french. Colonized by the british and irish people, the region was attached to France but kept a strong cultural influence of these countries. Since Marie-France, my mother in law, lives in Saint Malo, a litorean city that you can reach by train just two hours from Paris, it would be easier to organize ourselves from there. After flying for more than 15 hours, me, my french husband and our four kids landed in Charles de Gaulle's airport, in a chilly afternoon of June, when the end of spring still colors the landscape. Saint Malo, at the first sight seems to be a normal litorean city, but when you get into the historical center, in a place known as “Intramuros”, it’s like going back to the Middle Age and to the corsairs times: small streets in stone, surrounded by narrow stairs, make you feel that time stopped there, but the city was rebuilt after World War two although it's still possible to identify the original style of the houses, made in a special way of wood joints and stones. Strait corridors bring you to the Cathédrale St-Vincent, where the legendary pirate René Duguay-Trouin is burried and where you can see a homage to the french explorer Jacques Cartier. Going up the surrounding wall it's possible to see the road which brings to the island of Grand Bé, the place where François-René de Chateaubriand is burried facing the sea. If you are hungry, you’d better stop in one of the several pubs. Specially La Java, a “bistrot” decorated with old dolls and post cards. Ask a galette with kir breton, with homemade cider and cassis. To live 3 weeks with my whole family in this medieval place of France was an amazing experience. Three days before coming back, a surprise! Staying in Paris would contrast with the atmosphere from Saint Malo. Shops, museums, restaurants and all the urban life that explodes in the most popular city of France. From watching the Eiffel Tower at night to taking a free self-guided tour by the historic Jewish neighborhood, Paris goes from the tradicional to the modern culture, as a cosmopolitan place made for all tastes.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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