I have had the perfect holiday. I spent two weeks in Kerlouan at the beach, and a week in Paris. It gave me a taste of France I will not forget.
The two weeks were spent with Marc’s family. They have a beautiful house in Bretagne (Brittany), the north-west province of France. There is a small commune called Kerlouan, about 40 minutes from Brest, where we resided. This village stretched out between the coast and the farmlands.
It was a special kind of place. The locals called it ‘Finistere’, meaning “the end of the world”, as there is nothing further north or west belonging to Europe. It’s a quaint place. The towns here overlap. I was not sure where one ended, and another began. Towns were separated only by farmland, or the farms were broken by towns. Either way, they stretched like a patchwork quilt over the French landscape. As you pass by you can see bright orange pumpkins growing in a backyard patch.
Hedges grow tall, and maize grows taller. But when the fields are open, the clusters of houses simmer in the sunlight like pearls, offering a sheen to onlookers. The aluminium windows also glint in the sun, adding to the underwater feel. It is rare to have the sea open on your right and farmland on your left – but here it works well together. I guess that means the people of Kerlouan get the best of both worlds.
There is something so small town and homely about this place. It reminds me of where I grew up. It is the kind of town where everyone knows everyone. And everyone is friendly. “Bonjour” echoes through the streets on a regular basis.
Now and then neighbours would bring freshly caught fish to share, or some vibrant vegetables for the table. It got to a point where we ran out of fridge space and were forced on a strict fish diet. Not that I minded, I have been thriving on the pescatarian diet.
There is always something to be done, but never too much. Mornings I would spend working; then we would meet for lunch at 12 pm sharp. It was usually one or other amazing sea food dish that Martina whipped up, accompanied by wine or water. The afternoons were spent not too far away. We lived right on the water’s edge, and the beach was on the other side of the little coastal road. Around 3 pm a volleyball game would roll out with a local crowd, and proceed for hours. Evenings were for drinks and company, and lavish dinners. Night time was for horror films. And the next day we would start again.