Category Archives: Bretagne

All the Light We Cannot See and Saint-Malo, Episode 140


All the Light We Cannot See, photo of Sophie Moran

All the Light We Cannot See and Saint-Malo

If you loved the book All the Light We Cannot See by Anthoy Doerr and you are thinking of visiting the lovely city of Saint-Malo where a lot of the book takes place, this episode is exactly up your alley.

In this episode, Sophie Moran, an Australian native who recently moved to France for work, shares how she spent a week-end exploring the Saint-Malo area, especially as it relates to the book.

Warning, the episode spills the beans about what happens in the book. If you don’t want to hear the spoilers, skip between 4’50” and 17′.

Hotels recommended by Sophie in this episode: Château Hôtel du Colombier (her favorite), Grand Hotel des Thermes (also a Spa).

Recommended Crêperie: Le Corps de Garde, you must call to reserve a day or two before you go.

Here’s the PDF from the Saint-Malo Tourism office with maps and everything!

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

If you enjoyed this episode, you should also listen to Normandy and WWII Trip Report, Episode 116;  Bayeux in Normandy, Episode 38; and Gulf of Morbihan, Episode 123.

Episode Highlights with Time Stamps

  • All the Light We Cannot See summary and map, CONTAINS SPOILERS! [4’50”] To skip the spoilers skip to 17′
  • Sophie Moran introduces herself and her experience moving to France from Australia [17’43”]
  • What makes Saint-Malo so special and why this novel is such a great book [21’40”]
  • [23’20”] The places in Saint-Malo that have to do with All the Light We Cannot See
  • Jacques Cartier, Bastion de la Hollande, and the European discovery of Canada [25′]
  • Pirate History in Saint-Malo, the difference between a pirate and a corsaire, and Surcouf  [26’40”]
  • A week-end in Saint-Malo and neighboring area [28′]
  • Review of the Château Hôtel du Colombier, Sophie found it to be a charming and intimate hotel with 15 rooms, also offered one of the best meals she’s had in France [28’20”]
  • Cycling on the beach starting at the Paramé neighborhood in Saint-Malo, aka plage de Rochebonne [30’30”]
  • Visit to Dinan, gorgeous medieval city with a beautiful château and sweeping views [32’30”]
  • Mont-Saint-Michel is only an hour or so from Saint-Malo, you can visit both in the same trip [32’30]
  • Review of the Grand Hotel des Thermes, large and popular Spa. More expensive than the previous hotel and not as homey [34′]
  • Visit to Dinard, a popular resort from the 20s. Their art deco style changing rooms on the beach and the lovely houses. Great cliff walks. [36’20]
  • One of the things that makes this area great is that there are so many wonderful things to do and see close to Saint-Malo [38′]
  • Great shopping in this area, especially in Dinan and Saint-Malo [38’45”]
  • Back to the novel, rue Vauborel. All the houses in Saint-Malo were rebuilt in a similar style, so you can imagine the novel anywhere you go [39′]
  • Hôtel des Abeilles, it is close to the Bastion de la Hollande [42′]
  • There are many grottos along the beach [445’52”]
  • The effect of tides in Saint-Malo [45’46”]
  • Sea-water swimming pool outside the ramparts [46’23”]
  • Bakery where Marie-Laure goes on rue de Dinan [47’12”]
  • Things you may want to visit in Saint-Malo even if you have no interest in the novel All the Light We Cannot See [48’45”]
    • Bastion de la Hollande is part of the ramparts, take an hour or so to walk around the ramparts, the Bastion itself is a park area.
    • You can visit the Pirate Museum, in French Demeure de Corsaire
    • Aquarium in Saint-Malo [53’53”]
    • Museum of the city of Saint-Malo,  Frégate Corsaire [54’05”]
    • Maison du Québec in Saint-Malo [55’03”]
    • Musée Jacques Cartier in Saint-Malo [55’17”]
  • Food in Saint-Malo: Galettes, sea food, hard cider [49’51”]
  • How cider is served: mugs, cider streams, brut vs doux  [52’24”]
  • Sophie also visited the Golfe du Morbihan after she heard our episode about it, she especially enjoyed Vannes.
  • Sophie compares life in France to life in Germany [59’31”]
  • In Brittany people all keep their houses in great shape [62′]
  • Weather in Saint-Malo, you may need a yellow “ciré” (rain-coat) [63′]

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Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany, Episode 123

Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany

Malestroit, Morbihan photo Pierre Guezingar, Gulf of Morbihan
Malestroit, Morbihan photo Pierre Guezingar.

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The Gulf of Morbihan in Southern Brittany is some of the most beautiful coastline anywhere in France.  Elyse knows the place well because her husband’s family owns a home right on the Gulf of Morbihan and they have been there many times. Today we talk about what she loves about the area:

  • The ocean, ports and boats
  • Wild beaches and tides
  • Crêpes,  galettes, and other Breton foods with strange names
  • Muscadet wine and hard cider
  • Dolmens,  menhir and other pre-historic attractions

At the end of the episode Annie and Elyse reminisce about crazy things they as older teenagers, and–you’re not going to believe this if you’ve been following the show for a long time–Elyse doesn’t have a museum to recommend in the area. Shocking!

Visiting Brittany? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Gulf of Morbihan, Southern Brittany, Port-Navalo, Belle-Île-en-Mer, Presqu’île de Rhuyz, Île Houeic, Île-d’Houat, Locmariaquer, Côte Sauvage, Quiberon, Île-aux-Moines, Château de Sucinio (in a town called Sarzeau), Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuyz, Carnac, and Auray.


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Six Easy Day Trips from Paris, Episode 106

Kim Henry guest of episode 106, day trips from Paris
Our guest Kim Henry with the Mont-Saint-Michel in the background.


Day trips from Paris

This episode goes into 6 day trips you can easily do from Paris with a little planning and a hunger to see new things. This advice is perfect for people who are staying in Paris and would like to venture out but are unsure how to go about it. Guest Kim Henry tells us how she organized her day trips and shares her advice. It’s important to note that Kim doesn’t speak a lot of French, yet she’s able to get around without much trouble at all. She tells us about her visit to Nancy, Château Malmaison, Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint-Michel, Dinan, Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, and Reims.

Paris Hotel Recommendation from Kim: I stayed at the Hôtel West-End Rue Clement Marot in the 8th, it was very close to Avenue Montaigne and the Champs Elysee and importantly, close to 2 metro stations.  I actually did loads of walking from my hotel over to the 7th, 9th, and 1st districts, it wasn’t far from the Seine either. Yes, I would highly recommend this hotel, the staff were lovely and upgraded me to a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower as I was staying 8 nights.

Places Mentioned on the Show: Nancy, Château Malmaison, Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint-Michel, Dinan, Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, and Reims.


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