Bretons and Normans share much. They both live in places with long and often crinkle-cut coastlines, by turns beguiling and savage. Both have a marked taste for shellfish, cider and butter. Boy, do they like butter. A serving of Breton kouign aman cake fulfils your cholesterol needs for a decade. They have the same colour scheme – grey and green through white and blue, with a constantly changing sky. And both have deep, ambiguous links with the British Isles. In Brittany, it's the early-established Celtic connection, though that didn't stop their corsair ports playing merry hell with our shipping a few centuries on. Meanwhile, the Norman invasion of England permitted "William the Bastard" to become "the Conqueror". The invasion, of course, went the other way in 1944. Ties with both regions are thus not only historic but also emotional. The D-Day beaches exert an enormous power as, in a quite different register, does the Interceltic Festival at Lorient, where our fringe … [Read more...] about Normandy or Brittany – which is better?
Normandy and brittany
On July 12, French health authorities released shocking figures aimed at grabbing the attention of holidaymakers, in particular parents and people who are not strong swimmers. From June 1st to July 5th 2018, there were 121 fatal drownings around France, as well as 552 accidents linked to swimming. Most of these accidents involved children, such as the tragic case of three young siblings who wanted to cool their legs in a man-made lake in central France, but slipped in and drowned. But the risk of drowning exists even for the strongest of swimmers; it all depends on their ability to foresee potential dangers in different types of swimming locations. For instance, the Mediterranean sea takes the lives of more French swimmers than the Atlantic Ocean, and yet the latter’s tides are stronger and generally considered more treacherous. Here we take a look at the different types of precautions to keep in mind while holidaying anywhere near water in France. At sea … [Read more...] about The dangers of swimming in France’s seas, lakes, rivers and pools you need to know about
There were almost 250,000 burglaries in France in 2017, 2 percent up on the previous year although not quite as high as in 2013. There was also roughly the same number of failed break-ins, taking the total of attempted and completed burglaries to 470,000. That’s according to France Interior Ministry’s yearly crime index study, which The Local has had access to. The report also highlights that an unfortunate 30,000 properties were burgled more than once over the course of 2017. But not all departments across l’Héxagone are affected equally. First we look at those areas that have the highest burglary rates, which we calculated by comparing the total number of burglaries to the number of homes in the department. Where did most burglaries happen in France? And there was a rather surprising name at the top of the table. Haute-Garonne, in southwest France, was the department that experienced the highest number of burglaries per number of households in 2017: … [Read more...] about Where in France are you most (and least) likely to be burgled?
MENUS are usually things you quickly scan before discarding, that you spill red wine on, or fold up to stabilise a wobbly table leg. For Co Down-born food writer Diana Henry, though, menus are so much more than that, and not purely the domain of restaurants either."At the weekend, I've always got friends calling me asking, 'Di, what can I do for a starter that's really quick?' or they'll have decided on the main course but will say, 'What can I do for a pudding?'"I'm always telling people what goes with what," she explains. "I love the challenge of standing in the greengrocer's and putting things together."A resource not just to her friends, the Sunday Telegraph and Waitrose Weekend writer's new cookbook, How To Eat A Peach, combines her love of matching ingredients with planning meals. "I love putting menus together for no reason whatsoever," Henry says, remembering how she'd jot down food plans as a teenager, filling a 'fantasy' notebook with meals she'd cook in an ideal … [Read more...] about Diana Henry on the joy of writing menus and travelling through food
But in the not too distant future, you might well find bottles of Brittany red or white wine in your local supermarket. Does it sound too far-fetched? Vineyards are already appearing all over Brittany. For centuries, wine growing in Brittany has been almost impossible due to the Atlantic winds and rain and the lack of sunlight making the climate too cold and severe for any vines to grow properly. Although things were different many hundreds of years ago when monks used to cultivate wine on the land, before cold spells in the middle ages severely affected the vineyards and surge of maritime commerce and farmers moving to produce cider put an end to Brittany's wine production. But Brittany’s climate is changing and people are starting making the most of the opportunity by growing grapes. "Global warming is a big reason why there are more vineyards here than there used to be," Jérôme Dreano from local weather agency Météo Bretagne told The … [Read more...] about Move over Bordeaux: Could Brittany soon rule France’s wine map?