Wednesday, August 29, 2018

If I had the opportunity, I would return to the picture-perfect village of Saint-Suliac on a sunny day and photograph every nook and cranny.

Unfortunately, our recent trip to the Brittany coast of France coincided with typical British weather. We experienced overcast, grey skies and several rain downpours, but that didn’t prevent us from exploring several of the French seaside villages.

Had it not been for our French friend, we would have missed visiting Saint-Suliac, which is rated as a Le Plus Beaux Villages de France (a top honor for the most beautiful villages in the country of which there are 150 or so. Remember that we saw some of these villages during our Provence trip too?). Saint-Suliac is a charming fishing village filled with stunning stone houses dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. It’s the perfect village simply to wander aimlessly about with your good friends and dream about which house you want to buy. What do you think?


How this village survived World War II without being severely demolished is surprising! I guess it didn’t serve as a major port like nearby Saint-Malo, which is why approximately 80 percent of that city was destroyed. (When the American troops landed in Brittany in 1944, St. Malo was heavily defended and guarded by 12,000 German troops.) Although Saint-Malo has been restored to its previous medieval glory, that city is much too touristy for my liking.

Situated on the Rance River estuary, Saint Suliac served as an ideal outpost for the Vikings in the 10th century as they ventured off on fishing expeditions and raids; and remains of old Viking-era ships and a fortress were discovered here. Local men continued to fish off the coast of Newfoundland for many years, and a statue of the Virgin of Grainfollet was placed on a hill to watch over these fishermen. Today, you’ll still find many small fishing boats in the harbour as well as fishing nets covering the walls throughout the village. How cute are these houses?
The statue of Virgin of Grainfollet is located on the hillside in the distance.
As we wandered down the network of narrow lanes - the ruettes – which veer off the main street heading down to the harbour, I found myself stopping to take photographs of everything. I love old doors, windows and brightly-colored wooden shutters. However, the rain was against me; and I had a darling eight-year-old that wanted to play photographer with my nearly 2 kilo camera as well.
In the middle of the village, we discovered one of the oldest churches of Brittany. The Church of Saint-Suliac was built in the 13th century and has some pretty stained-glass windows inside. The village itself has religious beginnings because in 560, a Welsh monk named Tysilio (or Suliau) – later called Suliac – founded a monastery and chapel here, which was the first church in the village.
If you get hungry, Saint-Suliac has a couple of restaurants, a creperie or two and a patisserie. But beware of Sundays because most places were closed, and others required reservations. 

Luckily, we found a free outdoor table under the large terrace at la ferme du boucanier so we could escape the rain. I didn’t even realize that this restaurant had a 2018 Michelin guide plate recognition until after we had already ordered our lunch. The food was good (maybe not so pretty to look at), and the desserts were even better especially the Breton flaky pastry known as kouign amann that was served with salted caramel and Chantilly cream. To. Die. For. Plus, the service was lovely…always a plus when you sometimes encounter surly Frenchies in the country.
If you find yourself near Saint-Malo, do yourself a favor and take a detour to Saint-Suliac  where you will find a preserved village of weathered houses with colourful shutters – a photographer’s dream.

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