Friday, November 4, 2011

la bretagne!


Chateau de Vitré

I returned from my little vacation for All Saint's Day a few days ago, and I couldn't be more content! This relaxing little break, after only a few weeks of work, was a wonderful opportunity for me to discover more of France, more food, and to get to know some of the friends I have made here better!

One of the French friends that I have made in Evreux moved here almost 2 years ago from Bretagne to be closer to friends. She was returning home for the break to clear out the rest of the old house that she's selling and she invited me and another friend to join her. I eagerly accepted her kind invitation, even with her warning that I'd be helping with the move plenty! We did spend a significant time packing and cleaning the house, but we were able to visit some cities as well.

We left Evreux on Wednesday afternoon and drove about 3 hours south to a small town in Bretagne. Bretagne, or Brittany, is the region of France just south of Normandy. Even though the physical distance is minimal, it is very different! The landscape, the architecture, the food, and even the people change from one region to the next! Bretagne has a very specific culture. There is even another language that is spoken there! The Celtic influence in this region--stemming from centuries of history connecting Bretagne to Great Britain--is very prevalent. Breton is a language that doesn't at all resemble French. It is much more similar to Gaelic, and there are signs all over the region written in both French and Breton. It's so fun to see!

emblem on the Chateau de Vitré

I took a total of 4 pictures on the entire trip--and we were gone for almost a week. I wish I had taken more, but I've been promised that we'll be back when we can spend more time being tourists.

Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine in Rennes

When we weren't loading a massive moving truck or sweeping cobwebs off of window sills (which I didn't actually help with...) we took some trips into towns around Bretagne! We spent a day in Rennes, which is a really cool university town. There are a number of beautiful churches that we visited, as well as a very French city hall and several huge open-air markets in squares all around the city. We also were able to see Vitré, which is a medium-sized city. It has a castle that has been converted to the town hall, a very nice library, and plenty of picturesque, winding cobblestone roads. We decided to explore without a map, and we ended up finding all kinds of hidden paths and ancient buildings!

What struck me most in our little trip was the generosity that was shown by everyone that I met. I am very used to complete strangers cooking meals for me, letting me sleep in their homes, and basically temporarily inviting me into their families thanks to Totus Tuus over the past 3 summers. But receiving this same generosity in a different country has been a completely new witness to me. I was blessed to enjoy delicious and abundant homemade meals all week and to meet people who were so warm and welcoming. I was very well taken care of :) And so thankful for everything that was so generously offered me. It was a humble trip filled with lots of blessings!

pax christi.

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