French 5 | 02.19.21

This week I’m whisking you away to one of my favourite regions in France: Brittany. 

Welcome to the fourth edition of French 5, where I share a glimpse into what I love about France through language, places, food and drink, arts and culture, as well as a random fun fact. I will also highlight one blog or social media account that features French content. If you have any feedback or ideas of what you’d like to see or who should be featured, please leave your comment below. 

01 Language || Manger comme une gouelle

It’s hard not to stuff yourself with the delicious crêpes, cidre and seafood the region has to offer. This Breton expression literally means to eat like a seagull. “Une gouelle” is derived from the local word for the popular bird that scours the region’s long coastline for its next meal. Other areas of France will typically use the expression “manger comme un goinfre,” meaning to eat like a pig.

02 Place || Saint-Malo

Saint-Malo is a port city located along the English Channel coast. Once home to many pirates and explorers, this historic city is the jewel of the Brittany region. While much of the city was destroyed during World War 2, it was rebuilt stone by stone to its former medieval glory. This city also has a connection with Canada. Saint-Malo was the birthplace of French explorer Jacques Cartier who was the first European to navigate the Saint Lawrence river. He is also credited with giving Canada its name.

03 Food & Drink || Kouign Amann

If you’ve never tried a Kouign Amann (pronounced queen-a-mahn), you’re missing out. The name comes from the Breton words for cake and butter and it's pretty much the tastiest pastry ever. It has all the flakey layers of a croissant, but then between each layer is extra salted butter, which is caramelized to perfection. I mean, it’s got to be good if the New York Times calls this Breton specialty “the fattiest pastry in Europe.” 

04 Arts & Culture || All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This award winning novel is set in occupied France during the Second World War. The book tells the story of a young blind French girl and a German boy whose paths cross during this tumultuous time. Much of the story takes place in Saint-Malo in the lead up to the allied invasion and during the course of the siege. Overall it is a fascinating book that is well worth a read.

05 Fun Fact || Carnac

The Carnac stones are considered the largest collection of megalithic standing stones in the world. Made up of more than 3,000 stones dating back to 4500 BCE, the reason behind the formations remains a mystery. 

Follow Friday || @labellebretagne

For some major Brittany wanderlust, check out @labellebretagne on Instagram. This account features the best photos from content creators in the region. You’ll see picturesque views of little towns, aerial shots of the stunning turquoise waters and plenty of instagram-worthy lighthouses.


To read all previous editions, visit our French 5 webpage

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