Running over 1000 kms through France is the Loire River, this river has been used by the French since pre Roman times and ends in the Atlantic Ocean. This section of Atlantic Ocean runs down the western coast and is in some sections the only thing between France and Canada! Where the Loire meets the great waves of the Atlantic is just outside of Nantes, also known as Brittany’s Wild Coast. This is the next destination for our journey toward the Camino trail.
If you have been keeping up with your favourite sheep herding couple’s adventures in France, you will know we spent some time exploring Nantes city. From there our fantastic friends and tour guides took us to visit Laura’s parent’s house on the wild coast, where we spent had an amazing Sunday lunch and got to see the ocean and the famous Guérande salt marshes. Talk about a busy day!
Leaving off from last time we spent Saturday night getting to know our friends’ friends and drinking mojitos. That night we stayed at Laura’s parents place as their house is not far from the coast where the cocktail bar was. Sunday morning we awoke to fresh baguettes, croissants, coffee (or a bowl of tea, a French thing). We rehydrated after the previous night with a much welcomed coffee and some carbs. Then jumped in the car for a trip to the local market to get a bit of fresh seafood to go with the lunch platter (yes I said platter!)
Sunday lunch is quite an affair and very family orientated time, we started with aperitifs. We had sent a couple of bottles of New Zealand Ruahine port in the mail before we left New Zealand. Out that came, along with a number of different Schnapps, we said ‘Sante!’ And sipped away at our first drinks, while snacking on three different varieties of saucisson.
Next came the main event, firstly fresh oysters! This was my first experience having oysters and I was pleasantly surprised at the refreshing taste, especially with a squeeze of lemon. Next came langoustine, (also known as Norwegian lobster, Dublin Bay prawns or nephrops.) Sea snails and crab served with of course bread and the famous Brittany salted butter. What a feast! Artfully arranged, Laura’s mother had out done herself with the delicious array of seafood which we slowly but surely broke into, claw cracking and all! Next came cheese or fromage to cleanse the palette. Oh and did I forget the wine! From fromage to dessert. Another artful piece of cuisine a delicious pear and blackberry tart. Omnomnom what a meal! We felt truly spoilt, once again we were welcomed in, and stuffed full of delicious food. Thank you again to Laura’s family for having us for Lunch!
Our next stop, now later in the afternoon was the wild coast for a digestive walk, but before we left Laura’s parent’s house, they having heard about our Camino walk had a small gift for us. They gave us our Camino scallop shells to carry on our backpacks, our markers as pilgrims. We felt quite special our first marker of the trip came from our friends in France.
Into the car we clamoured and off we drove to the wild coast, on our way there we stopped at some of the famous Bretagne salt marshes. Laura used to work as a tour guide for the marshes so told us a bit of their history;
On the Loire Atlantique there is the small village of Guérande, the village is surrounded by water, marshes specifically. And here for more than hundreds of years the inhabitants of the village have made a living on salt. Coarse marsh salt and salt four (Fleur de sel). The salt is renowned for its high nutrient value and has been sought after for not only for exceptional taste, but it also was thought to have medicinal properties. The salt marshes consist of square pools where the salt sits on the surface and dries, then is scraped to the side and collected. Approximately 15,000 tonnes of cooking salt is collected every year, and the grey marsh salt is revered in Brittany it’s this salt that goes into their famous salted butter. If you are in and around wild Bretagne coast it’s definitely worth a stop to see the salt fields or salterns of Guérande.
We made it to the ocean! It was a relatively warm but blustery afternoon as we walked along the coastline taking photos with the afternoon sun slowly sinking into the horizon. We found a spot we would definitely like come back to with our van. The waves crashing on the rocks below and the quiet stillness of the French countryside was a great way to digest a beautiful meal. However our tour guides weren’t done with us yet!
Laura had told us her twin sister works at a creperie in a little fishing village of Le Croisic. Naturally that was our next stop, onward we went as the sun slipped lower. We arrived at a quaint little fishing village, almost deserted on a Sunday afternoon. The creperie Le Relais du Duc d’Aiguillon was set a street back from the water’s edge in a white stone building, with Tudor styled second floor. We were seated in a long narrow restaurant and handed more menus. Yes more food! We all ordered a drink and Laura explained that not only is the salted butter famous but also the salted caramel! So crepes with salted caramel it was. Again omnomnomnom. I decided we had better start walking soon or we would definitely get fat with all this amazing food!
The rest of our stay with our friends was very relaxed up until a nightmare situation at Nantes airport. Stay tuned to find out what happened! As always thanks for reading, don’t forget to hit the like button and post a comment we love hearing from you! And head over to the Instagram pages to check out what we are up to day to day back in England! Get out the gate and get adventuring!