If you go down to the ‘bois’ today, you’re in for a big surprise!
The Bois d’Amour, an hour’s walk through a dense and ancient forest, begins right in the heart of Pont Aven’s village. It is surprising, enchanting, mysterious and gentle. You’ll emerge from these woods transformed.
The walk begins just under the one lane bridge near the centre of town. After passing a wild garden of flowers, raspberries and pumpkins, tended by a nearby Merlin, the woods turn deep, dark and mossy, with old cypress, oak, beech and chestnut trees shading the way. Fallen Autumn leaves drift across the moist muddy path.
Unlike in the centre of town where the Avon river races by with enough speed and force to turn mighty water mills, here it runs like a liquid stream of dark molasses, with an occasional skip rover rocks and fallen logs.
Near the Moulin Neuf, the half way point in the walk, a quaint old building appears out of nowhere, probably the remains of that ninth mill. On our return, a quiet older man in a crumpled beige suit, silver hair streaming over his shoulders, magically emerges, his head bowed over a bowl, replenishing some cat food. Bonsoir, bonsoir.
The woods darken in places and become almost frightening, then all is gentle again as a love seat rises in the bend of the river.
Fallen chestnuts litter the ground, opened and devoid of their nuts, like exotic birds or creatures from another time.
The things you find in the woods- ordinary things, like love, nature, beauty and peace.
Included in pedestrian, this weeks photo challenge on WordPress.
It’s hard to say adieu to the sweet little houses that become your home for a week or two. Much more than hotels, B&Bs, agriturismi or apartments, little rental houses minister comfort and care to the weary traveller. The little house in Pont Aven, with its ancient and thick stone walls, stayed an even temperature all day and welcomed us home each afternoon after our wanderings through the Cornouille district of Bretagne.
The following photo collage is a media file for those who enjoy travelling vicariously and who asked to peep inside this little French houses. ‘La Petite Tourte’ was filled with luxurious linens, crisply ironed and sweet-smelling, two modern bathrooms, large leather sofas in the sitting room, a spiral staircase leading to the upper levels, a light filled kitchen, tasteful art and no Ikea. The house is advertised through VRBO, a part of Home Away, which provides holiday rentals by owners, similar in many ways to Air B&B.
Modest front entrance down a little lane.
Light filled room on top level bedroom
Bedroom on level three. Note, the beds roll togther to make a double. Sort of- double bed with crack.
bedroom on level two.
Good linen, ironed, sweet smelling
Back yard by the bubbling creek. Stone walls and wine.
Plenty of quality tableware.
Stone hearth with ample wood. Wall heaters in every room.
At the end of my travels, I intend to summarise the differences between renting through Airb&b, and VRBO and also take a look at the rise of bookings.com, traditional hotels and B&Bs. Each one has its place.
After travelling around Central and Eastern Europe for three weeks, I was really looking forward to our first French rental house. Before unpacking or looking at the other rooms, I checked the kitchen and its equipment, running around like a headless chook, opening cupboards and drawers. The kitchen in Pont Aven, Brittany, did not disappoint. The cupboards were well equipped with decent wine glasses, serving platters, quality frying pans, a set of sharp knives, a pasta pot and some oven proof gratin dishes. This was a cook’s kitchen. These things are often missing from rental houses.
Outside the kitchen, beyond the tiny enclosed stone wall yard, a rapidly running stream provided a soothing background symphony to my kitchen activities. The rapids form part of the watery world which makes up this ancient mill town. Pont Aven’s water courses, the River Aven and it’s creeks, once operated around 14 water wheel grain mills. Many old stone houses are built directly above or next to a rapid. As the weather was damp and fairly cool, winter comfort food dominated my cooking style in this stylish stone house.
The food of Brittany is tempting, with plenty of seafood and fish, apples and cider, the famous creamy butter with fleur de sel, buttery biscuits, tarts and cakes such as Far Breton and Kouign-amann, not to mention the crepes made from Blé Noir, or buckwheat. We occasionally dined out, but in the end, the lure of the kitchen and home cooked meals became too great.
Who can resist cooking with Crème Fraîche ( entiere s’il vous plaît ) when a small carton costs around 0.66€. My new cheat’s white sauce is a winner. Add one finely chopped garlic to a few tablespoons of crème fraîche, let it sit while you cook some pasta. Drain the pasta well, then return to the same pan, stir the sauce through the hot pasta, add some chunky smoked salmon and lots of herbs. Voilà.
I found these cute pot set yoghurts at the market in the nearby village of Tregunc, straight from the dairy farm. Sold in little glass jars for 0.40€ each. I will never eat commercial yoghurt again.
Sometimes when driving about for the day, lunch is simple: a smelly cheese from the market and a baguette from the boulangerie.
I’ve developed a taste for this lovely red wine from the Loire, Chinon.
French cooking is superb but there’s plenty of cheating going on too. Freshly cooked beetroot is available in all the markets. They make a great entrée with some goat cheese.
On market day, the Roti stall is popular, as sensibly dressed older women come to buy their rotisserie chicken, beef or saussison along with a portion of Boulangerie potatoes.
I succumbed to the roast man’s version of Far Breton, a nice little dessert to take back to my kitchen to reheat. I make Far Breton at home, mostly for my D.I.L, who can’t get enough of the stuff. I love the way the prunes are suspended in this version.
The Traou Mad galettes of Pont Aven are irresistible. This tin has been refilled twice!
Also trying to stay away from the real estate office! House for sale in a little village near Pont Aven. Fantasies abound in every village. Dangereux!!!
I’m linking up with Sherry, from Sherry’s Pickings, once again, who hosts In MyKitchen, a monthly series where bloggers share their kitchen inspirations. If you’re new to blogging and love food, this is a great way to join up with other like-minded folk. There are no rules and no obligations. Write about your kitchen and get the post linked by the 10th of each month.