So why Josselin?

Brittany is located in the northwest of France

A teacher asked me in all earnest this question as she and I and a few others sat around their break room table. I knew they had little English and of course my French sucks, so I jokingly replied “for the caramel!”

They all looked confused so I tried my humor again, but more Frenchified: “Pour le caramel.”

For those that know me at all, that’s reason enough for this gal. Brittany is a caramel lover’s dream as a matter of fact. Yuuuuum. But okay, I think they wanted a serious answer.

But I am serious! Take a look at these goodies at the local market last Saturday in Josselin. That golden brown hue on all those delicacies is caramel. Yuuuuum (yes and I do have a serious problem, don’t I).

I added that Brittany was beautiful and Josselin was a nice small town and centrally located for making day trips to the coastline in every direction (using a lot of my made up sign language I’ve developed since living in France) and I also think I conveyed the fact that my kids like the outdoors and nature and missed having that in Lyon. The teachers accepted that explanation and the eyebrows lowered.

Another thing that drew me to Josselin was the castle. It was the most awesome of all the fortified villages I looked at online, and it is even better in person. I love seeing it every day now.

Later on in the week, Sagan’s teacher (who has better English than the previous threesome) said in so many words that “Americans don’t come here – only the British. To get away from their cities.”

Interesting. She also told me that Josselin is “poor.” When I gave her a confused look (not unlike what the other teachers gave me earlier) she went on to explain that the people who lived here were not wealthy. She didn’t understand why we didn’t at least pick a town along the coast, where there is “more culture.” She herself drives in to work everyday from Vannes.

The people of this area may not be rich, but their culture sure is. This land has been peopled since the neolithic era and the history remains complicated and significant. It retains a cultural uniqueness, holding onto its own language (Breton) even after many heartless tries to stamp it out.

Il est interdit de parler breton et de cracher par terre

Signs with this inscription were posted in the schools just after World War II. Translated it means “it is forbidden to speak Breton and to spit on the floor.”

It took me a few days to notice what was missing in this part of France, but then I realized it was the graffiti. Even in rural Switzerland we saw graffiti. And there’s also no litter. I purposely searched for it, making sure I checked under bridges and along alley walls. Nothing.

We finally spotted some when we went through Vannes on a day trip to the coast.

Oh yeah. The wind turbines. You know how giddy I get when I come near the caramel? Mark does the same with wind turbines. We are literally surrounded by these gorgeous energy-producing delights.


The kids of course, love their new freedom. We let them loose in the backyard and they play for hours.

In the town centre, there are two great restaurants. We’ve eaten at the one pictured several times, and when the kids finish before us they can go outside and play in the courtyard while we keep an eye on them from the second floor seats by the window.

Yeah, we all love the culture here.

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About marlashane

Artist. Explorer. Freethinker. Mother of two children.
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