Brittany lies in the north-west corner of France and has a climate similar to the UK. So along with driving rain and biting wind, autumn in the region can bring some truly stunning days. Vivid landscapes full of colour are waiting around every corner. Fallen conkers and amber leaves make up an ever changing blanket on the ground. Lush grassy hills play hide and seek in the haze of foggy mornings as coats and scarves come out of hiding.
Autumn in Brittany is about woodland walks through crisp undergrowth and evenings spent by a crackling fire. The colours of autumn breathe life into their surroundings as everyone enjoys the last days of sunshine before winter arrives. Pumpkins are carved, soups are made, slippers are rediscovered and butternut squash becomes part of everyday vocabulary one again. Autumn is bright, vibrant youthful and wondrous.
Or at least that’s what our Instagram feed would have you believe. Leaves on the ground, check. Huge scarf, check. Average pumpkin in the dark, check. Cute dog walking selfie, check. The reality is often very far from the truth. Yes we have been carving pumpkins and walking a dog in a scarf (us not him), but what the selfies don’t reveal is the truth behind them.
It rains 95% of the time and lighting a fire is one of the skills our generation have lost. Most of the leaf strewn pathways are brown and sludgy and very slippery. The grass is always wet and merely glancing in its direction will render your jeans soaked to the knees for the rest of the day. Carving a pumpkin is hard, trying to cut a butternut squash requires so much skill it should be an Olympic event. The super cute giant scarf is actually super itchy and a massive trip hazard. The dog has diarrhoea and shat on his own lead the other day.
That being said, on the 5% of days when the weather allows us to venture outside, we’ve had a wonderful time. The characteristic Breton houses that adorn the hillsides and villages we visit never fail to make us smile. Their colourful shutters and slate roofs sparkle with old world charm against the grey autumn skies.
The region is famous, of course, for its cuisine. From crepes to Breton biscuits, everything here is bathed in butter and as a result slides down very easily. There is a feast to be had on every high street, a hearty supply of baguettes, pastries, local cheese and freshly caught seafood clamour for attention in the shop windows, begging to be eaten. One bite of the traditional Bretton butter cake Kouign Amann is enough to raise cholesterol to a critical level. All of this is naturally washed down with a large glass of Bretton cider and an even larger glass of red wine.
So, autumn in Brittany may not always be as beautiful as the pictures make out, but we are enjoying plenty of delicious food and drink and there are lots of places to visit. Now if anyone has any tips for carving butternut squash, preventing doggy diarrhoea or lighting a fire, that would be great!