Partake in tasty Breton cuisine with Brittany boat hire

Thursday, 23 February 2012 3:59 PM

France is renowned for its excellent cuisine, and if you want to sample some delicious meals consider booking boat hire in Brittany. The region in the north-west of France comprises a network of pretty canals that meander through beautiful countryside and past fairytale-style castles.

Travelling by boat is a great way to take in the area, as you can potentially see so much more of Brittany than you could if you were based in one location for the duration of your break. There are numerous pretty settlements to visit and attractions to admire as you make your way along the waterways, as well as tasty cuisine to tuck into.

Begin your river cruise in the pretty and quiet location of Nort-sur-Erdre on the banks of the River Erdre, where the little ones can have fun at the playground while you establish yourselves onboard your chosen vessel.

Once you set off, head for Nantes - the ancient capital of Brittany. Here you'll find various museums and shops to visit, including the Musee des Beaux-Arts and La Maison de l'Erdre - a permanent exhibition detailing the history of the river.

During a sightseeing excursion you can admire the beautifully-restored Gothic Cathedrale St-Pierre St-Paul and stretch your legs on a stroll through the immaculate Jardin des Plantes.

All that activity is likely to have worked up your appetite, so visit a local cafe or restaurant to taste some wonderful Breton dishes. Seafood is popular, so you might want to order a platter of mussels, oysters and lobster - the latter of which is often grilled or served with a creamy sauce. Palourdes farcies are also a delicacy here and comprise baked clams that have been stuffed with shallots, garlic and herbs.

As well as seafood, salt meadow lamb is another mainstay of Brittany cooking, being particularly tender, so don't be surprised if you see Gigot a la Bretonne (leg of lamb) on many menus throughout the region.

There are plenty of things to do in Europe, and Brittany is no exception; head on to the quaint spot of La Roche Bernard next and you can switch to a different kind of boat. The area is a popular yachting centre and you can try your hand at the sport in the lovely setting, which is backed by lush green woods. Pick up some provisions at the market and head back to your boat, where you can make for Ile Aux Pies/Saint Vincent Sur Oust.

This is a renowned beauty spot perfect for a picnic, so make use of the fresh produce you bought in La Roche Bernard and while away a lazy hour soaking up the scenery, which consists of water, woodland, rocky peaks and marshland.

If you want to work off your lunch, you can sometimes rent canoes and put your arm muscles to the test, or even have a go at rock climbing up the mountains here.

The next spot you'll come across on your France boating holiday is the pretty town of La Gacilly, which is full of flower displays. There are more than 30 artisan workshops throughout the settlement, where you can witness trades such as carpentry, glassblowing, painting and candle-making.

Many of the items made by the craftsmen make great souvenirs for loved ones back home.

La Gacilly is also home to the Yves Rocher perfume factory and botanical gardens, where the ingredients are grown for use by the manufacturer. Take a tour of the gardens and you'll be able to see more than 1,000 different species of flora.

If you dine out, you'll find traditional French cuisine prepared from local produce abounds. While in Brittany, sample some of the regional favourite - crepes. These can be either savoury or sweet and are typically served with cider.

Head on to Malestroit, which has a rich history and plenty of lovely monuments to admire. Take a stroll through the town and you'll catch sight of timber-framed homes and the 12th-century Church of St Gilles.

While in the area you can also call in at the Museum of Breton Resistance if you want to discover a bit of local history. Meanwhile, there are numerous creperies and restaurants to visit for a tasty evening meal.

The last stop on your waterway cruise could well be the lovely spot of Josselin, which is home to arguably the most beautiful castle in Brittany. Spend some time admiring the fortress, which has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, and afterwards you can get active with a spot of horse-riding, archery or canoeing before visiting one of the good local restaurants for a final authentic Breton meal to conclude your Brittany boat trip.

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