Before heading to Normandy this January, we spent a good week in Brittany. We usually stay in a small coastal town close to Quimper called Lesconil and do a lot of walking on the pretty Brittany beaches which is my favorite winter activity in France. To counteract some of the pigging out we were doing (those crepes… yummy!), I even ran on a beach for the first time. I’ve written about some of the things we usually do in pretty Pont L’Abbé before, but this time I took some pictures especially for you guys 🙂 So, here’s my new and improved guide on what to do in Pont L’Abbé:
Walking and Shopping in Pont l’Abbé
We usually park the car somewhere on the main street (Rue du Chateau) and just start walking. Another option would be to park at the Place Gambetta and make the tourism office your first stop. We walked in there this year for the first time since starting to visit the city many years ago and I was positively surprised about how nice it is. They have a lot of brochures and neat guides for the region in many different languages. I would very much recommend a stop there. Even if you’ve been before, I am sure you can get ideas for something new to do. This year for example I discovered that you can take a boat tour to see some seals close to Pont L’Abbé in the summer. How cool would that be?!
The whole area between the castle (which houses the mayor’s office) and the tourism office is really neat with lots of cute shops and restaurants. Check out this map provided by the mayor’s office. Some of our favorite stops and stores in that area are
- Le Chateau/ Hotel de Ville: the small castle is right by the water. We’ve never been inside and I don’t know if you could do a tour, but it’s even nice just to see from the outside.
- In a very unique location on a quay over the water is the Biscuiterie de Pont l’Abbé. It’s a tourism shop with all sorts of goodies from the region. They have caramel cookies and lollipops alongside cute bowls with Breton designs and postcards. We usually pick up a few things for family and friends here. The cookies make great gifts as they come in very cute metal boxes with designs from the region. If you go all the way through to the last room, you have a neat view of some boats on the water and get to see the store’s selection of cidre (apple cider – but be aware, my American friends, this is not the version without alcohol that is called apple cider in the US; I think it’s similar to a strong beer in alcohol content) and other alocoholic beverages. My favorite brand of cidre is called Kerné. We always try to order that in restaurants… there are some other brands that taste like stinky feet, for lack of a better description.
- There is one tiny street between the castle and the tourism office called Rue Jean Le Berre. For me, this is the ultimate place for window shopping. I’ve never actually bought anything there, but there are lots of little shops on with cute clothes, shoes, and other stuff.
- Another one of my favorite stores in Pont l’Abbé is called Sophie C Création and located on the main street, Rue du Chateau. This is a great store for gifts or souvenirs. The owner’s wife designs many of the cute kitchen utensils, table clothes, napkins, dinnerware herself. Most somehow relate to old Breton designs, but have a really fun, new twist to them. I spent quite a bit of money in that store one year and treated myself to a huge tablecloth that still makes me happy when I look at it in the morning. This is the design it has on it: Les Brodeuses.
Our Favorite Restaurant in Pont l’Abbé: Crêperie Les Quatres Saisons
We always, always, always make it a point to stop at the Crêperie Les Quatres Saisons for at least one meal when we are in Pont l’Abbé. When we went this year, we found out that the owners had changed. Gone was the friendly old lady who had always greeted us with a smile before. We were scared… Luckily, the new owner assured us that the menu would not change and that they intended to keep everything as before. Imagine our relief when our crepes came and they turned out as delicious as always 🙂 If you ever get the chance to eat at this crêperie, or any crêperie in Brittany for that matter, make sure you treat yourself to two crepes: one has to be a savory one made with buckwheat flour (I know, it sounds weird, but it’s so delicious and a specialty of that region; they are called “crêpe à blé noir“) and the other has to be a dessert crepe made with regular white flour. For the savory ones, my favorites include either mushroom cream of the standard combination of jambon/fromage (ham and cheese). I also like to add an egg to it. For the dessert crepe, I love the ones with homemade caramel. So good! My favorites either come with vanilla ice-cream and homemade caramel or are tatin-style (thinly sliced apple baked in butter and sugar until gooey and sweet).
The only hotel we’ve ever stayed in is La Tour d’Auvergne. It’s located very close to the city center and across the market square from the tourism office. The rooms and bathrooms were somewhat small – but they are almost anywhere in France – and ours had a cute view over the city roofs. I thoroughly enjoyed their very typical French breakfast consisting of coffee, orange juice, fresh baguette, and jam or Nutella. Our cabbie also told us that they have a restaurant and that this is where the locals go for some really good food. We tried their dinner and while somewhat pricey, it was totally worth it. So good!
If you are in or around Pont l’Abbé, you might want to check out these other Brittany travel spots:
- Quimper: It’s quite a bit bigger than Pont l’Abbé and there is a lot to see here. They have an impressive cathedral, many, many stores, lots of cute neighborhoods with old houses, and a great market at the Place des Halles.
- Lorient: I haven’t spent much time in the city itself, but I have visited an old German submarine base there and that was quite something. On the base is also a great little restaurant and a big museum.
- Lesconil: In and around Lesconil are some of the prettiest beaches. They are perfect for long walks during a sunny winter day.
- Point de la Torche: This is probably the biggest and most famous beach in the area. It’s also a surfer’s paradise and you can see some braving the waves even in the middle of winter.
But before you head off to all of these other places, check out some pictures below of our favorite places in Pont l’Abbe. Also, check out some other great travel photo submissions over at Budget Travelers Sandbox’s Travel Photo Thursday. Want more travel pics yet? Check out my previous Travel Photo Thursday submissions.
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