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Cheap food and drink, free music at festivals in Brittany

by John Mensinger on September 22, 2013

We spent three weeks in Brittany in July and August on a home exchange. We had done our research and knew there were many large events we could visit such as the Festival of Cornouaille or the Celtic Festival . I wrote about these in an earlier post.

What we didn’t know is that every village and town in Brittany has special events during the summer. Some were listed in tourist brochures our home swap hosts had left in their house. The other way of discovering local happenings was seeing posters in shop windows or by the side of the road. One evening we entered Telgruc-sur-Mer and saw a hand lettered sign Moules-Frites. Several hundred villagers were eating in the town square, there was live music and traditional dancing, and you could get a huge portion of French fries and mussels for 11 Euros. A glass of wine was 1 Euro. We spent a pleasant hour with their culture and cuisine.

A few weeks later we returned to Telgruc for the Cochon-Grillé, where 20 pigs were slowly roasted on spits over a large fire. The entertainment started with a men’s chorus chanting traditional ballads, followed by a rock band singing English and American standards. They served over 1300 pork dinners that evening. You paid a small amount for food and drink, the entertainment was free.

The fishing port of Audierne was hosting the Route de l’Amitié, which is a flotilla of 180 sailboats that spend three weeks cruising from one port to another in Brittany. The sailing crews are as colorful as the boats. They plan the route to visit festivals but if one isn’t scheduled they create their own fun with the authorities. Food and drink are cheap, you sit outside on long tables, and the music is free. In Audierne there were several performers, our favorites were a local rock band that wore kilts and had two bagpipers. The Celtic connection is always present in Brittany.

These festivals we enjoyed were not large or famous, just fun. They were an easy way for the village to get together and share song, dance, music, food, and friendship. The advantage of home exchange is you can share good times with your new friends and neighbors.

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