A week in the French Alps at Val d’Isere

Location MapThinking about winter in European mountain towns brings to mind thoughts of toasting up in front of cosy fireplaces, wooden chalets and heart warming food. Coming from Australia, it’s hard to see how the soft white fluffy stuff could be considered a nuisance in day to day life and in fact I think it makes the winter cold all very bearable. Maybe that’s a little naive, perhaps it’s just ignorantly blissful positive thinking, but I came out of it with a deeply cemented view that I could call the Alps home and that Val d’Isere was a pretty special place.
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The bay of Mont Saint-Michel

Location MapMont Saint-Michel rises up towards the sky, strongly contrasting with the bay that surrounds it. It’s almost as if the buildings have been stacked on top of each other over time to build higher and higher. Mont Saint-Michel is in fact surrounded by the bay at times as the area has a high tidal range much like the rest of the coast to the west. The island can become completely cut off and left stranded with the sea swirling around it. At low tide however, the sea retreats far into the distance allowing you to access Tombelaine on foot and obtain a very different perspective on the Mont.
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Saint-Malo the fortified French port

Location MapA fortified city might sound off-putting, but it’s actually quite the opposite. When the sun is reflecting off the city walls and glinting off the thousands of little white windows it’s quite picturesque. Boats litter the harbour and sea birds glide on the winds. Stepping inside the city walls takes you back in time and it’s pleasant to see the modern shops generally fitting in well with the scene of those with a bit more history.
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Mansions and markets in Dinard

Location MapDinard and Dinan – I always get the two mixed up. One is inland and one is on the coast. One is a medieval city the other is a bit more fancy. Dinard is the fancy one on the coast with mansions along the sea cliffs, a grand hotel and spas. The town has a bit of a history as a holiday destination for both the French and English and it seems there certainly was some money thrown about.
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A day on the Côtes-d’Armor

Location MapI think it’s rare to have so many days of good weather in a row in Bretagne in the north west of France. The weather can be a lot like the UK and so we set out to make good use of it.

First we arrived in Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, a quiet little coastal town in December, but in summer it is packed with people like most places around here. There were plenty of small boats tucked away on one side of the beach and nice little houses (some not so little) perched on the surrounding sea cliffs.

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The medieval town of Dinan

Location MapDinan is a nice little medieval town in the Côtes-d’Armor department of north-west France. The city walls are largely intact protecting the old town which is home to some very old wooden buildings with some dating back as far as the 13th century. You can even walk along some sections of the old ramparts and look down on the narrow streets.
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