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      Blog — breton

      Travel: Brittany Edition

      Travel: Brittany Edition

      Ty Ma Villa

      Ty Mad Villa Dining

      Hôtel Ty Mad

      Hôtel Ty Mad is a cosy and charming late nineteenth-century stone villa. The hotel’s 15 contemporary rooms all enjoy a lot of light and exceptional views of the bay, and there's a fabulous restaurant too. No wonder the name in Breton means 'good house'.

      Located in Douarnenez's Tréboul area about a one-hour drive from Brest, and 30 minutes from Quimper. Douarnenez or Douarn – as locals call it, is a quaint old fishing town with Quayside paths and zigzagging narrow streets. Boats come in from the Atlantic to unload their catches of mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Just offshore is the Ile Tristan, which is accessible on foot at low tide and across the Port-Rhu channel is Tréboul, a seaside resort town favoured by French families. It is also the ideal spot to explore the dramatic capes of Pointe du Millier and Pointe du Raz that reside in the west.

      The hotel Ty Mad enjoys a spectacular view of the Iroise Sea and sits only a few yards above the tiny bijou beach of Saint-Jean. In its past life, the late nineteenth-century villa belonged to the local diocese before it became a boarding house in 1924. Present owner Armelle Raillard has been running the hotel since 2004 and has managed to match the old-fashioned villa’s layout with a cosy contemporary interior design.  

      Why you will never want to leave…

      Mrs. Raillard is very knowledgeable about the area and will happily advise visitors on places to go and help arrange days out such as sea-kayaking along the coast and discovering the charming nearby Isle of Tristan.

      The indoor pool –– or Japanese 'zen pool' and hammam offer a lovely view of the villa's garden. Massages and spa treatments available by appointment.

      The dining room has wrap-around bay windows overviewing the bay where one can enjoy Chef Didier Lecuisinier's menu. Chef celebrates the land of Brittany, selecting the best produce –– organic produce bought from young local producers. All the seafood is wild, the oysters are from the Ile de Sein, and the meat is from animals reared outdoors. Breakfast is a generous buffet with different breads, homemade pastries, cakes and jams, cheeses, fresh fruits, boiled eggs and organic juices. Gluten-free breads and cakes are also available.

      £80 per night
      Pet friendly from £9 per night

      Please note:  The hotel closes during winter from the beginning of November till the end of March.

      3, Rue Saint Jean, Douarnenez, 29100, France.
      00 33 0298 740053




      This old-fashioned seafood restaurant sits at the Pointe du Van, as far west as you can go in France without running into the sea. Family run, and now in its third generation, the L'Etrave, is known for its vaulted, no-frills dining room and legendary creamed lobster. 

      They use the freshest lobsters which are split down the middle, drowned with the heaviest cream, and then scorched under a broiler to darken the edges of the meat and the surface of the cream before serving on a large metal platter.

      Rte. de la Pointe du Van, Cléden-Cap-Sizun 
      Dinner for two $120



      Cidrerie Paul Coic Cidres

      What is Brittany without cider or cidre in French!? This first-generation cider maker produces top-notch brews and distilled lambigs. Sip from four different Ciders: brut, farmhouse, semi-dry and sweet, try the Pommeau de Bretagne a subtle blend of apple juice and brandy, the Lambig de Bretagne a traditional cider brandy from the distillation of cider, aged in oak barrels from 3 to 7 years and the Gwenn: Blanche de Pomme, cider brandy from the distillation of cider, aged in stainless steel vats, which allows it to keep its white colour.

      Do not be surprised when instead of a glass, your cider is served in a bolée, a traditional cup made from terracotta. If you are looking for an original souvenir from the Brittany region a bolée, is an excellent choice.

      P.S. You won't want to miss the recipe for our Sip of the Month!

      Kerscouédic 29710 Plonéis, France 


      Your Packing List Sorted: 5 Pieces, 6 Different Outfits

      Travel light with heleneclarkson clothing! Shop these five pieces that can get through a whole week of travel. Featured are our Aro Cigarette Pants, Anaa Reversible T-Shirt, Baku Reversible Dress, Dixie 4-Way Reversible Mock Tank, and the Salima Convertible Wrap Skirt that can be worn up to 3 different ways. These pieces can be mixed and matched for endless options. 

      For More Brittany travel tips our #HCTraveler Patricia Gentry recommends the following links:

      Brittany Culture

      Brittany Driving Itinerary by Karen Brown

      Brittany Travel Planning by Rick Steves

      Doing Brittany's Dinan by Rick Steves

      Ancient Stones of Brittany - Audio Europe: France by Rick Steves

      Style: The Breton Striped Top

      Style: The Breton Striped Top

      This season, we're kicking things off with a versatile basic that every woman needs in their wardrobe –– The Breton striped top.

      We've introduced classic black and white Breton stripes into a few of our best sellers, the Orly Long Sleeve Top, the Sousa Top, and also in our brand new favourite, the Anaa Reversible T-Shirt. Each of these easy to wear tops can be mixed and matched for looks that go from day to night. 

      In France, the Breton striped top is known as la marinière (the sailor). More than 150 years ago, in 1858, an act of parliament demanded that 'tricot rayé', or striped knit, became part of Brittany’s naval uniform. 

      The law even stated the exact number of stripes to be knitted into the seamen’s shirts: “the body of the shirt will count twenty-one white stripes, each twice as wide as the twenty to twenty-one indigo blue stripes.” Legend has it that each stripe represented Napoleon’s victories against the British. However, in truth, knitting machines of the time would have found it easier to knit a pattern in this fashion. 

      The Breton shirt was designed without any buttons, zips or pockets, it was simply ready to pull on and go. The classic design minimized the perils of sailors getting snagged or ensnared in rigging or fishing nets and those stripes –– make it easier to spot an overboard sailor. Today, thanks to its simplistic design, the Breton stripe top is an easy to wear classic that literally pairs with anything.

      In 1913 on seeing fishermen wearing cheerful, striped shirts, Coco Chanel was hit with an idea. What she saw there by the sea inspired her couture collection – and the striped marinière ("sailor") top was introduced into popular fashion, making it a stylish investment piece for seaside holidays while also liberating the female form from the period’s constraints of the corset (Thank you Coco)!

      Since the emergence of Breton stripes in high fashion, stylish celebrities have taken the look to new heights. From Picasso and Jean Cocteau to Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn the list of famous faces favouring the classic shirt continue to grow to this day.

      Given its timeless appearance, you can wear the Breton stripe top with almost everything: Dress it up with our Lindy Reversible Blazer and heels for a workday or dress it down with our Beja Straight Leg Pants and boat shoes for the weekend.

      Sip of the Month: Kir Breton

      Sip of the Month: Kir Breton

      A recipe for the classic French cocktail made with crème de cassis and dry cider  and a splash of Calvados. Delicious sipped by the sea or anywhere for that matter.

      Kir Breton

      Serves 1

      2 tsp crème de cassis

      2 tsp Calvados
      1 champagne glass of chilled dry cider

      Put the crème de cassis and Calvados into a champagne flute.

      Slowly top up the glass with the cider – it froths a bit so be careful – and serve.

      Photo and recipe via Diana Henry, The Telegraph 

      Playlist: Sailor Stripes

      An ode to the cult classic, the Breton striped top. From the seafarers who wore it first, to Coco Chanel who introduced it to women's fashion and the likes of Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and others who made it a classic, here is a musical tribute to the infamous stripes.

      Playlist: Sailor Stripes
      1. Breizh eo ma bro –  Olivier de Kersauson
      2. Fanny danse – Les Marins D'Irois
      3. Tri Martolod – Nolwenn Leroy
      4. Broh Gozh Va Zadoù  – Nolwenn Leroy
      5. Premiere Gymnopèdie – Erik Satie
      6. La mauvaise rèputation – Audrey Tatou
      7. Je veux – Zaz
      8. Sally's Tomato – Henry Mancini Orchestra
      9. When Your Lover Has Gone – Billy Holiday
      10. My Funny Valentine  – Frank Sinatra

      Listen on Spotify