Inspiration

Cidre, Crêpes et Cottages: the best gîtes in Normandy and Brittany for foodies

Ruth Richardson

5 min read

From Normandy to Brittany, across the stretch of France’s north-western edge, there’s a menu that has been savoured for centuries – crêpes and galettes, cidre and calvados, and shellfish. We’ve spoken to our community of gîte owners about the best markets to find the sweetest oysters, the ports with the freshest langoustine for your barbeques, and the villages with crispest cider. We’ve also picked out five of our favourite gîtes in Normandy and Brittany for a holiday to indulge in the region’s foodie delights. Read on for our community’s recommendations.

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Le Sémaphore de Lervily, Finistère, Brittany

This former light-keeper’s cottage is a lovely retreat, with a kitchen fit for chefs and a panorama from every window. Bring back croissants from nearby Esquibien or head to the seaside port of Audierne for its twice weekly market. Rest up after exploring many miles of rugged coastline and wild protected sand dunes on the sofa beneath the great glass roof and raise a glass on cider to the stars.

Owner’s tip from Jean-Yves Huitric:

Audierne is a working fishing harbour with amazing seafood. It is famous in France for its seabass caught by line in the treacherous waters. Local fishermen also catch plenty of crabs, lobsters and langoustines which you can buy at the Saturday market.

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La Brocanterie, Manche, Normandy

Would-be chefs will be delighted on finding the kitchen at this old farmhouse fully equipped with everything the modern cook could want. During summer, you can head down to the open-air market at Gouville-sur-Mer, which is held on Monday and Friday mornings in the village square, and select your oysters and mussels. Return to your gîte for a leisurely lunch of local specialities by the pool or head to Les Dunes, restaurant amidst the sand dunes, for their excellent fresh seafood suppers.

Owner’s tip from James Mayhew:

Gouville-sur-Mer is known for its oysters. Buy the freshest oysters, mussels and crabs directly from the growers in Gouville. We’ve got all the seafood utensils you’ll need for cooking your lobster, opening shells & cracking your crab claws!

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Penty de Lantecoste, Finistère, Brittany

This traditional Breton stone cottage is an enviable two minutes from the beach. Wake to the scent of sea-air drifting across the gardens before pottering to the local bakery on your bicycle or driving up the road to Fouesnant to explore its organic Sunday and Tuesday markets. Fill your basket with local supplies and watch the sun set over the sea from your garden.

Owner’s tip from Arnaud Polaillon:

Sample local cuisine from Chez Hubert in Beg Meil, the seaside terrace of Café du Port in La Foret Fouesnant, or the oyster bench Chez Fabienne. La Cornouaille, like Cornwall is cider paradise, fruity, complex and slightly acidic!

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Kergudon Gîtes, Finistère, Brittany

These gîtes in the grounds of a priory have been beautifully renovated. The light and spacious kitchens open on to the gardens and are ideal for sociable cooking. You will find a couple of ciders along with eggs from their chickens in the owners’ welcome hamper, perfect if you are feeling inspired by the local crêperies and fancy making your own.

Owner’s tip from Ben Dickins:

If food’s your motivation we’re within easy reach of many excellent restaurants, traditional Breton creperies and weekly markets to buy fabulous produce to create your own meals. 

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La Binellerie Gites, Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany

These elegantly restored seventeenth-century farmhouses are an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding Breton seaside. Rugged coastal paths to the north take you along shimmering bays to the idyllic fishing port of Cancale. There are fantastic restaurants here, including Restaurant L’Atelier de l’Huitre, serving not only local seafood inside, but also produce to take back to prepare at your gîte.

Owner’s tip from Sue Davidson:

If you enjoy seafood then Cancale is the place to go, famous for its oyster beds. Here you can sit on the sea wall in the sun and eat a plate of freshly opened oysters with a glass of cold Muscadet!

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Château Côte de Nacre, Calvados

These modern, light-filled apartments in a château are half a mile from the coast and its wild beaches. The pretty town square is also just a short stroll away with plenty of restaurants, serving seafood unpretentiously from local suppliers. There are also excellent markets at which to gather fresh produce for a feast.

Owner’s tip from Sue Lecont:

Every day you can go for a walk to the port of Courseulles to go buy fresh fish and barbecue in the garden of the castle.

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