Tucked along the rugged Northern coast of Brittany, Roscoff is a peaceful, seaside village- the welcoming kind of place to choose for your base from which to explore the surrounding landscape and tranquil isles. For a decidedly upscale, romantic stay, try the Hotel Brittany. Overlooking the Bay of Morlaix on Boulevard Sainte Barbe, the boutique hotel offers a 4-star experience complete with indoor pool, inviting restaurant and comfortable, rich décor. The waterfront views are beautiful, the service warm and the 1-star Michelin restaurant a real pleasure to enjoy.
After you’ve settled in, stroll through the narrow streets to see the lovely 19th century merchants’ houses and the popular plaza by the church of Notre Dame de Croatz. Waterfront quays blend the bustle of harbor activity with a host of inviting hotels, creperies and brasseries. As Europe’s largest producer, the Cotes d’Armor teems with scallops that weigh in heavily on local menus.
Serenity is the keystone of Roscoff and the Cote d’Armor. Long promenades hug the harbor for scenic walks overlooking the water, and the village offers a surprising range of shopping and dining choices. Be sure to stop in at “Mop” for stunning artisan creations, from jewelry and purses to delightfully colorful accessories. And as you would imagine of a seaside retreat, many little boutiques offer marine-themed gifts and artwork.
You can’t fail to notice the landmark House of Johnnies and Onion on rue Brizeux, where films and photography trace the interesting story of the “Onion Johnnies” – French onion farmers. Beginning around 1828, beret-topped farmers in striped shirts rode their bicycles door-to-door in England, Wales and Scotland. Why? To sell the distinctive pink Roscoff-area onions that hung from their bicycles in the more profitable English market. Though few Onion Johnnies remain today, the distinguished Roscoff onion continues to be produced and in 2009 obtained the Controlled Label of Origin (A.O.C.).
Be sure to take the 20-minute boat ride for a serene trip to Ile de Batz, where life for the 600 or so residents revolves around agriculture, fishing, services and crafts. Walk or cycle around the island’s landscape; where the headland overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, and sand dunes, exotic gardens and sprawling agricultural tracts are criss-crossed by pleasant lanes.
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