SPREV stands for "Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Religieux En Vie" ("Protection of the Living Religious Heritage").
It is a non-profit organisation of students who lead you to the discovery of the Breton churches and enclos paroissiaux.
Most of them are young women and most of them are able to make the explanation very interesting, with anecdotes and questions to the visitors. Only a young man who told us about the Roscoff church was quite boring.
However, it was sad to realize that this "job" is not well rewarded, since the tourists who really want to enrich their culture are very few. In a church, my parents and I were the only people who listened to the guide.
You can find more information about SPREV here.
If you stay in Brittany you have no need for toll booths, there aren't any!!!!! Due to an ancient law dating back to Queen Anne of Bretagne, it is forbidden to create toll roads so no paying even on the freeways. If you are coming through St Malo, you can go as far down as Nantes south and to Laval on the road to Paris w/out paying, in fact all over the 4 departements (counties) that make up the Brittany region.
What conversion are you talking about ? I've had my current card since sept. 2008 and it has not been changed. In France we have always had pin-numbers when needed, although some shops still have the old sliding-through-the-slot machines. But on motorways where we have to pay, we just put the card in, and the machine spits it back out again, w/out having to type the pin number, so I imagine your card will work. There's hundreds of Brits pass through here every day so I don't suppose they all change their C.C.
An enclos paroissial (above you see the plural form; the English translation is "parish enclosure") is a typical religious architecture in Bretagne.
It consists of:
1) a church;
2) a charnel house (it can also be used as a normal chapel);
3) a calvaire, the real symbol of Breton faith. Calvaires are big sculptures representing the Crucifixion and other Biblic scenes;
4) a cemetery (not obligatory).
These four elements are located within an enclosure, which explains the name.
I have visited quite a lot of them during my last trip to Bretagne: Saint-Jean-du-Doigt, Saint-Thégonnec, Guimiliau and more.
Favorite thing: The typical Breton house is built of granite with a slate roof. Granite being expensive, modern houses tend to reduce the actual stone to door and window frames but the older ones are completely built of stone. Granite and slate are exacavated locally. The granite can be of a variety of hues, typically light grey, yellow-brown or pink. The latter one comes from the cliffs of pink granite in the North of the region and is very particular. Its colour comes from the pink feldspath part of the stone is made of. The slate can go from deep black to grey or yellow.
Favorite thing: Is this Barbados? No, it is Brittany. To be precise, this picture was taken in the Crozon peninsula, not far from the town of Camaret. Beaches in Brittany are usually of the finest and whitest sand, formed from the break up of granite cliffs. Occasionaly, the sand will glitter with mica. It is ideal to drop a beach towel on and for sand castles.
Favorite thing: You cannot miss the black and white Breton flag, called Gwen Ha Du in Breton, which literally means "black and white". The flag is a comparatively recent creation. It first appeared in 1923, created by Morvan Marchal, the founder of the Breiz Atao (Free Brittany) movement. It was originally meant to provide a unifying symbol to all Bretons who wanted independance from France. Nowadays, it is the emblem of a Brittany that is comfortable with being part of France while being proud of its unique cultural heritage.
Favorite thing: Seagulls can be found everywhere in Brittany, especially around towns and harbours. They are very opportunistic birds that feed on any garbage thrown by man. Their cry is very distinctive and is a permanent fixture of the coastal areas. It can be very annoying if you are not used to it. However, the opposite is true. The first time I moved away from Brittany to the East of France, it took me a few months to realise that what I was finding so strange in my new town was the silence.
This flower is called genêt in French but I don't know its name in English.
Anyway, you will find it all along the Breton coast in summer, sometimes up to such an extent that it turns the moors yellow. Beware though, it is armed with big pointed thorns that will easily embed themselves in unwary fingers.
Usually, this is the first port of call for visitors setting foot on the Island. This is where you make enquiries as to where to rent bicycles or vechicle to tour the Island.
You are also given pamflets showing areas of interests.
What I discover on the Island is that it is a bit expensive to rent these Bicyles. You pay an average of 10 euros for a period of few hrs. It is more than that in some cases.
However, it is better to just walk the Island which is about 8 km by 4km.
Favorite thing: In order to visit the three important Islands of Ouessants, Molène, and Sein..It is this company that you need to contact. It is cheaper if you in a group of 3 or 6. It cost about 50 euros for 3 people.
Favorite thing: During World War II, the Germans, who had invaded France, fortified the coast of Brittany to fight off a potential allied attack. The remanants of this chapter of history can still be found along the coast in the form of concrete bunkers. They are only shells nowadays but they give you a good idea of what it was like to live in them. Winters in those small concrete boxes must have been horrendous.
What I remind for first, if I am thinking for that region? For the sunsets. Unique and unforgettable. To sit at beach and look for the colours, hear to the song of wind and waves and dream a while, until it get dark. Only then we went home, slowly...
What a mood.
In that tip are some beautiful pictures. I am sure you want travel soon.
The Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM), i.e., the French sea rescue organisation is a non-profit organisation. They are partly financed by the state and regions but also rely heavilly on donations. They are all volunteers and will get you out of trouble for free. So, when you are in a restaurant or a bar and you see a small money box in the shape of a rescue boat with the letters SNSM on it, drop a few coins.
For more information: http://www.snsm.eu.org/fr/
Lunchtimes are taken very seriously around here. Turn up in any town between about 12 and 2pm, and the streets are likely to be totally deserted. Shops shut for at least an hour, usually two.
Basically if you want to enjoy a bustling Breton scene, go early. People will start to reappear later in the afternoon, but most markets are held in the mornings anyway!
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