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Typical and charming Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in Culture, Film, Geography, History, Vocabulary

In one of my early posts on Paris, I referred to the opening scene of the movie Julie and Julia in which Meryl Streep playing Julia Child asks about finding somewhere eat, somewhere typique et charmant. At the time I was talking about one of my favorite restaurants in Paris.

During my recent travels around France, I discovered a few more choses typiques et charmantes.*


Not to be confused with the coastal (Atlantic) port city of Rochefort (made famous by the French film director Jacques Demy in Les demoiselles de Rochefort), Rochefort-en-Terre is a charming little village that was not far from where we were staying in Brittany.

Voted “Village préféré des Français” in 2016 (the result of un concours télévisé / a television competition or contest), Rochefort-en-Terre is one of Brittany’s most visited towns … and for good reason.

Perched atop une colline (a hill) the picturesque town comprised of old squares, charming buildings, cafes, shops and more, surrounds both an old manor (currently under restauration) and a walled fortress. You can stroll the cobblestone streets (le centre-ville / the downtown area is une zone piétonne / a pedestrian zone during the day), enjoy une bolée de cidre in a local café, shop for local crafts in the many magasins (shops, stores), or enjoy the many flowers!

Rochefort-en-Terre is classified quatre fleurs (four flowers) by the organisation Villes et Villages Fleuris whose mission is to help improve the quality of life, support business development, drive tourism, and support the environment by encouraging and recognizing the efforts by communities to develop a rich plant life and beautify their local with flowers, trees, and shrubs.

Le Fest-noz

On our last free night in Brittany my little family snuck off for a dinner in town by ourselves and came upon a unique spectacle. Fest-noz is breton for fête de nuit (night party) and it means a local dance or bal where the local townsfolk gather to enjoy music, good company, and to dance. The tradition began in the lower Brittany region and has since spread beyond, and how lucky were we to be here in the heart of Brittany and be able to enjoy a show with our dinner! It seems all the locals know the dances and jump right in!

* Note the change in spelling here. Because choses is plural (and feminine), you need to add an ‘s’ to typique and ‘es’ to charmant.

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris