Friday, April 18, 2008

Lannion

I think perhaps, after admittedly only one visit, I could live in Lannion. I'd looked forward to going there, especially to the photo gallery, l'Imagerie, so much I thought I was bound to be disappointed, but I really wasn't.

We set off in our lovely new (to us) car, and when we got there,wandered about, had a bit of lunch at quite a posh, though not overpriced, restaurant, where Molly was allowed to sit under the table and scrounge from Tom, she knows better than to try it from me . He had fish and I had pig's cheek. Yes, I did say pig's cheek, sorry vegetarians. Not the kind of thing I'd have ordered at one time, but a restaurateur in St Brieuc once urged me to, and now I think I always will when I get the chance. This time it had a delicate orange sauce and prettily presented vegetables, a slice of potato gratin and some multicoloured pasta shells with it.

Then there was pud, which was white chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis, and I just had to get the camera out.



After that, Tom and Molly retired to the car, to read and doze and loaf about by the river, and I strode outwards and upwards to mount the escaliers de Brélevenez, which are intensely picturesque.

I should know better than to try to take postcard photos; most of those I took that day were dreadful: boring, wonky and featuring large items such as wheely bins which my brain had entirely edited out when framing the shot, but which no amount of software could succeed in doing the same with afterwards.

Better, as ever, to concentrate on the details.






And why scenic photos anyway? I became aware that I couldn't satisfactorily represent much of the impression of the place: the sweet and melancholy chimes of the church clock, the prettiest I can remember hearing, because I'm no musician, and couldn't even have transcribed the notes, or the scent of Mexican orange and wisteria in the breezy air around the church at the top of the staircase. I couldn't frame the blossom-filled carpark, the two ironic old men on their bench, the wiry, independent white dog going about his business, the families with their growing-up kids with their boy- and girlfriends, a little awkward and dutiful and happy. The scene was cluttered and in flux, and of course, full of cars. A street photographer might capture it, but I am no street photographer.

But this shop front intrigued me; I have looked up the quote to no avail; who or what is Tapioca, why is he, she or it likely to get wheels, and why then be called Mirza? Perhaps one of my more clued-up French speaking readers can tell me? And look, there I am in the right window...

So, I think I could live in Lannion because it's pretty and quaint, near the sea and the pink granite coast, with walks in and around the surrounding valleys and countryside that start from the centre of the town. As well as a tourist town it is a student town. (Anais is at university there, though she's not there at the moment because she's in Southampton), and as Tom is fond of telling me when I do something like stirring my tea with my knife handle or otherwise making shift, in many ways I never really grew out of being a student. Consequently there seems to be a fair amount of cultural life, shops of artists collectives, quirky bars, Tibetan flags in shop windows...

But mostly I think I'd like to live there because of l'Imagerie. I was going to tack my impressions of this wonderful gallery, and what I saw there, on to this post, but then I've found I have come away so filled with interest and taken up by it, and consequently have so much to say, that perhaps it might be best to write another one!

So more anon.

22 comments:

Tall Girl said...

oh so many goodies here! Your lively new peacock banner and 'look', that outrageous mousse, pretty Lannion, wisteria in bloom (I can almost smell it) and that mysteriously named shop reflecting Lucy the photographer...

Tall Girl said...

Meant to say 'lovely' banner, tho it is lively too...

julie said...

What a beautiful place! Just your lovely pictures are enough to make me sigh with contentment, imagining being there.

And the banner is gorgeous, too!

Dick said...

Beautiful pictures. We're looking into the possibility of a summer holiday in Brittany - probably not far from Dinard - and the pics are a real lure!

Zhoen said...

Details are where happiness lies.

Beth said...

Oh, so beautiful! And I hope someone does explain that sign...

Lucy said...

Thank you!

TG - the mousse was really delicious too, which was partly why it was necessary to photograph it to prolong enjoying the visuals!
Julie - I seriously could have spent a lot more tiem there.
Dick - let us know if you are coming. This place is across the departement from Dinard, but Dinan is really quite as pretty and interesting.
Z - that is true!
Beth - well, if they don't I shall have to go back and ask in the shop!

Plutarch said...

Is it too late to ask the shop owner about the wheeled tapioca and the mysterious Mirza? Or will it remain a mystery to disturb the midnight hour for ever? A casual viewer of the photograph, if he did not know better, might wonder if the diminutive figure in the window could possibly be Mirza?

Mike said...

Beautiful pictures Lucy. They certainly do set a "scene."

Jean said...

I like photos of details much more than panoramic scenes. I get from these the smell and texture of the place, as well as the look. I think Lannion may have to join my list of potential holiday/retirement destinations too - it does seem to have everything.

Rosie said...

Ah but have you been to Lannion in the middle of winter? It has another tale to tell. I am impressed that you managed to order pigs cheek. I think that possibly the worst named french dish is head cheese or "fromage de tete" which tastes slightly better than it sounds

Bee said...

Lannion looks wonderful . . . sigh.

That pud!
That brilliant sky!
That wisteria?

Our wisteria hasn't even thought about blooming yet.

I'm so glad that you had a lovely day there. How far is it from your home? And have you told the story, in a past post, of how you came to be in Brittany?

Lucy said...

Plutarch - that could be my new call-sign, couldn't it, Mirza? It's rather a nice name... If I go there again I'll try to remember to ask, or I mght ask my friend Anais who's a student there.

Hello Mike dear, and thank you!

Jean - I often consloe myself about having neither the photographic equipment nor the skill to do good landscapes, that in fact in general the landscapes here don't really merit it anyway. (The exception is the view from Rosie's bathroom window, wherein she languishes in her bath like Bathsheba, sans doute, contmplating the dramatic panorama...). So yes, details are really where it's at.

Rosie - doubtless you are right; Tom says it's altogether too westerly for his tastes, though I think he's thinking of the Breizh nationalist temper that side of The Line. I always thought head cheese sounded positively obscene, and anyway I won't (knowingly) eat anything involving something's brain. But the meat in pig's cheek has such a delicious tender texture... mm, I could eat it now!

Bee - it was a fine sunny day to be sure; most of the flowers are very late here too. You are not the first to enquire as to how we came to be here, but I've never succeeded in making the story interesting enough to write about -in fact the word 'story' is something of a misnomer... Perhaps one of these days.

Sheila said...

Hi, Lucy,

Lovely photos! I'm glad you took the one of the shop.

I read your April 10 post and found it ironic, because I usually have that spring fever, too, and it usually leads me to thoughts of Italy.

And here I am in Italy, and today I finally hit some kind of wall in my psyche and have felt so very ready to have the trip over and get home to my space and my routine, my husband and my dogs. It all has to do with being an introvert and having been stretched about to my max with the almost continual presence of others....I'm sure I'll recover once I get "home" to Croatia and my own place to be.

I hope your trip to Lannion helped meet some of your need.

Take care,
Sheila

Lucy said...

Thank you dear Sheila. This theme of home and emigration and travelling seems to have come up in a few places lately; I hope you fetch up home well and happy,having benifitted from your travels and from being home. Take care, and safe journeying.

Isabelle said...

Well, I may be influenced by memories of school dinners, but I would personally rather be called Mirza than Tapioca. Just saying.

Lucas said...

Sight, sound, colour and light - all come together in these photographs. I think you have captured the sound of those tuneful carillons.

HLiza said...

Oh so much had happened here I'm clearly missing a lot of nice stuffs you served here. I love all the photos..the baby from way down..oh he melt hearts even now..the pond scenery..they're National Geographic standard Lucy!...and now these nice details in the town. I especially love the cute red shop..there's something interesting and unique about it. Sorry for not coming regularly, but I love it everytime I'm greeted with surprises and eye-pleasing stuffs. You are so great!

SpiralSkies said...

Oh, I'm weak with jealousy.

How gorgeous is that peculiar little shop? It looks as if it was cobbled together from Lego with the brief to construct something quintessentially French and charming.

Lucy said...

Thanks too.
Isabelle - you know I don't think I've ever actually eaten tapioca, they must have abolished that particular form of torture in our particular LEA by the time I went to school... I'm sure I couldn't eat it any more than fromage de tete!
Lucas - they were such pretty chimes, I scribbled a note to remind myself, and tried to transcribe them somehow, but it didn't work!
Spiral - you're an incorrigible romantic francophile! I think the shop just sold knicknacks and lampshades and suchlike. It was quaint though.

Hliza - please don't worry, it's lovely to see you when I see you!

SpiralSkies said...

Yeah, but they were French knick-knacks! :0)

leslee said...

(nodding my head over Sheila's comment and thinking I should revive my Sensitive Traveler blog...)

Lovely place, by your description and photos. And yummy pudding (the pig's cheek I'll reserve judgment on, though I imagine it'd be tasty!).