Discovering Josselin Brittany

Written by on February 21, 2015 in Brittany

josselin brittany

Discovering Josselin in Brittany, with its medieval half-timbered houses, ancient castle and busy town centre…

One late summer evening we arrived on the bus from Rennes, the capital of Brittany, and trundled our suitcases down the streets to find the old end-of-terrace townhouse we had rented for a month. We had no idea what to expect, other than no English speaking residents and a two hour lunch break when shops were closed. Google had yielded little information in English. We quickly made ourselves at home, finding all the mundane necessaries of everyday life like supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, and of course bakeries for the obligatory bread which no self-respecting French person would be without at every meal. Josselin may be small, but unlike many small towns in New Zealand where we hail from, it has at least one of everything you need.


Each day we set off to explore something new, gradually expanding our horizons as we got to know the town.  Narrow streets, centuries-old half-timber buildings, a cobbled town square, weekly market day, a chateau and a meandering canal added to the charms of this Breton village. There were two good bikes provided with the house and we packed a daily picnic (wine, cheese, baguette and charcuterie) and set off along the canal towpaths to find other small towns nestled in the beautiful rolling countryside.  At every turn in the river there was something new to see, from old mills to red squirrels, from gorgeous old architecture to holy springs in the middle of nowhere.

josselin-riverThe late afternoons invariably saw us at a café or bar, soaking up the atmosphere and watching the locals go about their business, and there were numerous restaurants with friendly service and good food.  The Breton specialties are crepes (sweet) and galettes (savoury), and the seafood is also fresh and abundant.  Our particular favourite place to eat was Le Guethenoc, a small but very popular family-run restaurant and pizzeria in the town square. Close by was a second hand clothing shop, run by a woman with dreadlocks and an eclectic dress sense who had the cutest French bulldog pup. Despite the language barrier I managed to ask her a few questions and we had a laugh at our efforts to understand each other!

This pretty village got under my skin, the combination of the rural scenery, architecture, history, people, food, language and the experience of living somewhere completely different turned me into a Francophile with a love of Josselin and I can’t wait to return…

Trudie Walters is a sessional lecturer in tourism at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.  She loves the vibrant culture of this small city with its friendly people and proud sense of community, wildlife, beaches, stunning scenery, restaurants and cafes, theatres, concerts and sporting events.

Related Articles

The most beautiful beaches of Brittany

Life’s a beach… Never has a saying been more apt than when referring to Brittany.  With around 2,730 km of varied coastline, Brittany, and its cluster of islands, enjoys around a third of the total shoreline of France. It’s no wonder  that seaside activities and attractions abound in this wonderful region. We take a look […]

Continue Reading

Fabulous holiday ideas for your visit to Brittany

Brittany has some 1780 miles of glorious coastline, that’s around a third of France’s total coastline – in one region. Everywhere you go there are great beaches, from the Pink Granite coast and hidden coves in the north to the idyllic beaches of Morbihan, Brittany really does have beaches to suit everyone. Inland, the unspoiled […]

Continue Reading

Guide to Morbihan, Brittany

Guide to Morbihan, Brittany

Written by on January 29, 2019 in Brittany

Morbihan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Brittany. Offering the perfect mix of country and coast with fabulous sandy beaches, history, gastronomy, legends and fabulous scenery, there’s a wealth of wonderful places to visit. Auray – a picture perfect port The 15th century picture perfect port of St Goustan in Auray, […]

Continue Reading

What to see and do on the Ile de Bréhat, Brittany

A mile off the northern coast of Brittany you will find Ile de Bréhat, a lush and peaceful island of about 400 full time residents. Bréhat is located along the pink granite coast, situated in an archipelago of several islands. Attractions of the Ile de Bréhat The 15-minute ferry from L’Arcouest on the mainland will […]

Continue Reading

5 great reasons to visit Brittany France

Brittany, northwest France, is a world away from busy days and crowded streets. Spectacular landscapes and preserved nature, fresh sea air and authentic living, miles of coastline and picturesque villages… Brittany ticks all the boxes. Relax in Rennes a city of art, history and retail therapy Brittany’s administrative capital is a city of contrasts. Narrow, […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.