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Laurie, View from the Balcony (Read 5187 times)
Aug 14th, 2006 at 7:49pm

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"We've got room Monday through Thursday night" the hotel clerk told Blair.  "We'll take it."

On our last trip to Bretagne (Brittany), we passed the ideal vacation hotel.  A friend from Paris wanted to visit the area, so we piled into her car with her dog and headed Northwest to realize our dream.


The hotel is perched on the bay of Dinard, facing the corsaire (pirate) city of St. Malo.   The wooden passenger ferry leaves from the quay in front of the property for St. Malo every half hour.

When I was a teenager, my best friend had a job at the Ocean House hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  People stayed the summer on the "modified American plan" which included breakfast and dinner.  So it was for us at the Printania.

I never stayed at a place like this before, where guests had their own dinner table, and unfinished wine was tagged with a room number for the following night.  I followed the movements of the fragile old (handsome) man and his wife of indeterminate age; the family of three little girls and their blustering Dad with the cell phone; and the man with the Yorkshire terrier.  Ideas for novels raced through my head, and I pictured myself in the red velvet Napoleon lounge, with a typewriter.

When we passed our hotel-mates on the street we'd greet each other like neighbors.  We saw our butcher from Paris while we were there, struggling to recognize him in with non-bloodied clothes (his huge, paw-like hand was a give away).

The area had an unusually low tide while we were there, and the water receded to a near half mile off shore.  Blair and I etched fish and mermaid images into the mossy cover of the stone piers.    People scrambled out to look for sunken treasure.  Three pirate cannons were found, and laid on the quay in front of our hotel.  Next morning, at high tide, the booty was craned onto a boat and carried off.

At high tide, a car and boat carrier were towed in from the ramp as sea water encroached.  I jumped from the sidewalk into the water, swimming around the piers.  The water was a brisk 65 degrees, bright and refreshing.

There is no other culture which vacations better than the French.  With near-reverence they enjoy themselves and respect the rights of others to do the same.  Nobody picks the flowers or litters, at least not in Brittany.

Our waitresses were dressed, a la Gaugin, in starched "coifs" and stiff white collars.  The hotel has original artwork in all the rooms and corridors.  The dining room and breakfast room are perched on the bay, open to the sea air, and sea gulls fly by, begging for an oyster or stuffed clam.  The ferry horn sounds.

Dogs are welcome, which adds a certain humanity to what could be a stuffy scene.  Our canine associate, Missy, works to keep the other dogs, a Yorkie, and a griffin, away from us.  She cries when we go into our own room, but is otherwise well behaved.

Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
www.artnotesparis.blogspot.com ; (see all the paintings from the trip (13))
View from the Balcony   Acrylic on canvas  23.5 x 15 inches
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