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Finding the hidden gems in France

I’ve certainly not experienced anything like that…..it makes our adventures sound really tame. You must tell us more about yours.


Loved the empanada story, what a scream.
The nearest I ever came to that sort of thing was when I lived in Burma in the late 60’s when things were really at their nadir – there was a handful of white women married to Burmese and allowed into the country and that was that.
I was on a train to the north when dacoits opened fire on the train. Everyone threw themselves on the floor as bullets whizzed round the carriage. Then I noticed they were all glaring at me – I had dropped down next to a Buddhist monk. Women aren’t allowed anywhere near, so I had to crawl away through gunfire – this got approval and I was fed someone’s curry, which removed my power of speech for some time…

We don’t have many disasters on this scale fortunately as I am never allowed to live them down. Husband has a habit of looking at me and asking ’Is this really going to be worth it?

"isn’t it wonderful when it all comes together though?"

Yes, and we have many happy memories of these times. I’ve written about another one here:


Loved your review about the gem that was more hidden than you anticipated – it brought back memories of looking for dolmen or standing stones in various parts of Europe and feeling the will to live slowly drain as it becomes increasingly obvious that they’re not going to come out to play…isn’t it wonderful when it all comes together though?

I must admit I haven’t written this up on the review forum. I did a review of guide books for Brittany here:
http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/Revi … ductReview
and one on signposting and map reading:
http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/Revi … ductReview

I was scratching my head to try and think of new topics for the forum and came up with this one. It worries me when so many people restrict themselves to the ‘must sees’ and miss so many other fascinating places. Mind you, not all live up to expectation and there is the story of one of these here:
http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/Revi … ductReview


I haven’t looked yet – but I hope you have posted your really helpful and interesting material as a review on the Silver Travel Adviser wesite. This is exactly what I suspect most of us signed-up members are looking for – advice from like-minded travellers wanting to get away from the tourist spots to places which other ‘seniors’ have discovered and recommended. There are now over 2,000 reviews on the site with experiences from many locations, in the UK and in many other parts of the world. Helped by advice from other members, we are off to one of the Egyptian Red Sea resorts next week for another new adventure. Watch for the review….!!

Dorset, UK

We spent three weeks in Brittany last year. Having read the different guide books for Brittany I was very disappointed. By the time you took out information on accommodation, traveling by public transport and eating, there wasn’t much detailed information about many areas. The ‘must sees’ were covered but the rest was skimmed over.

The older I get the more I have come to the conclusion that many ‘must sees’ are places to be avoided. There are some like the Carnac megaliths which are worth visiting but even then there are similar, although smaller alignments to be found close by at Le Petit Menec and the Alignments de Kerzerho at Erdeven. As these get fewer visitors, it is possible to wander freely round the stones.

I don’t want to spend all my holiday following the crowd and ticking off the must see. I want to explore and get off the tourist beat.

I use a copy of Michelin 1:200,000 for planning and map reading in France. These can be bought from Michelin
or from Amazon.
They have icons for all kinds of historical/touristy interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths. Designated scenic roads are marked in green. Some of these places do get a mention in Michelin Green Guide, but the vast majority are ignored by other guide books. Smaller places may not have a web site either.

Michelin also produce departmental maps are of the scale 1:150,000 which have a lot of detail.
These are excellent if you are wanting to concentrate on a small area or are wanting to walk. The downside is that you will probably need several as they don’t cover a very large area.

When planning routes I use the map to identify scenic drives looking for small towns and villages with the icon for a historic church or chateau. Many of these places see few foreign tourists and repay exploring. Parking is rarely a problem. Churches are usually open and we have them to ourselves. Even the churches in small villages are lavishly decorated. Some like Commana and St Herbot are the equal of the must sees of St Thegonnec and Pleyben.

Places like Loncronan and Pont Aven are very much on the tourist route and at times it is impossible to park. There are many other unspoilt towns in Brittany which have preserved their medieval centres but get few visitors. La Vraie Croix, Pont Croix and Malestroit are just three examples

We found some amazing places using this method, like the Grotto at Callac.

Try it and see.

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