Sunday, August 04, 2019

Keremma on my mind

Chez Pierre in Keremma

Two weeks removed from beautiful Brittany we are still basking in the glow of our time in the coastal hamlet of Keremma where we spent carefree days painting and photographing on the beach, in the dunes and in the glorious towns of the Finistère. We were captivated by the pastel tones and soft light of this pastoral region where artichokes, onions and potatoes flourish and where shellfish are harvested for savory Moules et Frites and briny oysters on the half shell. This part of Brittany is off the tourist trail and we were the only Americans we saw. It was bliss.

Ellen Howard, Paul Kratter and Peggy Immel at Chez Pierre

We are grateful that Richard Lindenberg included us in his list of potential housemates and even more grateful that we said yes within five minutes of being asked. Sometimes it pays to be impulsive. There were twelve slots available to share Pierre Guidetti’s country home in Keremma and, according to Richard, all the beds were taken within 24 hours. We are so lucky.

Pierre’s house is a handsome three story affair built in typical Breton style and, while a relatively new iteration, it has the country estate esthetic that abounds in the area and blended seamlessly with the palatial residences in the neighborhood, a neighborhood of 2,500 cousins according to local lore. It seems that a distant forebear of Pierre’s bought the land and established a commune in which only family members can own the property. There are no commercial services to be found in Keremma save a campground and a windsurfing school. What you will find is the world’s largest family compound. I exaggerate to make the point. As guests of Pierre we were greeted like long lost relatives. Our reception couldn’t have been warmer.

Richard Lindenberg and Paul Kratter at the Saturday market in Plousecat
Duck sausage among others

For a supermarket and other services it’s a ten minute drive to Plousecat, a charming town of 3,800. At the center of town sits the 15th century Les Halles, a timber framed open air market structure and the neo-Gothic Eglise Saint Pierre de Plousecat from 1870. The Saturday Market cannot be missed. The selection of cheeses and sausages is breathtaking. The roast chicken and local produce induce gasps and giggles. I am very hungry.

Ellen Howard painting on the dunes above the beach at low tide

Every day was perfection with daytime temperatures in the low 70s and sweater weather in the evening when it stayed light till 10:30. It made for long days that started with a 7am run on the beach and ended after painting till the sun fell into the sea. I was so enthralled that I lived that life for eight days with nary a nap. I’ve been examining that phenomenon, how it is that one has so much more energy when stimulated by new and special places.

Peggy Immel, Krystal Brown, Vered Pasternak, Ellen Howard, Jan Norsetter, Lori McNee and Tia Kratter above the beach at 10PM
Guevroc Chapel

The dunes above the beach were riven with paths which led from Keremma to Brignagon Plage in the west and Plousecat to the east. Much to my surprise I saw more runners in a day that I’ve seen in Taos in, well, ever. Nestled in the shallow dunes sat the 17th century Eglise Guevroc. The first room in the church may even go back to the seventh century as told by Jacques Rosseau, Pierre’s older cousin. To be steeped in that kind of history is a thing of awe.

I can't recommend Brittany enough if you want leisurely days, gentle people and caressing beauty.


Blacks Crossing said...

After reading today's blog, as well as Peggy's waxings on Facebook, I am surprised you two made it back to the states at ll. It sounds absolutely sublime. I love the fun group shots, the market, of course, and the Guevroc Chapel, and your treatment of the black and white shots. Yes, being in different places and discovering new things is wonderfully stimulating, and obviously, being closer to the Atlantic left you much more comfortable than everyone else who visited interior Europe. So happy to hear more about your trip, and we look forward to the next episode. (And yes, the black and white sunflower was, indeed, for you.)

Unknown said...

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