Cancale and Oyster Naturalle

So wonderfully picturesque! Beautiful Cancale emerges surprisingly on the Brittanny coast
So wonderfully picturesque! Beautiful Cancale emerges surprisingly on the Brittany coast

Cancale is but a little detour on the way to Mont St Michel from St Malo and is well worth a visit.

Known as the “Oyster Capital” of Brittany, its charming beachfront and oyster frames are extremely picturesque.

It is claimed that Louis XIV had his oysters delivered to Versailles from Cancale. All I can say is that given the state of the French roads, lack of refrigeration and the time taken to travel in Louis XIV’s day he must have had a remarkable strong stomach! The oysters must have been quite “ripe” by the time they arrived on his table and would surely have been renowned for their emetic rather than aphrodisiac properties.

My own visit was somewhat marred by concerns over the students I was escorting at the time, who all insisted on daring one another who could eat the most raw oysters which could be purchased on the beach by the dozen at practically no cost.

I am not keen on raw oysters myself after an unfortunate incident involving an off mussel as a child so had to run away as one student managed to polish off 3 dozen of the slimy things. Amazingly he was not sick but at that moment another student discovered that they had lost their passport and we had to abandon our delightful meander about the town and find the nearest police station.

Foolish us for not checking the time!

The police station was closed with a sign clearly telling us that the station was closed every day for lunch between 12 and 2pm. Delighted that the gendarmerie were enjoying their luncheon we were tempted to commit several murders, rob a bank and steal a camion de déménagement as we obviously had a good two hours where crime, it appeared, was not the business of the police in Cancale.

As neither the police, nor the passport appeared, we boarded the coach with mixed feelings while the student who had eaten all the oysters persisted to belch ominously all the way to the Mont St Michel.

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