Rennes: The tourist website suggests that we visit: The Parlement of Brittany: "From a heritage and historical point of view, the Parlement of Brittany building is one of Rennes and Brittany's finest tourist attractions. Built between 1618 and 1655 after the plans of Salomon de Brosse, architect of the palace of Luxembourg in Paris, the site of this sovereign court of justice with the responsibility to record royal edicts and letters, expresses within its walls the very prestige of its function. The Grand chamber - the work of Charles Errard and Noël Coypel - is the exceptional jewel of the interior décor which features French style ceilings and sculpted gilded wood panelling. Most specialists agree it represents a unique example or pictorial art of the time."
Specialities: galette saucisse, parlementin de Rennes (almond, apple and cider pastry), Breton specialities
Mûr-de-Bretagne: Time to visit a lake. From the tourist website:"West of Mûr-de-Bretagne is the Lac de Guerlédan, Brittany’s largest lake. Not only is this the perfect place for sunning yourself or messing about on the water but the area also offers extensive trails for walking and cycling. The Quénécan forest and Abbaye de Bon Repos are not to be missed. Joining the Nantes-Brest Canal at its western and eastern ends, the 7 miles (12km)-long Lac de Guerlédan was created in the 1920s at the same time as the dam, which provides hydro-electricity for the region; visit the Musée de l’Electricité at St Aignan (mid-June to mid-Sept) to find out about its history. A good time to visit Guerlédan is in mid-August when the Fête du Lac takes place – a day-long festival featuring markets, classic cars, water-based activities, fireworks and the all-important Fest-Noz."
Specialities: pancakes, butter biscuits, venison terrine, farmhouse cheeses
The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment: The path to the heart of Brittany on the roads of the Côtes-d'Armor area puts an end to a period made for sprinters. The candidates for a leading role will indeed have to take command of the race. The battle for seconds will witness a new fierce episode on the final climb that will this time be made even harder without a previous surge. And the gaps at the finish, even reduced, could have severe consequences.
On the road, Chava lives, as our breakaway of the day consists of Sylvain Chavanel, Romain Sicard, Bartosz Huzarski, and Pierre-Luc Perichon. With 120 kilometers to go, their gap was 2:30. In off the road news, Luca Paolini has tested positive for cocaine use and kicked out of the race. More at Podium Cafe and many other places.
At the sprintermediate, maximum points again from the field for Greipel. He is determined to hang onto the green points jersey. Immediately after that point, attacks came from the front of the peloton, with a group going off the front. Hey, Kwiatkowski, one of my stage predictor choices for the day. That group would catch the existing break very quickly.
Les échappés sont rattrapés et @michalkwiatek attaque / @michalkwiatek attacks while the breakaway has been caught pic.twitter.com/I5S4k7T3LY— Le Tour de France (@letour) July 11, 2015
After some sorting out the new break consisted of Bak, Golas, and Huzarski. With 59 kilometers to go, their gap was 38". Fifty kilometers to go and it was around one minute. Nice field art:
OMG rear derailleur pulley hay bales!!!! pic.twitter.com/RJdbPg1UPQ— nyvelocity (@nyvelocity) July 11, 2015
Oh look, a wedding:
58” advantage for @golasmichal, Bak, Huzarski. 29.3km to go. This finale coming up! #TDF2015 pic.twitter.com/QxlPWPk5Ei— Etixx - Quick-Step (@Etixx_QuickStep) July 11, 2015
With twenty two kilometers to go, that gap had dropped to thirty-seven seconds. Crash at the back of the race, but everyone was back up riding quickly. Nine kilometers to go and Golas and Bak remained out front with twelve seconds. Behind, most of the sprinters have sat up to form a grupetto. Just under eight kilometers to go and the break was caught. Four kilometers to go and the reduced peloton was still together. Two kilometers to go, they turned a corner and the up they went. As they got further along, the expected attacks, with Vuillermoz and Dan Martin. Vuillermoz would hold on for the win. Behind, Nibali and Talansky lost a few seconds.
Alcohol: Lemorton Pommeau de Normandie
From Frankly Wines $27.99
From Charles Neal: While many people refer to it as an apple brandy, pears are also allowed in Calvados.The southern appellation of Calvados, the Domfrontais, has clay and limestone soil much more suited to the strong, deep roots of pear trees. Appellation law insists that at least 30% of the cider to be distilled in the Domfrontais is made from pears. This pear influence makes not only for a lighter-colored spirit, but also one which emits a more feminine and elegant bouquet.
The Lemorton family has a long history in the Domfrontais. Roger (right) is the fifth generation and his son (Didier, left, with his son) now runs the domaine. Their 9-acre property is planted with both apple and pear trees; the latter's influence is dominant; for every three apples in their Calvados, there are approximately seven pears.
I say: One of these years I really will feature a Calvados. But I could not resist this rather lovely pommeau. A regional website tells me that "this aperitif par excellence, mainly consumed in Normandy, is obtained by mixing 2/3 juice of apples (non-fermented juice) and 1/3 d ' eau de vie of cider 2 years or more. It is directly inspired by the model of the Pineau des Charentes wine."
In this case, it is pear, rather than apple and I like it a lot simply chilled and sipped.
Food: Kouign Amann
I thought of making Kouign Amann, a round crusty cake, made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry albeit with fewer layers.
But I could not resist the lure of B Patisserie. After all, the recently celebrated Kouign Amann Day! Really: "Unlike most of the national food days, which seem to come from a variety of big companies or PR firms, National Kouign Amann Day came about because B. Patisserie’s little staff petitioned the powers that be to make it happen. Actually, B. Patisserie seems to be the only place celebrating it — and that’s appropriate, given that the kouign amann’s renaissance can be tied directly to the corner of California and Divisadero."
Note: that if you'd like to make it at home, their recipe can be found here.