"Cancale=Oysters" Cancale by hquittner

Cancale Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 63 photos

We Missed Them the First Time

We were poorly informed oyster lovers when we first visited Brittany and did not know about Cancale. We knew that hedonistic royaly in Rome and France gorged themselves on these fine mollusks, but did not think they were still available. We have watched the loss of beds on the East Coast of the USA and figured the same happened in Europe. When we found that they were an expensive delicacy in France and came primarily from Cancale, we determined to route ourselves through there. We were taking our first grandchild (10yrs old) to France for his first trip. One of the (unfulfilled) preconditions was that he would "try" to eat all the new foods. He was from new Orleans, which is awash in oysters (See our Tips there), and we were dismayed to find that he did not eat them (and was repelled by his first taste here). The Restaurant we ate at was selected because it was "cheap" enough to have a "steack et frites" on the menu outside.

Simple Fare

It takes great ability to destroy the flavor of fresh seafood, much of it is raw, the rest briefly grilled, sauteed or steamed a short time. So we dined well. We had light overclothing and so the sea breeze was a plus. The restaurant was on the Quai extending from the Quai Gambetta to the Jetty. There are numerous places to eat including a few upscale. Of course in France raw oysters are graded as to size and often sold by the piece rather than as in New Orleans by the dozen, random-sized. We each had a costly (by N.O. standards) medium-sized dozen. We found that the French eat them "differently" than Americans; they provided no such thing as ketchup and they did not of course know the word "horseradish" (or even the French term "raifort" used in Alsace) or even Worcestershire Sauce. So we had them a la francaise: with minced raw onion , rounds of rye-bread and raspberry vinegar. I still like them that way or straight (especially if they are "salty" ("wild")). The mussels were steamed in butter and wine -mariniere (like in Brussels).

What To Do In and Around Cancale

Canacale would be a place to use as a base for day visits to St. Malo, Dol de Bretagne and Mont St.-Michel and environs, especially in season where more popular places are filled. As an alternative place to stay and to spend a little time visiting there is the Pointe du Grouin about 4 km North up the coast where there are fine walking paths, sea views and a single hotel and restaurant. When the tide is out, one can watch them harvest oysters from the beds just off-shore in town.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Oysters
  • Cons:Not a Tourist Site
  • In a nutshell:Oysters are for me and maybe for you.
  • Last visit to Cancale: Aug 1992
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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