Vannes is one of those places that contours up the idyllic French holiday, sitting outside a cafe with a crepe and a cold glass of muscadet whilst watching the world go by.
But on Saturday night there was rugby on the menu at Stade de la Rabine on Place Théodore Decker.
Standing on the right bank of the town’s marina, the stadium takes its name from the Promenade de la Rabine, which true to the meaning of the Breton word ‘rabine’ is a tree-lined path between the esplanade and the port.
The ground holds 5,440 spectators and is jointly used by top of the table Pro D2 rugby side Club Vannetais and Vannes OC, who now operate in the fifth tier, after spending the 2008/09 and 2010/11 seasons in Ligue 2.
Wales arrived in the land of their Celtic cousins full of optimism for this opening game of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations.
That optimism was shattered, as gaps as wide as the Gulf of Morbihan appeared in the Welsh defence, to allow Caroline Boujard a hat trick of tries in the opening 15 minutes.
It took 2 mins 22 seconds for the Montpellier wing to open her account, her favourite film is “The Hunger Games” and her hunger for the try line bordered on gluttony in a first half where France ran in 4 converted tries, to lead 31-0 at the break.
In the second half Wales defended heroically, holding up Sansus, Boujard and Tremouliere over the line saving three certain tries.
France did however score 4 tries in the second period, and the gulf between semi professional and amateur rugby, which is a huge factor in the Women’s Six Nations, was there for all to see.
For a new look Welsh side this was a harsh lesson, but they will face an Ireland side that hasn’t played for quite some time next weekend, all the better for their run out in the cool Breton night air.
For France once again it looks like a match against England on April 24 will decide the title, but there are a few hurdles to overcome before we come to Le Crunch.