Archive for November 23rd, 2013

November 23, 2013

La Roche Bernard, a boater’s heaven protected by a rock!

Well back on November 6 2011, I wrote an article in my blog about La Roche Bernard. For some reason, the text was lost when i was saving it, and only realise the missing text the next day. So only photos shows up on that one.

Now a bit over 2 years later , I went back with the family and took additional photos, hopefully the text will stay in this one ::)

It has been a cool cloudy day but no rain, and perfect for a day out awaiting the start of the Christmas markets season.

For tourist info on the town, email them with  ; the site for tourism of the region is in French here , and the city of La Roche Bernard (or Bernard’s Rock) is here

All in French so I try to give you the translation from them to show you a bit of everything here, it is wonderful.

The rock is as old as the  Millennium, Around the year 1000, a Lord had a castle on a rock in the new parish of Nivillac. The village of La Roche-Bernard develops from the 11th century through the establishment of merchants on the site and port traffic.
Local historians have long speculated on the origin of the name of the Lord who gave his name to the rock: Bernard. They give him a Norman or viking origin. If there were actual Normans in the entourage of the Lords rochois, it is however not possible today to know the origin of the first of them. It was in the 13th century only the line of Lords of rock is attributed as founder Bernard. The place became in acts, from 1231, “Rocha Bernardi», La Roche of Bernard.
La Roche-Bernard in the middle ages stretched along the paths of Nantes (Hospital Street) and Redon (Saint James Street) based in Grant Street descending passage on the river Vilaine. The primitive village or Bailiwick stood in the bottom of the town, in current “Old neighbourhoods” or vieux quartiers. The halls were built on the current place du bouffay. François de Coligny D’andelot, Lord, baron of La Roche-Bernard, installed the Protestant faith in his barony in the second half of the 16th century. This cult lasted in La Roche-Bernard until 1685 when the  renunciations. Local traditions still speak of the Protestant memory places: the two doors of the chapel Notre-Dame: one used by Catholics, the other, now blocked, borrowed at this time by the protestants, the granaries of the Tour de l’Isle, places of clandestine worship that communicate…
In 1666, la Roche-Bernard officially became a city. This prosperous period saw the construction of great houses: “the House of the basses-fosses” (Museum of the Vilaine), down the street from the dumpling houses are examples. The port internationally trade especially with Northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, England, Wales…) as well as with the Spain.  Set off local production (cereals, timber, salt and wine of the Guérande peninsula…). At the beginning of the 17th century, one of the first vessels of the Royal fleet, the Crown, was built in La Roche-Bernard on the orders of Richelieu. 60 meters long, 600-man crew… The ship much impressed his contemporaries by its allure.
La Roche-Bernard during the revolutionary period was often described as a Republican bastion encircled by chouans. The Revolution creates new territorial entities and La Roche-Bernard passes  the responsibility of Nantes (Diocese of Nantes and sénéchaussée of Guérande) to Vannes (Morbihan Department).
La Roche-Bernard thrives in the 19th century in part thanks to its market and fairs established as early as the middle ages. It benefits from its location, on the border of two regions of different agricultural production (livestock and animal by-products, cereal…). It was at this time that appear the big squares in the city, places of markets (the church square with the relocation of the cemetery in 1830, place du Bouffay with the demolition of the halles in 1877…). The port contributes, in the second half of the century, with a regular exchange of wood and coal, especially with Wales. The arrival of the railway in 1912 however is greatly reduce port activities. Travelers have that tray of passage as a solution to cross the river Vilaine, however, the reputation of La Roche tray is not always very good. In 1839, it inaugurated the first bridge on the Vilaine. However, in 1852, apron brakes, then in 1871. The bridge is then replaced by a bridge of metal  in 1912. The bridges have an effect on the urban landscape rochois and the allure of the medieval village is shattered by a transverse axis: the current rue Crespel key, insulating the bottom area.
La Roche-Bernard is occupied by the Nazi army from 1940 to 1945. From August 1944 to May 1945, it is part of the “pocket of Saint-Nazaire” which the boundary to the North was the Vilaine. It was bombed by the Americans in August 1944. The bridge, undermined by the Nazis, blowups, struck by fire powder on August 15, 1944. The crossing of the river Vilaine is back traverse by boats. In 1960, a new bridge was inaugurated. Today, the crossing is also half a mile upstream, on the deck of the Morbihan, built in 1996.
A wonderful place to visit, we had our walks again there today, and had lunch at the wonderful Le Yackam’s bar brasserie at 8 Quai St Antoine, just by the port or harbor area; plenty of free parking.  great tagliatelle st jacques with cafe gourmand and a bottle of 2013 Beaujolais nouveau!!! less than 22€ per person.
If you have the time, we see them bits by bits as I live only about 52 minutes by car from it; these are the main attractions:
The bridge of the Vilaine of course, La Maison du Canon, Château de Basse-Fossées, La Quenelle, Le Lavoir, Chapelle Notre Dame, Church St Michel, Maison Bertho, les Garennes, la maison Coligny, and do walk the rue de la saulnerie. The maison du miel is wonderful for the history of honey in the area.
Enjoy La Roche Bernard. Cheers!
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