Archive for October 26th, 2018

October 26, 2018

Way up north to Roscoff!

Cruising right along in my lovely Brittany and the day now turning sunny and cool just fine for Autumn. Temps chez moi are 54F! ok so let me bring you further north , to the northern coast of Finistére , and the city of Roscoff.

This was a curiosity trip as heard so much of my English friends coming by there that I decided to take the trek up north to see. Of course, another delightful trip in my lovely Brittany. I am about 164 km from home cutting inland D769 Morlaix and then D58 to Roscoff.

It will be a bit long mainly because I love the history of it and all, why visit if not dwell into the history of the place. And of course fully describe.

Roscoff  is in dept 29 of Finistère and in the region of Brittany. It was a former haven of Corsairs and then smugglers, from where the johnnies sell their pink onions. It is a small seaside town that has preserved its architectural heritage from the 16-17C. Its deep-water port, served by Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries, which has its headquarters, provides ferry connections with the British Isles and Spain. The Breton name of the town is Rosko and Roscoff comes from the Breton Ros meaning promontory, and from Goff which means blacksmith the name of Roscoff could therefore be translated into French by the Hill of the blacksmith.

Its foreshore, swept by tides with a tidal of up to 10.40 meters, houses a biological diversity specific to two ecosystems of border algae whose study, in 1872, is the origin of the first legislation  pole of research and teaching in Marine biology, the biological Station of Roscoff. Wanted for its iodized spray and the softness of a climate maintained by a sea current that varies only between 8 °c and 18 °c, Roscoff is also a stay of aftercare which saw the birth of the concept of Thalassotherapy Center in 1899, the Institut Rochcroum, and proposes , in addition to a private care and rehabilitation facility, the Kerléna Clinic, a reference Héliomarin hospital founded in 1900, the Center of Perharidy.

Roscoff occupies the point of the promontory which closes to the west the Bay of Morlaix has 14 kilometers of coastline with several beaches of very fine white sand. Access by land is made from Saint-Pol by a single road, the D58  or Santec, to the south West, by a small coastal road. Roscoff is 98 nautical miles, 182 km from Plymouth, 210 km from Rennes and 562 from Paris. It takes 6 hours by ferry, about 15 hours sailing (but 2 days in opposite winds), to reach Plymouth. The airport of Morlaix is about 30 km. The SNCF railway station of Roscoff, terminus of the line of Morlaix in Roscoff, via Saint-Pol-de-Léon, is served by trains TER Bretagne which allow a correspondence with the TGV in Morlaix. Sea shuttles between Roscoff and the Isle of Batz; Ferries to and from Plymouth and Cork from the port of Bloscon; The air link is via the Brest-Guipavas airport. The Vieux port (old Port) is a port of stranding and a pier for tourism to the island of Batz. At the beginning of the 20C it replaced the old Port of the 16C, which is itself today only a simple Promenade quay. The port of Bloscon is a deep water port passenger traffic by ferries to Great Britain (Plymouth) and Ireland (Cork). The fishing port  has 300 places of which 280 on calm water and 20 berths. The new marina of Roscoff, in deep water, offers 625 berths for all types of boats including 50 sites reserved for visitors.  In front of Roscoff, beyond a double channel, the Great Kan and the Little Kan separated by the rock of Perroc’h, and animated by strong currents, is located the island-of-Batz distance of 550 meters. Roscoff is served by road by the D 58 which is 4 lanes  of Morlaix (where this road joins the N12) to Saint-Pol-de-Léon and the D 788 from Brest via Lesneven.

Roscoff

Roscoff is included in the Special Protection Zone Natura 2000 of the Bay of Morlaix and borders the natural area of ecological, fauna and floristic interest of the Penzé estuary. The exceptional biological diversity of Roscoff, consisting of more than three thousand animal species, is linked to its maritime interface and its geographical singularities (tide, climate, marine currents, cloudiness, geodesy, etc.) that overlap Two algae ecosystems, one Nordic and one Mediterranean.

A bit of history I like

The gradual siltation in the Middle Ages of the port of Pempoul, at the foot of the capital of the bishopric-county, obliges the ships to land on the other side of the peninsula, at the place known as Roscoff located on the eastern beach of Laber, called today Rosko Goz (old Roscoff in Breton). The current Pointe du Vil is a cul-de-sac where the route of Saint-Pol-de-Léon is called at the 17C rue  Ker da Laez, now rue Albert de Mun.  This road comes to what will become the Rue du Cap, current rue Édouard-Corbières, along the coast towards Perharidy, ex-cap Ederi or Pointe Ederi , which is called pen ederi or pen ar ederi. The location of the bifurcation is then occupied by an inn, at the site of the current Hotel de France today lodging of the biological Station of Roscoff. The place Croaz Vaz, (the island of Batz, cross) which will give its name to the fort built by Vauban three and a half centuries later. As attested by a charter of 1323.

During the war of the Succession of Brittany in 1363, fourteen years after the start of the Black Plague, the fort of Bloscon, to the northeast of the present old port, taken by the English, is taken over by Guesclin. From 1374 to 1387, the port of Rosco himself was burned several times by the governor of Brest, Richard Fitzalan, whom Richard II chose to support the Montfortian party.  In 1455, the Duke Pierre de Montfort, endorsing a state of facts generated by this hundred-year naval war, orders that the nobles  of a new  Breton law giving rise to a shipowners ‘ capitalism that led to the economic development of Saint-Malo and Morlaix and the latter’s port, Roscoff.

In 1500, the new Roscoff was built  700 meters further north of Roscoff Goz where some wells were used to discharge freshwater vessels. In 1595, the Duke of Mercœur, claiming Baillistre militarily allied with the Spaniards against the king for five years, reinstated by letters patent the trade with Bilbao and Seville, the main outlets. Roscoff also served as a refuge for several English Catholic families fleeing the persecutions begun during the reign of Elizabeth. Roscoff was also from the 16C, with Morlaix and Paimpol, one of the first ports to be armed with cod fishing on the banks of Newfoundland and then on the coast of Iceland. Salted cod was sold in France and especially in Spain; as Brittany was not subject to the taxes, the fishermen of Picardy and Normandy came to Roscoff to supply salt with good account.

Roscoff

The fall of Nicolas Fouquet (by king Louis XIV) marks the beginning of the economic and political destruction of the province under the absolutist reign of the Duke of Chaulnes. Louis XIV’s policy and the protectionist measures of Charles II closed the English and Hanseatic markets. Roscoff became the first port of smuggling with the British Isles for almost three centuries. In 1694, Vauban signed the plans of the transformation executed by the Renaudière, from the fort of Bloscon into a large battery of 13  cannons closed by a drawbridge. The Bloscon fort becomes the seat of the captaincy of Saint-Pol-de-Léon which extends from Ploujean to Cleder and whose centerpiece is the Chateau de Taureau.

In 1790, Roscoff was unilaterally incorporated into the autonomous municipality of Saint-Pol-de-Léon. Under the French revolutionary government, from September 1792 to May 1793, then during the first half of 1794, Roscoff became a deportation center. The Directoire closes all the places of worship again and returns the two remaining priests of the parish to hiding.

The liberal phase of the Second Empire then, with much more magnitude, the Third Republic sees Roscoff, whose budget of the years 1870 has more than doubled in forty years, equipping itself with new infrastructure and entering modernity in stages. At the beginning of the 20C, the port of Roscoff experienced significant traffic thanks, in particular, to the Transchannel links. Many of the coasters and long hauls regularly stop there. The flotilla was composed mostly of specialized fishing nets and ropes (or bottom lines).

The monument to the Fallen of Roscoff bears the names of 159 sailors and soldiers who died for France during WWI. The monument to the Fallen of Roscoff bears the names of 41 people who died for France during WWII. On 18 April 1943, the Nazis decided to destroy some parts of the Fort du Bloscon, built by Vauban, to build seven blockhouses, fourteen firing bunkers and a few other concrete works, all welcoming a battery of sixty men. In early January 1944, it was through this element of the Atlantic Wall that Erwin Rommel began his inspection tour to Plérin.

In August 1969, the pedestrian jetty, allowing the embarkation for Batz island at low tide, was inaugurated after two years of work. The tourist shuttle fleets are developing. In 1972, the first car-ferry connection with England took place, at the deep water port of Bloscon, whose work had begun two years earlier.

roscoff

roscoff

Things to see

Le Pardon (forgiveness/repent). The third Monday in July, after the ten-hour mass, takes place the Pardoun Sant Barba (forgiveness of Santa Barbara). The procession, along the itinerary inside the city, lasts from fourteen hours to vêpres. The disguise is that of the high Leon, for women, as for men, black, that an embroidered shawl sometimes comes to brighten. Women’s headdress is the Chikolodenn. The oldest of the four hymns of forgiveness is Sant Barba e Rosko. The house of Johnnies allows tourists to take an interest in the history of these onion merchants who crossed the channel to sell their products from the mid-19C.

Dolmen of Kerfissiec. Lech de Reuniou says Croaz Covec (Croix Riffleshell), near Keravel (south west of the town). It is a narrow stele, a sort of miniature menhir carved to serve in the manner of a cippe, similar to many others in the Leon, dating from the Iron Age, or at the earliest the 7C B.C., reused to make the base of a much more recent Calvary. Nearby, three hundred meters from the place-dit Leslec’h  stood a triple walkway covered dynamited in 1942 in favor of the Nazis by the owner of the field which was encumbered.  Calvary of Roscogoz, in granite and Kersanton, dates from the end of the 14C or the beginning of the 15C.

Church of Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz. The square is enclosed by a wall in which is incised a ossuary of the early 17C and a funeral chapel. Altarpiece of Alabaster exposed in a chapel specially arranged in 1634 in the south transept of Notre Dame. Of the 15, these are 7 high reliefs brought back from Nottingham that represent the Passion.

Roscoff

Hotel Le Skinny, 22 rue de Amiral-Réveillère, complemented by two wings in the 17C. The staircase turret at the back seems to have remained of the 16C. The strong house (fort like), built in the 16C by the Christian Corsair the Pappe  attacked in 1592 by Anne de Sanzay de la Magnane, Captain interested in the Holy Union of Morlaix.

The manor of Kerestat, next to the chapel of Bonne-Nouvelle, erected by the Kergouvelen family, continue in 1630 of a shipowner, James of Portenoire, then of the military governor of Brittany, the Earl of Marbeuf.  The house called “of Mary Stuart” where Monseigneur de Chavigné, Bishop-Count of Leon, would have welcomed the future queen of France on her landing.

The Château de Laber built in 1890 on a plot of 50 hectares. The owner widowed in 1901, died in 1902, madly in pain as a result of the drowning of her adopted son in the dike lock in 1900, leaving the castle to public Assistance, which granted  it for 99 yrs to the Center Helio-Marin in 1920.

The lighthouse, 24 meters high, was built in 1934 to replace a red lantern that dated from 1884 and was located at the end of the mole. Its two-meters diameter lantern illuminates by occultation twelve seconds on two areas of a white fire up to 15 nautical miles thanks to a fixed optic by Henry-Lepaute . The exotic and botanical Garden of Roscoff, 3 500 exotic species ranked by continent on 16 000 m2 landscaped on the Bay of Morlaix

Some webpages as usual to help you plan your trip to Roscoff and it must, rather nice if you are into architecture, history ,and the sea like me.

City of Roscoff on heritage

Tourist office of Roscoff

Tourist office of Finistére on Roscoff

Tourist office of Brittany on Roscoff

And there you go, all set and just need the go. Nice place in my Brittany, the 3rd most visited region of the most visited country in the world, France!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 26, 2018

More wine news from France!

And once again I gather some efforts to write about one of my favorite hobbies yet seldom write on it. This is wines of course, if you read my blog you know about my qualifications and experiences so rather than repeat let me tell you the latest wine news from France! Simply the best ::) End of discussion!

Well is the 2018 harvest coming along? From my ins to the wine growing region near me in the Loire the 2018 should be very good and now from the experts of my fav Bordeaux it is confirmed. Bordeaux had another great vintage in 2018 – at least, those who managed to ward off the mildew did.

Jean-Basile Roland of Château Rauzan-Ségla says, “it was impossible to run from plot to plot because of the configuration of our plots. But we reduced the impact. It could have been worse. We did a drastic crop reduction in August, and we have lower volume, but we’re very, very happy with the quality and with our selection in the vineyard.

In Pessac-Léognan,Château Malartic-Lagraviére, not organic but with some organic and biodynamic plots, had little damage. “They’re small plots, two and four hectares,” says Jean-Jacques Bonnie.

At Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste in Pauillac, Emmeline Borie says “we had no mildew. Somebody came looking for it, and found just one berry in the vineyard with mildew.”

Philippe Casteja of the Domaines of Borie-Manoux says that for some people, “le pont” caused problems. The pont is the bridge to “le weekend”, taking it easy on Fridays, in other words. “There would be three days dry, then three days rain. If you were not very careful and on the spot, you had problems. It’s a matter of the politics in each estate.”

But the good news is that the wines in the vats are looking good.  Sauternes is still being picked, and the botrytis is spreading nicely. There was some evaporation of water from the grapes before the botrytis set in, reports Fabrice Dubordieu of Château Doisy-Daëne, and hail hit parts of Sauternes but not Barsac; he’s expecting a good year.

At Domaine de Chevalier, M. Bernard likes the look of his Cabernet Sauvignon, “It was the driest September for the last 60 years”, he says. “To say so early that this will be one of the best vintages in Bordeaux; but we are sure. Sometimes we have some doubt, but this year we are quite sure.” Generally the quantity is good, too, he says, in spite of the worst that mildew and hail could do.

at Château Rauzan-Ségla, M Roland says “the Merlot is splendid, and the Petit Verdot amazing; the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the vats is quite impressive.” M Borie of Château Grand Puy Lacoste adds that “the quality of ’18 is crazy”.

And you know who these names are don’t you!

A surprise, do not like it but it is doing great marketing and coming up very nicely here in France, especially those that shop in supermarket for wine, which I don’t.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte: Today, the Union of Cooperatives located in Chouilly (Marne) Associates 4 500 winegrowers for a surface of 2 100 hectares and 10.4 million of bottles produced. Which puts the mark, in terms of volume, just behind Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

Today, 40% of our volumes are destined for the international market. They would like to achieve parity with the French market, i.e. 6 million bottles sold in France and 6 million elsewhere, and that’s within five years.  They have great margins of progress in the United States, where they are imported and distributed by the group Ste Michelle. They benefit from its network. In addition, they have signed a three-year partnership with the Canadian company Cirque du Soleil last May. We are now their official supplier in the US and Canada.

They are already the preferred brand of the French, as confirmed by several studies carried out by the Nielsen group.

And the complexities of Burgundy continues.

Nothing so surprising about these Cistercian lands overlooking the three villages of Aloxe-Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand-Vergelesses, in Côte-d’Or. The 66 hectares planted with ash trees, beech, oak and chestnut trees culminate at 388 meters and style one of the most famous wine-growing hills in the world, whose flanks include 167 hectares of vineyards classified as Grands Crus, from which are derived Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Corton and Corton-Charlemagne appellations.

Among the many owners, the Maison Louis Latour alone has about twenty hectares, a continent on the scale of Burgundy. Aubert de Villaine, also co-owner of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Vosne-Romanée, has invested heavily in recent years, with three parcels and a closing contract, for a total of about 6 hectares. The Burgundian family Méo-Camuzet is also present today in Corton, like the Freys who bought the château of Corton-Andre, renamed Corton C, Patrick Landanger of the Domaine Pousse d’Or and others. Thus, 20% of the Corton-Charlemagne appellation has changed hands over the last twenty years.

The Hill’s wine rating is at its highest, and the price of the land rises to heaven. In a generation, the value of the land has quintupled, however, compared to the Côte de Nuits, almost untouchable, the hill of Corton proves to be an excellent quality-price ratio for investors. This situation makes the premises very sensitive to new transactions that are emerging.

Like the climate, the territory becomes a quasi-philosophical concept when the Burgundians take ownership of it. Burgundy is a very fragmented region. Subjects of biodiversity cannot be apprehended in any other way than collectively. The environment needs to be managed in common. That is how they have been able to fight land erosion. This is also how they distributed to everyone honey plants and reimplanted hives

In other words, some accuse the Latour and Villaine of wanting to freeze the hill of Corton for the benefit of the historic owners who “play the Rent”. Burgundy cannot be frozen because it is an economic entity that lives, makes wine and sells it. The idea is not to freeze, but to evolve within the framework of a tradition. Of course, they are not going to evolve from a geographical point of view because they are stuck between the Morvan and the Saône plain. But they are progressing in the know-how, in technological knowledge, in Biodynamics.   ”

The hill of Corton in figures: 1 000 hectares of which 550 ha of Vine and 167 ha of Grands Crus in the name of Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.   3 communes Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses and Ladoix-Serrigny share the hill. 2015 year of the inscription of Corton Hill on the Unesco heritage list.

Well not really wine news but indirectly it is, the tourist business in France. Record revenues on tourism for France 2018 it will  be more than the record in 2014 of 54B euros. According to the Bank of France (Banque de France). For the 12 months running ending Aug 2018 France had already 56,8B euros. All the main 6 country visitors had an increase in revenues with the British on top with 1,9B and then the Belgians Japan is in 10th place just behind China. The USA is in 4th place without telling the amount. On the contrary, French vacationing outside total 39,5B euros as a whole worldwide.

Among the great villages of the Côte de Nuits, Morey-Saint-Denis is undoubtedly the most unknown or even the most misunderstood of the wine aficionados. The story explains much of this disaffection: until the 1960’s, the wines of Morey-Saint-Denis were bought by the traders of Côte de Nuit and Beaune to assemble them with wines of Chambolle-Musigny or Gevrey-Chambertin, better known and easier to market.

Another significant element, the absence in the village of Morey-Saint-Denis of large historical family property, pioneer of bottling at the Morey-Saint-Denis estates has taken on its neighbors a delay of notoriety that the town still behind .

All of these considerations deserve to be reviewed. Modest in area with 133.53 hectares of vines, the name of Morey-Saint-Denis is not lacking in advantages thanks to five Grands crus: Clos de Tart, Clos de la Roche, (which has added its names to that of the town), Clos des Lambrays, and Bonnes-Mares, mainly located on Chambolle-Musigny, but a small part of it is included in Morey-Saint-Denis. These five Grands Crus pass through the town, from the south to the north, glorious succession of exceptional terroirs in the middle of the hill.Therefore, try them more and you will be delighted.

The French vineyards  will produce even more than expected, confirming  2018 as a good vintage, with a production up 27% compared to the catastrophic harvest of 2017, according to figures revised by the Ministry of Agriculture. With an estimate of 46.7 million hectolitres (against an estimate of 46.1 million at the end of August), the services of Agreste, the department’s statistical body, even consider that production 2018 should be 6% higher than the five year average ,as told to the Press by the specialist wine Council of FranceAgriMer. The Department’s Services have revised the estimates upwards from the sunshine and have also better estimated the losses related to downy mildew and drought, there have been strong attacks of downy mildew, with very heterogeneous consequences.

If vineyards such as Champagne or Burgundy-Beaujolais seem to be able to count on remarkable yields (respectively + 39% and + 20% compared to the average of previous years), the basins of Languedoc-Roussillon (-2%), Southeast (-11%) and Corsica (-5%) have, as announced in the first estimates, all experienced a setback compared to the average of the last five years.

In Bordeaux, although some areas have been severely affected by hail and downy mildew, harvesters have regained normal production levels, an increase of 9% from the average including the nightmarish harvest of 2017. On the stock side and in particular the VCI (individual complementary volumes), intended to help producers in the bad years, customs have unsurprisingly unveiled figures in sharp decline,  a fairly logical evolution compared to the disappointing harvest of 2017 , the most modest of the post-war. In the aggregate, stocks destined for trade and production, at 47.8 million hectolitres, fall by 11%. The VCI’s fell by almost 70%, but will skyrocket in some vineyards after this year’s beautiful harvest. They were able to support French exports, which remained in volume (+ 1.6% to 14,680,000 hectolitres) from August 2017 to July 2018 and even experienced a sustained increase in value to + 6.3%, reaching record turnover over the period of 9.35 billion euros!

The  bio-driving of Château Lafon-Rochet has stopped. They made the decision in February of this year according to Basile Tesseron, head of the property at Saint-Estèphe since 2007, operates a turn at 180 degrees for the 41 hectares of the family estate. The bio is not sustainable in Bordeaux today according to him. Copper treatments leave residues in soils that do not disappear, the multiplication of passages leads to over-consumption of fuel for machine gears that wear out much faster, which generates a grey energy, explains him. We must take into account the globality of the elements and find other solutions, such as accept the mushrooms we are fighting today and a certain rate of harvest loss. This is the price to pay to leave a sustainable world to our children.

The city of Dijon, a stage privileged by many Chinese tourists travelling between Paris and Geneva, aims to become a destination in its own right for these wealthy visitors, betting on its gastronomy and the famous wines of Burgundy. The entry door of the route of the Grands Crus of Burgundy, Dijon put on the Chinese tourists. The city benefits from a double inscription by UNESCO, for the “gastronomic meals of the French” and for its “climates” (name given to the terroirs in Burgundy). It will inaugurate in 2020 an international city of gastronomy.

In Dijon in 2017, Chinese visitors represented the first foreign nationality and totaled almost 95,000 hotel nights out of a total of 3.4 million accounted for by INSEE (French govt. statistical office) throughout the French territory. The capital of Burgundy receives some 2 million tourists a year and is ranked ninth city of France in the number of hotel nights for international visitors. This summer they have had a 20% increase in Asian tourism including Chinese in Dijon , and these visitors are increasingly a high-end clientele, seeking cultural offers and authentic experiences related to gastronomy and wine.

A promotional program designed to conquer a high-end Chinese clientele, through the strengthening of links with Chinese tourism professionals as well as campaigns on social networks. The young generation of Chinese travelers  are looking for different experiences. They also spend more and more on gastronomy and wines, and less in luxury brands and shopping. Some 2.2 million Chinese tourists are expected in 2018 in France. Their attendance had jumped 19% last year, after a gap following the terror attacks of 2015. The average Chinese spending basket per stay (excluding transport) is evaluated by the Banque de France (Bank of France) at 1,647 euros per visitor.

The Reds look beautiful in silky tannins, aromatic whites and drinkable, the  2018 vintage is something to delight the winegrowers of the northern Rhone Valley even if they had to juggle the spring rains and the Summer heatwave. In 2018, the winegrowers of the North Rhone are happy  with volumes on whites and phenolic maturity arrived faster with fine balances. It cannot be denied that the situation was difficult until the beginning of June with the rains that caused a high pressure of downy mildew but contained thanks to the always vented and airy hillsides. The risks are of course stronger in bio, hence the importance of preventive treatments. The beautiful weather on the changes climats and until the harvest was particularly pleasant for the cellar as well as for the harvesters. It’s a dream vintage that allowed them to choose the right moment for each parcel without the need for arbitration, which rarely happens. This will not necessarily be a very long-guarded wine, but it will take at least 15 years.

On the Reds, they climbed to 13.5-15 ° on some vats, which had not happened since more than 20 years except in 2003. The acidity is low but not catastrophic with silky tannins and no aromas burned as in 2003. The big harvest allowed to avoid overconcentration and to keep the typicality on blackcurrants, gooseberry and fresh fruits with a nice finesse of tannins even if this year it will still have a southern style. Finally, the vine, especially when it is not totally weeded, is resistant to excessive heat, which would not have been the case 10-15 years ago.

The harvest took place from August 28 to September 22  without discontinuing and under an intense sun and homogeneity of maturity, on all the northern appellations, has forced to harvest all at once, the Crozes-Hermitage but also the Côte-Rôti, the Saint Joseph and the Hermitage. Of course, it was the viogniers on Condrieu and the marsannes that were the priority. The parcels of La Landonne in the  Côte-Rôti, and Les Bessards in Hermitage were picked on the same day of Sept 13th with a very good maturity and natural degrees of around  14 °. Everywhere, the acidity is weak, but not a major concern. On the occasion of the first tastings, the quality of this vintage 2018 is remarkable with a tannic frame at the same time dense and velvety and a beautiful sucrose.

One example from one of my fav producer over the years.  Christelle Accosta, technical director and Clément Bartyschi, cellarmaster of Maison Chapoutier:

“We accumulate the beautiful vintages since 2015 and 2018 will be very pretty despite a complicated and intense start of the season to fight against the fungal pressure. But we passed through downy mildew, except for a few small impacts on St. Péray. The plots in altitude of Cornas and Côte Rôti will give exceptional qualities and more homogeneous, which is not always the case contrary to the always regular Hermitage. Saint Joseph should produce full maturity wines with pretty balances. For Crozes-Hermitage, it was necessary to know how to harvest at the right time especially in the plain where the degrees are quickly rising after the rains of September. It will be a beautiful year at Syrah with wines flourished with pretty silky tannins and without hardness.”

There you go from the world of wines and yours truly with the cooperation of my LRVDF magazine, and official government sources as above.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as En Vino Veritas!

 

 

 

October 26, 2018

The end of France, westward at Le Conquet!

As I am in Brittany, the third most visited region of France (Paris,and PACA ahead) but really seldom visited by tourist from abroad, pity you are missing wild natural beauty, the way France is suppose to be. The weather continues sunny in the 60’s F very nice here and all is calm not even rain!

Let me take you once again to the end of France on the west, the westernmost town of continental France, this is Le Conquet in the department 29 of Finistére in the region of Brittany. Just over 2 hrs from my house.

Le Conquet is the most western town  of Continental France. In metropolitan France, only three island towns Ouessant, Île-Mullein and Île-de-Sein are further west. The Breton name of the Le Conquet is Konk-Leon. The second element of the Breton form is Leon, which is the name of the historical region where the place is located: the Land of Leon.

Le Conquet is located north of Pointe Saint-Mathieu (town of Plougonvelin). In addition to its territory on the mainland, these islands of the archipelago of Moléne are also attached to the town of Le Conquet:  Île aux Chrétiens, Île de Balanec,  Île de Bannec,  Île de Béniguet, Île de Litiry, Lédénes de Quéménès ou Ledenez Kemenez,  Île de Morgol,  Île de Quéménès ou Kemenez, and Île de Trielen.

At the pointe Kermorvan there is the white sands beach or plage des Blancs Sablons, very nice too.

le conquet

The town of Le Conquet  is served by the road D789 coming from Plougonvelin, by the D67 coming from Saint-Renan and the D85 coming from the Pointe de Saint-Mathieu (Plougonvelin).  The town of Le Conquet  is served by bus line 11 (Brest, Plouzané, Locmaria-Plouzané, Le Conquet) of the Cars Élorn.  The port of Le Conquet  is served by the company Penn-Ar-Bed which provides connections with Ouessant and the archipelago of Moléne throughout the year, and during the season from April to September, by the company Finist’mer which provides fast and direct links between the Ports of Le Conquet and Lanildut, and the islands of Moléne and Ouessant.

The port area, very nice indeed: Port of Le Conquet

An important crabbing fishing Port, Le Conquet has also become a place of production known for noble Fish. The fishing port has been managed since 2007 by the Brest Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Over the past few years, the flotilla has diversified its activities: alongside traditional crab-fishers who have developed the netters that bring Lotte, skate, catfish, turbot or lobster as well as small fishing fish, fresh from the day. The crab still remains the symbol of the port of the end of the world.  The SNSM Sea Rescue station was inaugurated on March 10, 1867.

le conquet

A bit of history I like,briefly indeed

Saint Tugdual and his companions reportedly landed near the Îlette, at the end of the peninsula of Kermorvan, in the 6C. The port, very old, had to support many attacks by the English from 1313 to 1558. In 1759, an order of king Louis XV ordered the parish of Le Conquet to provide 2 men and pay 13 pounds for “the annual expenditure of the Coast guard of Brittany”. The former village of Le Conquet  was created on the territory of Lochrist in 1790 during the French revolution, after the dismemberment of the former parish of Plougonvelin. Four British airmen from the Royal Air Force, whose plane fell at sea on July 6, 1943 near the beach of Pors-Liogan, are buried in the cemetery of Lochrist. Brief history I said.

Things to see

Tomb of Jean-François-Marie-Maurice-Agathe le Godinec de Kerdaniel (1775-1838), child of the country and restaurateur of the Breton language, the influence of the linguistic work of  Le Godinec  was immense, because its spelling reforms were adopted Immediately by Theodore Hersart de la Villemarqué (1815-1895), who became, thanks to the Barzaz Breiz and up to the quarrel of the same name, the undisputed authority for the Breton language

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (b. 1652), the former residence of Michel Le Nobletz, this chapel is dedicated to Our Lady of Bon-Secours, dating from the middle of the 17C. This building is the former home of Dom Michel de Nobletz, transformed into oratory after his death, and embellished then with a small steeple.

le Conquet

Church of St. Croix (1855-1858) built with the materials of the ancient Church of Lochrist of the 16C. Which was undergoing total renovation but we managed to see inside too see Nobletz above.

Le Conquet

 

The tomb of Michel Le Nobletz sculptured in 1750  in black marble. His statue of Human proportion (on his knees, his hands clasped and his face turned towards the gospel of the Master altar) lies on the tomb. Miraculous graces were obtained by the prayers made on his tomb.

Saint-Michel Chapel of the 17C, the  Lochrist Cross of the 15-16C, Maison des Anglasi (English house) of the 15C. The phare de Kermorvan( Lighthouse)  on the peninsula of Kermorvan (natural Area protected by the Conservatory of the Littoral).

le conquet

Fort Saint-Louis (b.1850),It was a priority  to put in defence the cove of the Blancs Sablons whose device extends from the cove of Porsmoguer to the North (Plouarzel) at the Pointe de Kermorvan to the South (Le Conquet). Six works are thus raised from 1846 to 1852 and two redoubts for the infantry are modernized  originally, Vauban style. The defensive device combines the action of coast batteries, trenches, redoubts and mobile troops. The first three redoubts dating from the end of the 17C were largely rebuilt in the mid-19C as attested by the vintage  “1850 ” located above the entrance.  It was designed in a square plan for  60 men and protected by a dry ditch.

Le conquet

There you go , a nice place to come for its natural beauty and the sea, really a walk here, a lunch ,some drinks and you are in heavens or at the end of the world, westward bound! at Le Conquet!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my previous post are

City of Le Conquet on heritage

Tourist office of the Iroise region on le Conquet

Tourist office of Finistére on Le Conquet

Tourist office of Brittany on Le Conquet

And always remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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