Archive for December 21st, 2020

December 21, 2020

Pays de Vannes,and the Gulf of Morbihan!

In continuing going over my old posts to revise them, update them, change pictures; well it has been a wonderful rollercoaster ride. Some of these posts were in the back armory lost in space and now memories flashing as I read them again and do the update. Wonderful Vannes, capital of the Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne. I do not live here just worked outside city limits but spend more time here than home literally!

This is where I come often with the family. Its the biggest city in the area, and just lovely especially its inner central parts. However, it is ,also, the gateway to the Gulf of Morbihan, and many boats do prowls the gulf waters to several islands.It is considered by the most beautiful bays in the world by Great Bays and Condé Nast magazine.

So why water, well its all over us, in rivers, lakes,and the vast Atlantic ocean not to mention the UNESCO Gulf of Morbihan or Golfe du Morbihan. The gare maritime or passenger terminal station at the Parc du Golfe is wonderful; we walk by it today, looking for information to take our jump into the islands this coming summer.  Gorgeous ride indeed.  The compagnie du Golfe does the run from the gare maritime of Vannes to the beautiful Belle-île-en-mer,just out in the Atlantic ocean!

Good to know the tides here, and be prepare before you venture into the sea or even cruising near it. And this is a local paper, very local, that tells of the sea current and highs on the cities here in the Morbihan such as Vannes.

You can tell the gare maritime on any map by putting Gare Maritime, 7 Allée Loïc Caradec. Right in the same park or the parc du Golfe , you have a wonderful Mercure Hotel with brasserie Edgar, one of our favorite hangouts when away from the city bustle and hassle.

You  will find in the Parc du Golfe a garden of butterflies or jardin aux papillons ! ,and the  aquarium or aquarium du golfe , and our favorite bowling alley, Le Master; this is nice cozy, friendly service, and small enough to be your own club. There is sports bar with plenty of TV screens around you. It has been our first bowling alley in the area ,and we love it. Next to it for the younger sons there is Bubble discothéque, very nice but no longer open , just for the memories here.

Afterward, just before going home, we stop by the complex FunXtreme, right by an area of restos ,and shopping in Atlanville . This is nice bigger more away,you feel a bit alone here, it has karting, laser gun, mini golf, maze, billiards, etc plus the bowling we were after. The prices are ,also, a bit higher here as well as the bar lounge is limited and the prices for one game of bowling ,shoes included for four men was 35€ and I had a 121 score. As it happens, this place closed and now a similar complex is there under the name SpeedPark but not yet in it. So FunXtreme will be here for the memories.

There is plenty of free car parking, and great bus service to the parc du Golfe, using the Kiceo transport system of Vannes, lines 3 and 7 can go there but me never taken buses here; my boys yes.

In addition a great walkers, bicycle trails into the chemin des émigrés, bordering all the gulf area around Vannes starting from the parc du golfe to Conleau along the promenade Paul Chapel. And our dog Rex has been here!!!

A sad story to finish as the above name or the point des émigrés is due to the atrocities of the French revolution ,when in 1795 , about 1200 Breton immigrants from the UK , came to fight for the King were taken prisioners after the failed expedition of Quiberon, (due to the UK not sending the promise help) and shot to death about 795 of them, in various parts of the Morbihan. The head of the expedition was executed on July 28 1795 in Vannes on the site of the Garenne today.  374 others were shot around town with many at the site of the Ermitage.  As a souvenir of this event symbolic this point was renamed the Point des Émigrés. The Chemin or pathway was done around its 70 hectares to make a preserve natural setting protected by law. The remains of these 795 are now resting at the Chartreuse in Brec’h, where I live first when moved to this area.

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist board on travel to the islands in French:

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist board on the must sees in the Morbihan:

The city of Vannes on the boat terminal or Gare Maritime

And there you folks a wonderful old seafaring coastal area of my lovely Bretagne in my belle France, the Morbihan is sublime, come and take a look for yourselves; we love it! And of course, Vannes is the city by the gulf.

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

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December 21, 2020

Quimperlé, a city and a river!!!

And why not upgrade, revised this very old post that was my introduction to the city of Quimperlé in the Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne. As it happened , visited several times afterward and plenty of posts on it in my blog. Therefore, this is on the black and white series, pictures elsewhere. Even now go more as my car dealer is there now and follow up the nice salesmen there!

As usual in lovely Bretagne there is the challenge of rains , this time during the early night into early morning, and we got up a bit late, then decide what to do as we always do; last minute road warriors. I have heard of Quimperlé  and it was only about 45 minutes by car from my house so decided to give a shot, a visit , a taste of a visit.

Quimperlé belongs to the region of Cornouaille (KernevBro Gernev in Breton) , and the name of Quimperlé comes in Breton Kemperle that is derived from  kemper, « confluent » and Ellé a river that goes into to create the Laita river that goes into the Atlantic ocean and allows the city to have a port access.

Of course, we come always by car. However, there is  TGV train service from Paris Montparnasse to the train station here, as well as TER Bretagne train service regional. You can come from Vannes or Auray as well by train.

And excellent bus service which I saw in action with frequent passing of buses all over the city, ticket can be purchase on the bus.  Like I said I come by car on the N165 freeway and go into the exit Quimperlé Centre on the road D16 following Centre signs you reach the place St Michel with plenty of free parking in the white lanes. However, you have many parking parks all over the city many for free, not blue lines. Here is a name list in lower city or Basse Ville ;Parking de la Place Charles De Gaulle,Parking at la Place du Barzaz Breizh,Parking de la Place des Anciennes fonderies Rivière,Parking de la rue du Bourgneuf, Parking de la rue Ellé, Parking du Cinéma, and on high city or Haute Ville, Parking de la Place Saint-Michel(mine), Parking de la Place Winston Churchill, -Parking de la Place Jean-Jaurès, and Parking du Coat-Kaër.

I briefly mention some things to see/do already with posts and pictures elsewhere in my blog.

The one monument, you must and I saw it several times,as along is worth the trip to Quimperlé is the abbey church of Sainte Croix or Eglise Abbatiale de Sainte Croix.  Its a  jewel and in  splendid conditions. It is here that all started… It the most prestigious monument of the city of  Quimperlé, an abbey founded in the 11C by the Count de Cornouaille, Alain Canhiart following a miraculous cure. His church along with the abbey of  Lanleff, the only church in Brittany to have a circular plan copied as the one in the Saint Sepulcre of  Jérusalem.  It form a Greek cross, and has equally a form of a clover drawn as in the Saint-Sépulcre of Jérusalem. From the 11C it has been preserved its interior a wonderful museum of works of arts. The choir of monks is a one of the best realisations of Roman art, the crypt from the 11C is still preserved, a entombment of Christ sculpture in about 1500 ,a retable from the 16C, a  Christ en robe(dressed Christ)  ,and a pulpit from the 17C are ,also, remarquably there!!! A must to see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The market life is important from the 20C on and still goes on the main one at 48 place Saint Michel, it goes on every Friday from 8H to 13H with a second smaller market all year on Sunday mornings from 8H to 13h around the Les Halles ,Place Hervo.

The historical Le Présidial, the building mostly gone now only is left with a front , it was built in 1683 to replace an covered market!. From the visual stairs shown you went into a terrace that give to the first floor, where the justice audience was carry out ,at the end of this salle or room you had two doors communicating to allow exchanges with the municipal elected officials . The found guilty were enclosed in the building next to the stairs that served as municipal prison.  At the revolution in 1791 the moved of the mayor’s office and the tribunal to the old abbey of Sainte Croix . The “Le Présidial” served as seat of the members of a society  that housed the loyals of the cult ephermeric . The Hall survived in the ground floor  until 1829.  The “présidial” served temporaly as a prison until 1868  after the belltower of the  Sainte-Croix after  1862. It was abandoned and became a work help or employment bureau  and later a place of meeting for the workers union of the  C.G.T. It has now house art expositions organise by the city of  Quimperlé.

The ruins of the church of Saint Colomban, there since the 6C!!! with a Celtic monastery following the rules of Irish Saint Colomban. Destroyed by the Vikings in 878. Some claimed to have been renovated by the year 1000 and on the 13C a great Gothic church long of 50 meters was built. It still can be seen a piece from this period by the wall of the altar with sculptures and a facade renovated from the 15C. church of the lower city or basse ville it comes into diehard times and to ruins for lack of maintenance in early 19C. The modern cinema is there now in the old altar of the church now name Cinema La Bobine.

Abbaye Blanche or white abbey, built around 1265 by duke Jean Ier  to house a convent of the order of the  Dominicains to compete with the powerful Benedictines of the Abbey Church of Sainte Croix.  The name of the abbaye blanche or white abbey is probably in honor of the duke’s wife Blanche de Navarre( Navarra) or to the color of the clothes of the monks there. The convent was closed in  1790 (French revolution) , and the church disappeared and the monastiques symbols are progressively dismembered. In 1808  the ladies of the retirement of the sacre heart or  Sacré-Coeur. In 1887, a cult of  Saint-Joseph is established.  The sisters are replaced in 1960 by the daughters of  Jésus de Kermaria. The Chapel of  Saint-Joseph is built between 1932- 1935.

The Pont Fleurie, or flowery bridge, crosses the river Ellé  at the level of the place Lovignon ,and was  until 1643 the only means of access to Quimperlé from the east.  It has been renovated by the 15C and the central arches done after the flooding of 1746 . The bridge was guarded by two towers on heavy thick walls surrounding the lower city or basse ville opening out with three portes or doors following to roads , Vannes-Quimper and Quimperlé-Carhaix. The ramparts were done between  1250 and 1270, became in ruins after the war of the Hundred Years and were erased for good by 1680.  The granite blocks salvage were then used to built the quai Brizeux bordering the Laïta river. the bridge inspired several painters from the 19C on, and one Theodore Hersart de la Villemarque , wrote  Barzas-Breiz  (Breton popular songs and dance) has a statue there by the bridge.

And it was here that we had lunch , on the rue d’elle by the river, and pont Fleurie at the Créperie du Pont Fleurie, 5 rue Ellé.  I had a pizza cochonne with the local andouille sausage and potatoes, and cheese huge really for two persons, banana splits, coffee, the rest had more or less the same and two bottles of cider Patrick Gourlay local fermier ; 21 euros per person! must be back ,must you visit,the service was prompt and very friendly ,we spoked with servers and owner all nice. Indeed we have been back several times!

By place St Michel you have the Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption, an old chapel built in two times, the nave dates from the 13C ,the tower, choir from 14C and the porches from the 15C. It was in ruins in 1373 by one Du Guesclin during the war of succession for Brittany, the church rebuilt thanks to aid from duke Jean V, decorated flamboyant gothic and enlarged. Its new choir vouté in stones with its tower reaching 35 meters ( a arrow tower in wood covered in lead will have it at 60 meters). To come back to see the sanded sculptures in the nave done in  1430 ,amongst the oldest in Brittany. It is ,also, commonly call Church of St Michel as well by locals.

Ancient couvent des Ursulines, or old convent of the Ursulines, the foundation of the community of Ursulines in Quimperlé dates from 1652. They buy in 1665 the stables of  Bel-Air. First stone of the building is done in 1667  and the entry of the monastery is done by the Ursulines in 1674,  where they would teach to the daughters of the neglected . the success makes for enlarging of the buildings from the 18C to end of the 20C respecting the original architecture of the building.  the law  Combes, establishing the separation of State and Church in 1905  take them out.  The old monastery becomes a primary school for girls. In WWII, the building is taken over by the Nazi security and police.  The Gestapo ,interrogates, torture in its walls. AFter the war, the building is return to a primary school teaching girls then to a collége or middle school  Jules Ferry. The chapel is today a place to have expos of comptemporary arts.

Other things to see in future trips are the Chapelle de Lothéa, the Hôpital Frémeur, and inside the Chapelle Saint-Eutrope, and the Maison des Archers all sound wonderful to see

The city of Quimperlé on its identity:

The Quimperlé Terre Océane tourist board on Quimperlé in English:

And there you go folks a brief introduction to the wonderful Quimperlé. Plenty afterward posts on it in my blog, worth the visit me think. Hope you enjoy it and do come when possible.

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

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December 21, 2020

Guérande, salt, and a lot more !

And on my continuing saga of updating and revising older posts; which has been a wonderful roller coaster ride thanks to all. Another thing, it allows me to see the folks who have given me earlier “likes”, many no  longer active, and some still for my enjoyment. Again thanks for reading. I will take you south of me , close, to Guérande, one of the best if not the best salt of France and a lot more. See my many posts on it in my blog.

Guérande is just over an hour from my home, a fortified town and home of the Salt. I got there as usual by my road warrior instincts, following the N165 direction Nantes and getting off at La Roche Bernard taking direction La Baule , to Guérande on the road D774. Guérande sits in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 of the region of Pays de la Loire. However, old Bretagne and very much feels that way.

As you entered the town you first see the wonderful ramparts encircling the old town, impressive start; we got parking right in front of the ramparts for free on a Sunday, and just walk right in to the old town area , walking all over.

We stop at the store L’Œillet de Guérande for wonderful sel de Guérande or salt , and caramel milk salted and chocolate confiture salted, all wonderful as well as getting away with a salt pot for serving on the table the old fashion way !!! The store has change name to Sel de Bretagne but same owner at different address . Webpage:



We continue walking along the ramparts wonderful feeling and quaint nice pretty streets to get into the collégiale Church Saint Aubin, nice big Church nicely decorated (see post). The old salt store above was right by it, now moved as per above.

We went across to the covered market or halles very nice indeed,  come in to the Les Halles (intra-muros) ,you have the fish on Wednesday, Fridays Saturdays and sundays morning and other products the wednesday and Saturdays.

You are still at the square or place St Aubin and looking at the covered market turn your eyes to the right and see the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Blanche ,(see post)  a chapel Church very nice and with lots of history as the treaty of peace between the dukedom of Bretagne and the kingdom of France was signed here in 1381.

After doing some more walks and some nice homes like the maison de Poitiers from the 15C at rue de Piloti we came to the time to eat. I chose Créperie La Flambée at the wonderful quaint street of Rue de Saillé; and it was a winner, a place to come back to.  It has a building with wooden work of the biscuiterie LU of Nantes with a chimney from the 15C! All are local fresh products from local farms and the owner serves the table, nice friendly service , we were in the first floor (2nd Fl US) and you ring a bell to get service from below!!! magical on time! We had pizzas ,calzone,and rumsteak dishes with great desserts like mine cocomangue coconut ice cream with mango sorbet and merengue, a nice expresso coffee and all was drank with the local bottle of cider royal Guillevic a unique apple that the cider can only be made from. Great! Other than tourist office, they have a Facebook page here:




We past by the quant musée de la poupee et du jouet ancien or museum of Dolls and old toys at 23 rue de Saillé. Inside the chapelle Saint Jean (1682), on rue de Saillé corner of the place Saint-Jean , we purchase knives for oysters and mussels very nice and good value of brand Céladon.


At the end  of the rue de Saillé, you see the ramparts again by the Porte Saillé. Past the place du vieux marché and the rue de la Juiverie (jewish quarters).

The La Baule-Guérande tourist office on Guérande things to do :see:

The city of Guérande on its heritage things to see:

Wonderful Guérande , a town we are lucky near and friends lived there and visit several times even purchase wines there delivered to a friend’s house, and we will be back! Hope you enjoy the introduction to this wonderful city.

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

December 21, 2020

My wonders of Auray!!!

Ok so here I am redoing, updating this very early old post in my blog about a dear town to us. As said, when we first moved to the Morbihan breton dept 56, I rented an apartment in a small town that was attach to Auray for administrative stuff like garbage collection, French passport renewals ,etc. This was Auray! and what a find I got me into. A very nice historical town in the history of Canada and the USA! Not to mention the war of succession for Bretagne!

It was a Sunday, back in August 2012! and getting ready to be back to work after a 3 weeks vacation which was mostly a rest period with the moving and paperwork changes. So we stayed in and around Auray, and welcome the opportunity to finally meet a friend from PA USA, and the former VT travel forums that was visiting the area! Daring to be away from Paris!!

In the morning I took my father for a walk of town. Many times one reads of travel posts from visitors and we dont realised what we have close to home here!  We headed straight for the parking of Keriolet as my father cant walk too much, and sadly even less today in 2020.

We did the tour around pl de la République taking a look of a wonderful little fountain at pl des Roues, and going over to the Chapelle du pére Eternel, then we took the car to go over the local municipal pool, the Mediathéque or library, and nearby the Chapelle Saint Esprit. This last one was not open due for an exihibition.

We went by some of our favorite stores so will let you know where to do some shopping here.

Sacmania, (closed) for all your bag,wallets, belts etc needs nice store good brands local like hexagona, local store at 3 Rue du Lait ,now closed. Here for the memories as all my leather wallets, travel bags were purchase here for our first few years in the area.

We will have take out food from a good traiteur at the best quality in Eveno, 28 rue Barré.

Créperie St Michel,  great crepes and galettes in upper city center at 33 Rue du Belzic

My clothing store MCS (closed) at  60 pl de la République city center, now closed. Again here for the memories as my first coat purchase in the area was here!

Supermarché Sparr, grocery store for that quick impulse buying or fast need in upper city center 11 rue de Barré, just by parking Keriolet. Indeed very convenient for a return home and think of something!! always!

Monoprix, the classic store at 11 Rue Maréchal Foch. The perennial store and glad near city center.

Then, you can cruise walking by le bélvedere a nice tree park that goes into stade du loch stadium ,and you can climb down to the old castle ruins into Saint Goustan port lower town. Great games held here. You can walk and see the Chapelle du pére Eternel when in the 17C Franciscans order arrive in town, then the Cordeliers, and finally the Sisters of the Charity of St Louis in 1807, you can visit it from July 7 to September 3rd for free.

One of my favorites the Chapelle Saint Esprit, Pl du Four Mollet, with historical facts translated here ” The duke of Brittany Jean II, crowned at Rennes in 1286 appreciated Auray and had built a Chapelle du Saint-Sépulcre. It was active until the 18C housing a tomb chrome of Christ (today at the Church of St Gildas). The last mass was held here in 1790,and later under the French revolution was use as a military headquarters. In, 1831, it was acquired by the Ministry of War that took the renovation to house the soldiers, the chapel was completely disfigured. It found its original aspect after the renovation in 1994. It houses today each year a exposition of comptemporary arts. Also, the place for the Christmas market.

Of course a visit to the Church of St Gildas is a must where you can see the tombeau chrome wood body of Christ dating from the 1520-1550 period. A wonderful organ 18C,  very much in use with full musical schedule, and a very nice altar in marbre c 1657.

You can come in Summer and enjoy the municipal pool(piscine) and do your lectures year around in the municipal library or mediathéque, by the espace and parking Athéna at Place du Gohlérez.

Down at Saint Goustan,  one of my favorite restos is Le Bistro du Port at 7 Place St Sauveur. There are other wonderful places to eat here such as another of our favorite, Bar Créperie Franklin, at 21 Place St Sauveur  , the corner of pl St Sauveurs and the quai Franklin alongside the river Loch. Here we had our lunch with galette of bacon and cheese,cheese and ham two, 50cl beer Leffe for 3, coffee, and banana splits for about 14€ per person.

And after walking the cobblestone street with woodend houses, and old artist quarters at rue du petit port, and had our dinner at Creperie La Frégate, 11 Rue Petit Port , very quant area but rather isolated and small portions, but all good. Here is the typical galette with bacon, ham, eggs, cheese,and the banana splits or dame blanche,  a bottle of house cider brut,and coffee all for 15€ per person.

For reference, the Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Auray in English:

Now get ready to go back to work tomorrow,and hopefully will be back to my blog soonest as time will be less but travels will continue.  We really enjoy the full day with Dad in tow holding on with a combination of walking and car moving. Auray is nice, needs to be known more. Hope you enjoy the tour

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

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