Archive for December 9th, 2021

December 9, 2021

The tour du Loch of Auray!!

Again, in my road warrior trips around my beautiful Morbihan, I had to visit one of my former homes that is now very close to my current home. I have many posts on Auray in my blog, and this one was just briefly mentioned before but feel it deserves a post of its own. Therefore, here is my take on the Tour du Loch tower of Auray!

The Tour du Loch is a tower located in Place du Loch, behind the football field (Loch Stadium).  It was on this lookout that Duke Arthur 1er built his castle. In 1364, a battle for the succession to the Duchy of Brittany pitted Count Charles de Blois, loyal to the king of France, and Jean de Montfort, supported by the English. The winner, Jean de Montfort, took the title of Duke Jean IV. The castle was destroyed in 1558 by order of the grandson of Anne of Brittany, Henri II, and his stones were sent to Belle-Ile to allow the construction of the Vauban citadel. (see posts).

auray tour du loch closeup nov18

The parc du Loch park encircled the Loch stadium ,and constitute a pleasant 3 hectare park. Walkers can discover the Loch Tower here. Composed of three stepped square courtyards, the Loch Tower was built shortly after the construction of the port of St Goustan/Auray, at the beginning of the 17C. This belvedere dominates the Loch river , where the port of Saint-Goustan was once very active. A walk through terraced gardens and large trees descends towards the quays without going through the Rue du Château. Or like going from haute ville (upper town) to basse ville (lower town) in Auray. Behind this Loch tower, you can descend on the ruins of the old castle all the way down to the port of Saint Goustan, the beautiful harbor of Auray. Indeed a lovely walk carefully done.

A bit of history I like. At the end of the development of the port in the 17C, a pyramid tower was built for the monitoring of maritime traffic. But the development of the trees on the hillsides of the  Loch obscuring the view, it became ineffective, therefore useless. In 1721, a new square tower with a spiral staircase rising up to a cross, was built to replace the pyramid. From there one could then watch for the arrival of the ships. But here too the trees have grown.

In the 18C, it was a place of arms, a place for walks and games. In 1764, an order from the Duke of Aiguillon proposed to beautify it. The old trees were sold and 150 new ones were planted. The ground is leveled and the walls at the corner of the Cordelières chapel (current Father Eternal Chapel see post) are repaired. During the French revolution, a tree of Liberty was planted there. On June 24, 1828, the Duchess of Berry laid the first stone of a new belvedere, the work of which began in September 1829. From the top we can see the open sea, Quiberon, Belle-Île-en-Mer and the bell towers of the surrounding towns.

And if you go up the tower, it’s no longer for boats, but rather to watch game matches from a privileged place.

The city of Auray on parks and squares:

There you go folks, a dandy spot often overlook in the off the beaten paths of my beautiful Morbihan and historical Auray. Hope you enjoy the bit of sights in Auray and this Tour du Loch tower!

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

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December 9, 2021

Always Saint Goustan of Auray!!!

Since finding this spot when first move to the Morbihan back in May 2011; I felled in love with Saint Goustan , a harbor district of Auray. I have several posts on where we settle for an apartment in Brec’h that was very close to Auray about 6 km and made Auray our official city for all errands, and adminstrative needs. Therefore, I just want to give you another glance of this wonderful harbor from my latest stopover yesterday. See my many posts on Brec’h/Auray too!

Nestled in the hollow of the Auray river, the small port of Saint-Goustan has retained its air of yesteryear. If the cobbled streets give it a medieval atmosphere, they also underline its maritime history. One can easily imagine the bustle on the quays of this harbor by the Gulf of Morbihan as the merchant ships loaded and unloaded their goods. The sounds of hooves on the cobblestones, the plush houses of the captains… one would almost expect to see some pirate at the bend of an alley. Indeed this port is magical, we love it !!  Saint-Goustan has spanned the centuries, retaining its cobbled streets, its stone bridge, its half-timbered houses and its lively quays. Due to its quasi-estuarine location and the presence of a few mudflats, the port and the valley are home to various species of seabirds. The docks are covered with kelp and, local oysters.

Auray st goustan wind mill nov21

To begin with, the Loch ramps, built on the ruins of a fortified castle,(see post)  descend towards the harbor. From the shaded terraces of the promenade, the view plunges onto the quays. The most picturesque shore is reached by crossing the four-arched stone bridge from the 13C. Place Saint-Sauveur with its curved cobblestones is framed by opulent houses, with half-timbered frames and corbelled structures. The steep alleys, interspersed with steps, storm the neighborhood, bordered by half-timbered facades. The 15-16C mansions display a respectable allure, which in the evening falls into the rustle of the café terraces. Always great ambiance especially at nights.

Auray st goustan castle ruins nov21

auray st goustan pont de pierre nov21

The port of Saint-Goustan hosts numerous events every year such as the Book and Postcards market; the Handicrafts market; Jousts of Loc’h; and the South Brittany Oyster Festival; The port is a stopover during Gulf Week, a maritime and land event that takes place every two years, during Ascension Week.They are all wonderful event with a beautiful backdrop port Saint Goustan !!!

And for the main anecdote already mentioned but worth repeating me think. The Quai Benjamin Franklin wharf measures 220 meters. Memories still echo on the granite slabs, recalling that the American Benjamin Franklin docked here on December 4 ,1776 to meet Louis XVI (asked the kingdom of France for help for US independance and got it ,and so a new nation was born, see post). The name of this wharf is a tribute to Benjamin Franklin, famous diplomat, physicist and engineer. Headwinds prevented his ship from ascending to Nantes.

The city of Auray on its heritage see circuit Saint Goustan

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Saint Goustan

The Bateaux pleasure boating magazine on Saint Goustan

There you go folks, a dandy in my backyard. Saint Goustan is like nothing have change from the 16C, buildings, streets, you name it. There is a large artists colony here with wonderful paintings, sculptures, knitting items galore! And of course, the best out and about place closest to our home. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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December 9, 2021

The markets at Auray and Pluvigner!

Well here I am updating this older post, nice memories even if smaller markets we tend to go elsewhere on Saturday mornings. However, these are our closest market on the city we live , Pluvigner and the city main Brec’h,  we used to lived closest market at Auray. I like to tell you a bit more on these markets; hope you enjoy it as I.

The benefits of the French countryside! And while getting ready for another round of markets let me bring you up to date on two of my close favorites.  Well, favorites because these are the towns i lived here. Auray (Brec’h) was my entry point for 2 years, and for the last 8 years it has been Pluvigner.  Let me tell you a bit about the markets.

At Auray, the big Monday market. In the heart of town, it welcomes up to 400 merchants in the summer, from 150 to 200 in low season like now. It is open from 8h to 14h30 from June 1st to September 30th. From 8h to 14h from October 1st to May 31st. This is, also around the Place de la République and it is front to the Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall. There is ,also, the organic market on Thursday. At the Place Notre-Dame, it welcomes up to 25 merchants. From 17h to 20h. There is the local producers market on Friday. At Place Notre-Dame, it welcomes up to 20 traders. From 8h to 12h30. There is a newer market by the gare or train station Place Raoul Dautry 8h to 13h30.


And you have the covered market or Halles at the Place de la République, right next to the Hôtel de Ville where they are home to about twenty traders who offer fresh produce all year long. Open every day from 8h to 13h. This is really our favorite there.



And this is a bit of history I gather from the city page and the médiathéque or local library, which I put up in English

The Market or Marché of Auray would be the largest in Morbihan, but those of Vannes or Hennebont, two other cities of the department 56 established   since medieval times, like Auray around the castle of the Dukes of Brittany, also claim this title.I say for sure Vannes is the largest!


In the Auray archives, You can find traces of a first fair in 1434, when the duke created that of St. Elizabeth (celebrated November 19), at Place du Four-Mollet, to fund the Commandery of the Holy Spirit, the hospital for the poor (This Chapel still here now use for events and expositions see post) . There were rabbits, partridges, woodcocks, but also blackbirds and thrushes; wild boars and deer, but also foxes, otters and polecats! And the regulation already states that the removal of the wheel barrows from the market once unloaded was obligatory.  Today, it is the influx of seasonal exhibitors that upsets the habits of those who come to sell and buy year-round, and makes the Auray market the obligatory passage for visitors staying in the region.

The city of Auray on its markets

And a bit on the Pluvigner market, much smaller but by now very friendly and warm place to be on Saturday morning if around, which that is the problem always out somewhere and not enough in my town!!! Every Saturday morning from 8h to 13h at the Place St Michel. Near the Mairie of Pluvigner or city/town hall. For sure, the cheeses are great here, and the goat cheese the star! right across is our bakery or boulangerie so one stop shopping ! They even have come up with a night market day too.

plu-market-pl-st-michel aug19


The city of Pluvigner market:

There you go folks, a nice one two punch on lovely countryside markets, the very heart of French gastronomy ; we love them!! Would be a great meeting point for a wordpress get together one of these days; I am ready! The markets are the soul of France be there or be square! Auray and Pluvigner are nice smallist town, great feel for the French way of life unlike Paris……Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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