Brocéaliande, a land of fairy tales and magic !

And we have to go and meet king Arthur and magical Merlin in Brocéliande , the region of fairy tales and magic. Since a boy, I always heard the wonderful stories of the magician Merlin, the Vivianne, and king Arthur and the round table. I have passed by the area several times on quick runs, and finally decided to visit this part of Brittany with the family. We headed out early on road N24 to link up at past Ploërmel with the road D724, direction Campénéac then the road D40 direction Paimpont, to go back and around the region from there. This was an introduction to this area and will do in my black and white series, no pictures, See the corresponding post in my blog.

The first town we stop was Campénéac, founded from Roman times, and birthplace of a great religious leader and movement that of Armélie Nicolas or the Bonne Armélie. Her skull head is kept at the town’s Church and the body at the Cathédrale de Vannes. You have nearby the tombs of the giants and the abbey la Joie de Notre Dame . As for the tombeau des géants, they are the tomb,  measuring nearly 4 meters long and 1 meter wide with 1 meter in height. This tomb was built from 3 menhirs that stood in this place by 2200 BC.  Today are visible walls and 3 menhir lying at 8 meters, The tomb you see today dates from the Bronze age (about 1500 BC).  Its name is probably due to its shape and its dimensions. There are marked by a panel just out of Campénéac from the road D312 to the D40. We decided to walk around a bit in the town and took an aim at the church where a woooden carved devil holds the table of the priest in the altar, but it was closed.  Church of the Trinity of the most Holy Virgin or église de la Nativité de la Très Sainte-Vierge.

We continue on to Paimpont, we heard a lot of good about the town, but the abbey was under renovation,and it is heavily tourist invaded, not really my cup of tea ,living here.  Again seen from the outside, the abbey of Paimpont is an impressive building.  There is some treasury visits in the summer months, but not for me. Built in the 13C, on the site of a Priory founded in 645 by Lacy, king of Dumnonia. Benedictine monastery originally, it was the 13C inhabited by canons until the French revolution, Medieval Gothic style (walls, openings, the baptistery and the chapel of St-Sacrement, the vault), the abbey presents interior decoration (Chair, statue,altars, and altarpieces) characteristic of the baroque style of the 17C. The sacristy contains the Treasury of the Abbey church composed of a beautiful Christ in ivory (17C),  a reliquary (15C) offered by the Duchess Margaret of Brittany, mother of Anne of Brittany, which would contain a radius of Saint Luke, a statue in polychrome wood (15C).  The town has a picturesque open air city center full of shops , and lodgings.

If you go further out of town, road D224 well marked, you arrive at an old foundaries place call Les Forges de Paimpont. you see a foundary site as it was in the middle ages, with a chapel, and now ok to reserve for events and marriages etc. It is a private property today. This is worth stopping by indeed.  As early as 1675, Des Forges settled in the heart of the forest of Paimpont / Brocéliande.  Now, the 3 components of a forge are gathered here, the ore, wood and water. In the 18C, Diderot and d’Alembert retain the refinery to illustrate “the encyclopedia”.  Des Forges ensure orders linked to the war of independence of the United States of America. The maison de Maître de Forges, as well as worker homes are built start 18C on a plan or map of the 17C.  In the 19C, during the reign of king Louis XVIII, the Forges must modernise; a state of the art made (which gave us a beautiful series of detailed plans visible at the National Archives in Paris). Competitive prices from foreign firms , especially English, made the furnaces  stop in 1866 and then resume activity for the war of 1870 to stop permanently in 1880.   We can observe some products manufactured in these Forges (screw press, chimney plates, forged… nails) are visible in some masonry. This activity will stop in 1954.   A restoration program is committed with the assistance of the State, the Council régional de Bretagne, Conseil Général D’ille et Vilaine and the owner. webpage:

We continue passing by Beignon, and seeing the nice Church Saint Pierre, it is in the form of a Latin cross from ealry the 16C. You can admire beautiful classified stained-glass windows dating from the 16C,  depicting the tree of  Jesse and the life of St Pierre and its pits carved frame.  The north gate is dated 1268 and an episcopal crest.

Near Guer, on the road D773 we stopped by the école militaire de Saint Cyr-Côetquidan, they started out by order of emperor Napoléon 1ér out of the Château de Fontainebleau,and then at Saint-Cyr in my old dept 78 Yvelines. The schools are in order since 1805. Inside the one at Guer there is a museum. It is a museum of memories or musée du Souvenir, of all the officers dead for France in all wars. Many statues objects,and uniforms, and outside many statues of heroes. You will need to provide identification and register at the front entrance before told where the museum is located ar Rue Rivoli Inside the camp, Defense Ministry of France webpage:

Moving righth along on this wooded heavily forest area, we came back on the road D773 to St Malo de Beignon, where at the leisure lake base you have a minituare harbor! or Port Miniature,  from boats to rowing to coast guard boats all in small scales right on the lake.  You get to ride all these miniatures boats,and there is picnic area around the lake very nice. They even allow camping here with 50 spots. and there is the Cap Vert  restaurant on site.  The town is very nice medieval and quaint narrow streets in the old bishops palace of the bishop of Saint Malo.

We arrive at the wonderful town of Plélan le Grand, where we immediately sighted the Church.  The St. Peter’s church or église St Pierre  was built from 1850 in a spot of the church from the 13C which survives that of Sainte-Anne Chapel . A tower dating from 1620 plays the role of Bell Tower. It has a wonderful calvary on the side, beautifully done. We walked this town up and down very lively , very friendly folks, we purchase our baguette for home here at  Michel Bellier boulangerie, pâtisserie on 53 Avenue de la Libération, the main road of the town.

And the time for lunch came at Plélan le Grand. We heard of all the famous ones at the tourist office, but we went to a people place, down to earth and friendly folks , full, but so friendly, the owners do the the cooking and serving and it shows. Les Boucaniers or the Buccaneers restaurant not far from the Church on the main street of ave de la libération, and rue Nationale ,same road. Here we got the big table by the bar, as the back dining room was full. We were behind a door with a picture of Marilyn Monroe, figure it was the toilet or restroom but it was the stock room so all the good stuff was right behind us! The lady owner server was laughting with us all the way. They serve several servings of bread and butter, plenty of water, and good Grimbergen blonde beers. We had the house menu du jour, for an excellent 10,70€ per person. You have entrée buffet with cold cuts, terrines of paté campagne and mousse de  salmon, hard boiled eggs, pasta with shurimi shrimps, potato salad, just to start, then the main dish was hashi parmentier with pork and sausage meats, and bottom cut of steaks, with fries and salads greens, and for desserts, fondant de chocolat, and sorbet framboise and various fruits shunks; the beers we double it, so the total bill came to 16€ per person, a great bargain and sure to remember this place, A bit more on the restaurant guru reviews webpage:

The Brocéliande area tourist office for the above:

There you go folks a nice road warrior ride to introduce us to this magical area and we have been back ! Hope you enjoy the ride in Brocéliande and see the fairy tales and magic as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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