Archive for ‘Bretagne’

August 15, 2019

St Goazec in the Finistére breton!

So here I am already in my vacation and before i take off for the Loire and  Spain (more later) I am indulging myself in some new territories of my lovely Bretagne. As said before, so much to see here, and the old saying is know your country before you know the world… I am doing that one at a time.

I decided to travel with the boys to Saint Goazec in the Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne, just less than an hour from me! And behold, there are beauties to see here. I will try to bring you up to date on the town in a couple posts; bear with me please.

Saint-Goazec  is a town cut off by the Aulne river that splits it from Châteauneuf-du-Faou (more on it later) , and the town is 30 km from Quimper and 58 km from Brest. The  castle of Trévarez is located  just outside (more later).

During the French revolution, the Trévoazec estate passed into the hands of Antoine-Henry d’Amphernet of Pontbellanger, a Chouan chief who died in 1796 in Médréac after being ambushed by soldiers of General Hoche (native of Versailles and gen of the armies of the west) ; he had been denounced by his wife, the Marquise Louise Bot du Grego, who was the mistress of General Hoche. The   Republican revolutionaries blues, in recognition of the services she gave them, razed the church of Trégoazec, but left intact her lands and her manor of Trévarez. The canal from Nantes to Brest with the Voaquer lock and its salmon and trout ladder, which allows them to climb the course of the Aulne to spawn. The parish Church of St. Pierre, built in 1896. The Calvary and his Madonna and Child, alas mutilated, dates from the 15C.

The construction of the Church of Saint-Pierre took place from 1894 to 1896. It is a church in the shape of a Latin cross formed of 3 naves with 3 bays. The shell, in shale rubble, is partially coated. The frames of the bays are cut granite. It is covered with paneling painted blue. The arch is painted in ochre and yellow. The transept has a polygonal choir lit by 3 stained glass windows: The central stained glass dates from 1593 and represents The Passion. The Church St Pierre houses the statues of the Virgin Mother, Saint Goazec, Saint Peter and Saint Herbert.

City of Saint Goazec on the Church

st goazec

st goazec

st goazec

Another curiosity that i can add to this post is the Château de Kervoazec which is a private property but I was able to arrive just to it. It is now rented for special events such as wedding and can be rented as lodging B&B. Very interesting if you like castles like me to see it. The property is just outside of main city center on the road D36 before reaching St Goazec.

st goazec

The Château de Kervoazec was built around 1860, on the site of the ancient village of Tregoazec by Louis Monjaret de Kerjégu, deputy and general counselor of Finistère who practiced there raising horses and creating a farm-school , that allows young girls in the country to work so that they can live in their area. The embroiderers made Breton lace: headdresses, collars, etc. Thirty young girls were working there in 1928 the workshop is annexed to the school. In 1930 the decline in orders led to a decrease in the number of embroiderers and by 1939 only 22 workers were left; in 1946 the workroom was closed. His daughter Anne Monjaret de Kerjégu married Count Eudes de Rouvroy of Saint-Simon, mayor of Saint-Goazec between 1919 and 1929, nephew of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, count of Saint Simon , founder of Saint-Simon, who made him build Ker Maunoir, a pretty house at the end of the park for his daughter. From 1932, after the death of Eudes de Rouvroy of Saint-Simon, the castle, then called castle of Saint-Simon became the property of Pierre de Foucault, Baron de Tournebu, because of his marriage with Genevieve de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon, daughter of Eudes de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon, who opened a lace workstation there between 1916 to 1928. A man of the 19C, a supporter of the French Action ( a French far right monarchist political movement)   which he presides the local group, he organized important political meetings in which participated in particular Leon Daudet and many Camelots of the king. The castle was occupied by the Nazi army from May 1944 and served as a gathering center for the children of Brest. The current park is only 8 ha, the rest having been gradually sold in the 1950s. Since 2014, the Castle of Kervozec offers hotel rentals all year round, dining rooms rentals etc.

Official Chateau de Kervoazec

st goazec

st goazec

This is an introduction to the town of Saint Goazec, another post to follow shortly. Enjoy it ,this is the backwoods of my belle France in lovely Bretagne, off the beaten path and the beauty to be in real French country. Family and friends tells me I am lucky and I am beginning to believe it !!! For now enjoy Saint Goazec in the Finistére breton.

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

 

 

 

August 14, 2019

Château Turpault in Quiberon!

Well been a beach resort and playground of all, you would not guess it has a castle, it does. However, before you get excited to come dont bother as it is private! Nevertheless, it is a city icon and one we see each time we approach Quiberon by the côte sauvage along the ocean or wild coast!

As for the marquee and to not missed seeing while in town, we all go to see it locals and tourist alike, so jot it down to see when in town, remember Château Turpault in Quiberon. Here is something more on it. Enjoy it as we do.

We like to come by the ocean side for its wonderful views and riding along the ocean is a super adreline for me anyway. Once at the city limit you see the  Castle of Turpault, very nice out into the sea just before entering Quiberon.

quiberon

Since 1967, the then owners the , Richards lived there well. For proof: when Johnny Hallyday and his young wife Laeticia knocked on their door in the hope of acquiring the premises, they received a categorical refusal.

quiberon

The Château Turpault in Quiberon was last sold in 2014. The buyers succumbed to the charms of this manor of the early 20C on a stormy day. Its very particular silhouette, the focus of many photographers, marks the entrance to the côte sauvage or wild coast at Quiberon. Located on the Pointe de Beg er Lann or pointe de la Lande, the castle of Turpault has an  Anglo-Medieval-style mansion was built in 1904 by Georges Turpault, a spinner from Cholet, who christened it the Castle de la mer or the sea. It was then renamed Château Turpault by the local Quiberon folks. The castle of 500 m2 of living space is located in the center of a park of nearly 5000 m2.

The Castle of Turpault is like the emblem of the city. On stormy days, the waves crash on the windows of the third floor. The sand rushes into the living room. A fantastic home, evoking the Middle Ages and English-influenced period. Open on all the wild coast, it is a pure jewel whose architecture must be appreciated and at the foot of which it is necessary to come to admire the view of the point of Beg-er-Lann to which it adds a little majesty and a fantastic tone. You cannot get close to the castle as it remains a private property, but it is enough to admire the beauty and be hypnotized by the atmosphere it gives off. Indeed it does!!!

The movie “Martin Soldier“, with Robert Hirsch, and several German films were shot here!. Fittingly, from 1940 to 1945, the property served as a staff for the Nazis. It is fortified and all windows are walled. It will come out very damaged. Today, two bunkers bear witness to this era: one at the rear left of the castle and the other at the front of the property, camouflaged under the lawn. The sites of the old machine gun turrets, still visible all around the building, serve today happily as flower boxes.

More on Quiberon here: Tourist office of the Bay of Quiberon on things to do

City of Quiberon on history and things to see in French

Not much else as again it is a private property however, you can come very close to it and have a souvenir photo as well as marvel of its architecture and see the bunkers. There is parking very near before entering the city so easy walk to it; enjoy it !! The Château de Turpault is indeed an icon of Quiberon!

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

August 13, 2019

Le petit trains or the little trains!!!

Now on a windy cool semi cloudy day in my neck of the woods, and temps of 21C or about 65F let me bring you to the magical world of litle tourist trains which abound in my belle France. I cannot tell you all but the most significants for my family and with some pictures of some of them.

We have enjoyed them tremendously especially when visiting and early on that my boys were younger,now grown men difficult to get them into them but the memories lingered for the parents ,especially. I like to briefly share some of our favorites petit trains with you all. Enjoy it as we did! No specific order of the experience.

The Petit Train of Tours taking you to the old neighborhoods of the city of Tours such as the  Hôtel de Ville – Palais de Justice – Basilique Saint-Martin – Place Plumerau – Théâtre – Place Foire Le Roi – Château -, and  Cathédrale Saint-Gatien. More about it here: Petit train de val de loire, Tours

The Petit train of Albi is great for the hilly streets and a a great experience when approaching the Cathedral! More info here: Tourist office of Albi on the petit train

The Petit Train of Rouen, other than Paris and Versailles this one was the first one taken in France way back in the 90’s, and repeat with the boys A wonderful experience on the old neighborhood of Rouen and the parvis of the Cathedral! More info here: Tourist office of Rouen on the petit train

The Petit Train of  Bourges. hah, when we saw the steep streets at first this one was the best option to see the most important monuments and choose those most like to come back on foot! The approach to the Cathedral is awesome. More info here: Tourist office of Bourges Berry region on the petit train

The petit trains of Quiberon, Vannes ,and La Trinité sur Mer/ Carnac are awesome especially at the beginning of the summer beach season as later are packed! Theses towns are in my beautiful Morbihan, just south of me,  and they are worth the walk but on a petit train at first is sublime. More info on their sites here:

Petit Train of Quiberon

Petit Train of Vannes

Petit train of Carnac

quiberon

Quiberon

carnac

Carnac

vannes

Vannes

la-trinite-sur-mer

La Trinité sur Mer

The Petit train du loch in Auray. Also, in my lovely Morbihan breton and the first one taken while living here. It is a good idea as the lower town of St Goustan is very steep in streets and cobblestones; so a first try here is recommended. More info here: Tourist office Bay of Quiberon on the petit train of Auray

Auray

The Petits Trains du Val de Loire, and in Amboise. A lovely ride on the Château Royal; Château du Clos Lucé,  the banks of the Loire river and the golden island or l’île d’Or . Great views magnificent rides and we take our house wines here so we tested a few time after a long day lol! More info here: The petit trains du Val de Loire in Amboise

The Petit train of Angers, a wonderful ride on old Angers discovering the Cité la doutre, wooden houses ,anecdotes as told by the conductor and of course the Cathedral. More info here: The Petit trains du Val de Loire in Angers

The Petit train of Beaune! from departure at the  rue de l’hôtel Dieu in front of the Hospices of Beaune! Nothing more sublime than this and a narrated tour of the old town with its wonderful monuments and the vineyards of Burgundy! More info here: Visio petit train of Beaune

Under the slogan  «Bénodet, bonne idée» or Bénodet, good idea, take a ride into the old port and town of Bénodet, by its corniche de l’estuaire to the corniche de la mer, along the ocean and to the pointe Saint Gilles to the Fort du Coq. Great sights of boats and sea always gorgeous. More info here: City of Bénodet on the petit train

benodet

The Petit train of Caen, again one of the earliest little train we took as a family , great memories. You take at the wonderful Church of St Pierre facing the tourist office , and go on to see the  Château, Abbaye aux Dames,  port, Tour Leroy,  Abbaye aux Hommes, place St Sauveur, and the old city center of Caen. Still very nice to do! More info here: The Cap Petit Train of Caen

The Petit train of Chartres, another of the earlier ones we took and very nice. Along the banks of the river, to see all monuments and of course the Cathedral of Chartres glorious as ever. More info here: The Petit train of Chartres

The Petit train of Deauville; this one is a long run worth it to avoid long walks, you can always come back to the best sights. Starts at City center and goes into Place Morny, Vieux Marché (old market), Yatchs basin, Port Deauville, Poney Club, Mini-Golf, CID, Piscine (pool), Plages (beaches) and along the sea, Les Planches, Promenade M. d’Ornano, new gardens ,  wonderful luxury Hôtels, and Casino,and back to the city/town hall or  Mairie. More info here: The petit train of Deauville

The Petit train of Dieppe, a nice narrated ride on the narrow streets of Dieppe with history of the town included.  The ride takes you into the old town, and the port, the landing beach and its monuments. More info here: The Petit train of Dieppe

The Petit train of  Guérande ; very nice on narrow cobblestone streets and as have friends with small children here we took it too lol! Goes from the foot of the gate or porte St Michel, the main entrance to the fortified city. More info here: The Petit train of Guérande

The Petit train of La Baule, a great ride from the bay 8 km connecting the towns of La Baule to Pornichet. Passing by great beaches and wonderful view of the ocean! More info here: The Petit train of La Baule

The Petit train of Le Mans,another great idea on a narrow steep and cobblestone fortified town. You go into the old town of the  Cîté Plantagenet and the pedestrian center, along the banks of the Sarthe river, with story telling indeed very interesting. More info here: The Petit trains du Val de Loire in Le Mans

The Petit train of Nantes. A great ride with lots to see and come back for it in details later on. The trip goes into the city center retracing the history of Nantes.  You leave from the wonderful Cathedral Saint-Pierre, to the center gazing at beautiful architecture we like it still. More info here: The Petit train of Nantes

Nantes

The Petit train of Quimper , goes to the historic center town and into pedestrian only streets! and along the wharfs or quais of the Odet river! More info here: The Petit train Celtic of Quimper

Quimper

The Petit train of Saumur. Very nice as it was the last petit train we took as a family after my dear late wife Martine passed away from cancer. You ride along the banks of the Loire river into the historic equestrian and military heart of the buildings of the cavalry, Church of St Pierre, medieval streets of the city center to arrive at the majestic Château de Saumur overlooking the Loire river. More info here: The Petit train du Val de Loire in Saumur

The Petit train of Tolouse. It has two tours or trips one lets you see the monuments such as the Place du Capitole, Basilique St-Sernin, Place St-Pierre, Quais de la Garonne, Church de la Daurade, neighborhoods or quartiers Croix-Baragnon and St-Georges, and the Place Wilson.  The second trip takes you to discover the monuments of the neighborhoods or quartiers Dalbade, Palais de Justice, and the public gardens such as  Jardin Royal, Grand Rond. Also, the palace or Palais Niel, and the Canal du Midi. A sentimental favorite in France and worth the ride on both tours. More info here: The Petit train of Toulouse

The Petit train of St Jean de Luz. a nice ride looking at its beautiful houses, Church of  Saint-Jean-Baptiste (St John the Baptist), thalasso and casino,the house of the future queen of France Maria Teresa of Spain, and the wonderful place Louis-XIV. This one is going back a lot but nice memories, More info here: The Petit train of Saint Jean de Luz

st jean de luz

The Petit train of Fougéres, you go to the foot of the castle at place Raoul 2. And go no with a beautiful ride into old Fougéres for a 40 minutes ride! More info here: The Petit train of Fougéres

Fougeres

The Petit train of Montmartre, Paris. It was the second petit train we ever took in France! Well this one by now is very touristic in my opinion but with the steep cobblestone streets of Montmartre it is still a good idea to take it at first. You will ride into its picturesques streets, the ateliers of painters, the monuments, the cabarets, the vineyard, and the wonderful Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Sacre Coeur with a panoramic view of Paris to end start at the Place du Tertre. More info here: The Petit train of Montmartre, Paris

The Petit Train of St Malo. another good option on a narrow cobblestone fortified city to take the tour first. You take it at the Esplanade Saint Vincent, between the tourist office and the Castle. More info here: The Petit train of St Malo

St Malo

St Malo quai-st-vincent

The Petit train of Port du Crouesty, Arzon; you take it from here to the next port harbor of Port Navalo passing by the windmill or Moulin de Pen Castel. A nice ride along the ocean and harbors; more info here: The Petit train of Arzon, Port du Crouesty

Arzon

The Petit train or Noirmout’train of the island or île de Noirmoutier . This offers four tours but take the grand tour first time to see it all.  These are call the découverte or discovery , village anciens or old towns, marais salants or salted marshes and the grand tour or big trip. More info here The Petit train of Noirmoutier or noirmouttrain

Ile de Noumoutier

And last but not least, the first petit train we took in France in our dear beloved Versailles. It is an internal train on the property of the castle even if sometimes it is taken outside on heritage days . We have not taken it since 2011! You will ride in the property of the Domaine of Versailles which includes the gardens, the palace/museum, and the Hameau, Petit and Grand Trianon. Sublime to take it at least once and if too tired of the walks in the domaine. Enjoy it. More info here: The Petit train of the Domaine of Versailles

Versailles

Versailles by rive gauche RER C station

There is one more webpage that showcase all of the above and a lot more petit trains in France. For info it is here: The Petit trains of France

Wow, impress myself no idea on how many of these wonders we have been to, great memories indeed. Much have been said about the little trains or petit trains and sometimes the price ratio does not seems correct. However, for someone with limited time and or not good at long walks they are a perfect choice to do here. Enjoy them as we have done over the years, and glad still around us for the enjoyment of all! The Petit trains are sublimes!

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

August 11, 2019

Tour Tanguy at Brest!

So let me bring you back to a very nice feature of Brest. I have written several posts on this quant city of the north of the Finistére dept 29 of Bretagne. However, this part is rather nice so figure deserves a post on its own. Here it is for you, hope you like as I do.

As arrive by car and park in front of the Château, then do our walks all over the city. While passing by the Recouvrance bridge we noted this ancient tower right in the harbor not knowing what it was we headed for it. Well, it is a very nice museum of the city of Brest. I like to tell you a bit more on it.

The Bastille Quilbignon or Motte-Tanguy tower is built on a rocky mound along the Penfeld river, facing the castle of Brest, Recouvrance. It is accessed from Rue de la Porte by the Place Pierre-Péron, at the foot of the Recouvrance bridge. This tower of the 14C houses the museum of old Brest.

Brest

The origin of the medieval tower could not be determined very precisely. Tradition give it as founder Tanguy I of Chastel, lord at the castle of Trémazan in Landunvez, which was illustrated in the struggle of Brittany against England and contributed to the development of the right bank. But the construction is probably posterior.

In 1386 the Duke of Brittany Jean IV undertook the siege of the castle of Brest occupied by the English. To ensure the blockade he leaned on two bastilles: one facing the castle, the other at Quilbignon on the right bank, called Bastille Kerneguez, simple wooden fort. The Bastille of Kerneguez was taken and destroyed by the Duke of Lancaster. In 1387 Jean IV rebuilt the two stone buildings, much stronger than before

It is very likely that this Bastille Kerneguez, mentioned as being on the edge of the Penfeld river facing the castle, became the property of the family of Chastel after the departure of the English in 1397. The name of the Bastille gave way to that of Tanguy tower, first name worn by several members of this line. Their weapons are engraved above the door.

Until about 1580, the Tanguy tower served as the seat of justice of the lords of the Châtel, before they transfer it to a neighboring house. Then neglected, the tower became the property of the Rohan-Guéméné family in 1786 then passed into the Royal domain before being sold as national property during the French revolution to the Sieur Gabon. It becomes at this time the Cabon Tower. In 1862, it is acquired by the architect Barillé who transforms it into a dwelling house. It’s last resident and private owner, Dr. Joseph Thielmans, leaves her after the fire during the fighting of 1944 in WWII.

Brest

The city of Brest becomes the owner in 1954. The Tanguy tower is restored and inaugurates the museum of old Brest in 1962 which then had only two rooms. A third room was opened to the public in July 1964. In 1971, a pepper mill was added to it and its neo-Gothic cornice was replaced with crenellations to give it a medieval silhouette. The museum houses a set of models and historical reconstructions that constitute a walk through the picturesque streets of Brest before 1939, that is to say in the city as it was before the Allied bombing during  WWII. On two floors, there are models, huge dioramas (paintings painted in relief), official documents of several eras, photos and rare postcards, a collection of coats of arms or the map of the old Brest with the Vauban fortifications. Dioramas made by the Brest artist Jim Sévellec represent the great episodes in the history of Brest.  The tour Tanguy is divided into three section, the street level, (1fl US etc ), first floor and second floor, all very nice.

Brest

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Brest on the history of Tanguy tower

Tourist office of Brest on the Tanguy tower museum

And there you go another dandy in nice Brest in the lovely Finistére of Bretagne. The Tanguy tower museum is worth the detour in the city and close to the main museums in the castle.

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

 

 

August 9, 2019

The manufacture des Tabacs at Morlaix!

So let me take back to my region of Brittany and something off the beaten path but worth stopping by especially as it is going thru a transformation that will be super for all to see. I have done briefs on it in my posts on Morlaix but feel now deserves a post of its own. I will be telling you about the Manufacture des Tabacs or the Tabacco Factory of Morlaix.

The Manufacture des Tabacs or Morlaix Tobacco Factory is a group of buildings located on the quai de Léon in Morlaix. This is in the Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany. I will skip the town as already mentioned in previous posts in my blog.

The manufacture des Tabacs was built in four stages: the main buildings, subdivided into three groups (manufacture, stores, logis) were built between 1736 and 1740 according to the plans of Jean-François Blondel, member of the Royal Academy of Architecture. During the inter-war period, four new buildings were added, crowned by a concrete frame imitating green wood.  The Chamber of Commerce and Industry  (CCI) of Morlaix acquires the monument in April 2001.

Morlaix

In December 2007, the entire west wing of the architectural ensemble found new assignments: artists’ studios, businesses, offices , etc.  At the end of 2008, a first installment of repairs to the fireworks and burned roofs is completed. In 2009, the development of courts and public passages are made, allowing it to open a little more this property complex to the rest of the city.  On May 24, 2013, the Espace des Sciences and Morlaix Communauté sign an agreement to open a branch of the Espace des Sciences in the tobacco factory of Morlaix in 2015.

Morlaix

A bit of old history I like

The Manufacture des Tabacs de Morlaix must be one of the oldest in France. It already existed in 1689, because there are records of the hospice, that the children of this establishment worked and made ankles for the manufacture. In 1667, the Monarchy having reserved the monopoly of the manufacture of tobacco, leased it to Sr. Jean Breton. In 1718 this monopoly returned to the general farm; it was then that it was established a factory in Morlaix.  From 1723 to 1747, the East India Company owned the tobaccos, the company was obliged to build a new building, which rose on the Quai de Leon instead called the Clos-Marant. The new Royal factory was completed in 1736-40.

The Manufacture des Tabacs produces snuff, chew and smoke until the dawn of the 21C. The advent of the steam induces the construction of new premises between 1868 and 1871. Four other buildings surmounted by a concrete frame, called “the Cathedral”, are erected between the two wars.  At the height of its activity, around 1880, the Manu employs more than 1,800 people. First manual (hence the name of Manufacture), the production is mechanized from the late 19C. Machines are improving and the number of jobs is decreasing. In 1995, the establishment has only 185 employees. Production begins to be delocalized. It is then that a large fire seriously damages part of the site. The announced closure of the Manu is experienced here as a historical, social and economic wrench.

Until the decree of the National Assembly, dated March 20, 1791, under the French revolution, which abolished the monopoly, recognized to all French the right to cultivate, manufacture and sell tobacco. The tobacco factory was closed and a large number of workers were out of work.  The buildings, which were almost entirely rebuilt in 1868-1871, are immense, the courtyards spacious, the workshops vast and well ventilated, but the whole is without architectural character.

There is a future for all wonderful beautiful things in my belle France!

The Manufacture des Tabacs that for 250 years was a main motor of fabrication of cigars etc, today it is save by administrative offices and it is open to the public to showcase it.  A reconversion project was born: the Manu, hitherto closed to the public, will become a new city district combining economic, administrative, cultural and educational activities, around a few dwellings. The CCI takes charge of the project management of all the works. Of the 31,000m² of the site, 10,000m² of buildings without heritage interest are demolished between 2003 and 2005.  In order to make this project feasible, work is needed to rehabilitate 3600 m2 of this historic monument. This site also includes the restoration of 14 preserved machines and 12 mills to grate as well as the creation of an attractive scenography, Including the installation of “Espace des Sciences”, a unique science center in France that will open in 2020. This real palace of discovery will have the mission of promoting the heritage and history of the Manufacture and promoting scientific and industrial culture through exhibitions, workshops, events and conferences for all. Great indeed, we will return.

Morlaix

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Morlaix on the tobacco factory in French

Tourist office of dept 29 Finistere on Morlaix in English

Tourist office of Brittany on Morlaix in English

There you go, i hope you have the chance to stop by this wonderful town of Morlaix, we like it and have memorable moments here with the family. As said, we will return to see the Manufacture des Tabacs or Tobacco factory fully restore in 2020. See you!

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

August 9, 2019

The megaliths of Locmariaquer!

So let me bring you closer to me just south of me in fact on the coast. This is Locmariaquer in my Morbihan region of Brittany. I come here often and other than the beautiful beach and bars (see my other posts) I need to touch more in detail the megaliths of Locmariaquer.

These are stones really that it seems nobody has determine where they come from or how they were done or what purposes! There are a lot of hypothèses but not a real conclusion accepted by all responsible organisms. I will just tell you a bit on them borrowed from their official sites.

The town of Locmariaquer is located at the western mouth of the Gulf of Morbihan and has many beaches overlooking the Bay of Quiberon, western part of Mor Braz which opens access to the Atlantic Ocean. Love to come here for a drink or lunch across from the bridge into the sea!

Another wonderful site to come and see is the megaliths of Locmariaquer or the ancient stones monument of this region. The town is another major site for them. Locmariaquer is home to a remarkable concentration of megaliths. The grouping is about 10 kms from Carnac and considered one of the most complete site.

locmariaquer

Some of these are the large, shattered menhir of Er Grah, the world’s largest menhir, nearly 20 meters, and weighting  280 tons!!!, the biggest stone in Europe!!!, and done 2000 years before those of Carnac , currently broken into four pieces. The impressive dimensions of this menhir still divide specialists as to the techniques used for its transport and implementation, but the work done by the Neolithic remains remarkable.

locmariaquer

Locmariaquer

Cairn of the Merchant’s Table:  Dated 3,700 BC north-south orientation. This dolmen, about 12 meters long, has a room whose height is unusual in this type of monument: almost 2.50 meters! In fact, the explanation lies in the chronology of the construction of this burial. The magnificent carved sandstone slab, forming the back of the room, was originally erected in the open air. It depicts an idol in a crest, surrounded by a radiant hair, and covered with butts. The back of this stele also bears engravings. The ceiling slab of the room is also decorated with engravings: an axe, a butt, and the lower part of a bovid. This last engraving being incomplete, it is understood that the slab was originally intended to be larger, and that it was broken. Indeed, the second part of this block was found on the dolmen of the island of Gavrinis, and the third is probably the cover slab of the mound of Er Grah.

locmariaquer

Mounds of Er Grah:  About 4,000 BC The tomb, without access from the outside, was in a first phase surrounded by a cairn of stones, then it was enlarged by the construction of two extensions of stone and earth, bringing its total length to nearly 140m! Probably the burial of an important figure, who justified such a deployment of works, the vault, looted several times, unfortunately delivered only a pendeloque in green variscite.  offering a unique witness to the exceptional funeral rites practice in Brittany at the time of the Neolithic era. The flat stones, a long-bent dolmen of nearly 25 meters.

Dolmen of Kercadoret :  Located on the left of the route d’ Auray road D781 when you go to Locmariaquer, this little dolmen has kept only the 6 support slabs of the room as well as a block of cover.  It is known from this tomb that it was reused in the Bronze Age, as evidenced by the discovery of a copper javelin tip and very beautiful flint arrowheads.

Dolmen of Kerveresse : All that remains of this monument is the bedroom and a hallway primer, 13 pillars support 2 slabs of roof. Inside, on some of the pillars, are engraved with butts, and you can also see cupules on the ceiling.

The Mane-Lud tumulus :  Dolmen dated to the Middle Neolithic, reused in the early Bronze Age around 2,220 BC. This dolmen, accessible by the departmental road D781 and located on the edge of the Nélud subdivision. We go down a modern staircase. It is oriented north-south, the corridor, begun by modern constructions, was about 6 meters long, and the room was about 3.60 meters long. 29 blocks serve as a support for 5 slabs of cover, and the floor is made up of two huge slabs.  Eight of the supports are engraved, and bear frequent symbols on the megaliths of the region: corniforms, butts, axe blades and axes shriveled, serpent form, cupules, crests, and symbols sometimes interpreted as rowing boats. The floor of the chamber is made up of a carved slab, the very particular shape of which evokes an idol in crest. It is most likely a stele, (erected stone) originally erected in the open air, and used for reuse for the paving of this dolmen, as well as for the large roof slab.  To the east of this dolmen, the east-west oriented mound is in fact a mound, probably dated to the Bronze Age (dimensions 80 x 50 meters and 5.50 meters high), and which contained a funerary vault as well as five standing stones surmounted by horse skulls in the eastern part. Objects presented at the Vannes and Carnac Museums.

locmariaquer

Tumulus of Mané et Hroêk; this tumulus, 100 meters long and 60 meters wide, 10 meters high, was excavated in 1863. This princely tomb concealed in its center a four-meter long burial chamber in which the researchers found exceptional furnishings, comprising of 106 polished axes in jade, as well as beads and pendulous in variscite, hidden for the most part under the paving of the vault. At the entrance to the room were three fragments of a carved slab. The decoration represents in the center a crest, figuration of the mother goddess, containing a horned sign and two small sticks; above and below, a series of driven axes and finally, at the bottom, a more combusting axe, with a ring at the bottom of the handle.

Room and tumulus of the Mané-Rutual :  Accessible via the ruelle de Bronzo.  Around 3,800 BC The hallway and the bedroom are about 15 meters long, the room is double: on two occasions, an advance of blocks on each side forms a narrowing, which compartmentalizes the room into two parts (we can speak of antechamber and chamber). 39 supports form the walls; the whole is covered by 6 slabs. The roof slab of the room is 11.30 meters long and 4 meters wide, and is largely overflowing on the back of the monument. It is decorated with a magnificent crest, and was also originally a large stele intended to be erected, and which was later reused in roof slab.  On the ceiling of the antechamber, there is an axe-Prue, a motif found on one of the supports of this part of the monument. On the next block are two butts. Objects found in excavation presented at the Vannes museum.

Men Er Letionec: Pointe de Kerpenhir, on the edge of the Gulf, this 3.4 meters high menhir would be the only remnant of an ancient cromlech.

Locmariaquer

Mein Er Mere: Visible at low tide north of the village pier, this 8 meters block is a menhir, but it is not clear what it does at this location: was it erected there, it would testify in this case of the rise of the waters since the Neolithic  or was it being transported?

Some webpages to help you further enjoy these wonderful sites are

Official National Monument info on the megaliths of Locmariaquer

The city of Locmariaquer on the megaliths in French

There you go and if you want to mix history architecture and old stones with beautiful beaches and great fish/seafood then you must come to Locmariaquer! Only 28 km from me or about 17 miles!

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

August 8, 2019

Châtillon Chocolats at Pleyben!

As I have done several posts on my favorite family memorable restaurants of my travel history (some), I have done some on food and delicacies of my belle France. Well how about my beautiful Bretagne/Brittany! This is a must while in the region.

I like to tell you an off the beaten path chocolates to marvel your senses and once again proves that France is a movable feast! Let me tell you a bit about the Châtillon chocolates of Pleyben in the Finistére dept 29 of my beautiful Bretagne.

pleyben

However, another marvel to come here is the maître chocolatier Michel Chatillon. He has his production, making, tastings and presentation at the same spot right across diagonally from the parish Calvary ensemble. This is chocolate, fruit pate, candies, cider, and gifts but chocolates and especially the Florentins are to come here for it. The official site is here: Official Châtillon chocolat of Pleyben

pleyben

The chocolate Châtillon continue a long tradition. It was in Switzerland that the owner went  in for a couple years , he perfected himself in the knowledge of chocolate and the artistic side of the trade at a school in Basel. After these years in Switzerland and eager to fly on his own, Michel Chatillon returns to Brittany and settles in Brest in 1965 without a penny in his pocket. After successfully repaying his first loans, he opened several stores between Brest and Quimper. In 1992, Michel Chatillon decided to abandon Brest to join Pleyben, Finistére dept 29. Already present in Japan, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, England or Denmark, the chocolate Chatillon does not want to stop there. Just a step away from the extraordinary parish enclosure of Pleyben, with an entry which must not exceed 100 meters of width, wedged between two houses, the company Châtillon does not play the grandeur, it is clear. His delicious Florentins is the flagship product, exclusive, invented by Michel Châtillon himself. This delicious almond cakes melted in chocolate-covered caramel is divine,indeed. Our favorites we died for it. Try it!!!

pleyben

A bit of a tour of Châtillon chocolats!

Upon entering and while the audience contemplates the work, an audio tape explains the making. The steps are clearly numbered in the visit. The viewer is engrossed in the work of the pastry-cook, who stuffs the stepped plates on trolleys slid into a kiln larger than himself. Once this short but instructive visit is over, the group heads to a small room where the story of Châtillon chocolate will be projected. Exotic images of cocoa production in Africa. Industrial with container shipping. Images on the controls at the start and the finish, guaranteeing the quality of the cocoa bean. Transformation in chocolate, passage in the machines of the Châtillon chocolate factory, explanations on the white, black, milk chocolate. In short, you learn, you travel, and necessarily, you salivate of the display. It’s time to go back to the shop before leaving to take home some amazing chocolates especially the Florentins!!

pleyben

The Finistére tourist office here: Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on the Chatillon chocolats in French

There you go if you like gourmet foods candies, sugar covered assortments, cider, miel and especially chocolates than this place is for you; simply delicious and next to a wonder of our times the  Calvary of Pleyben(see my post on it). Enjoy the Châtillon chocolates at Pleyben!

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

 

 

August 7, 2019

The beaches of Dinard!

Ok so let’s talk about beaches as we are in full swing of summer in my belle France! Beaches with boys I have been to several all over the hexagone; and lately base in Brittany, I had my sandful of them! As we are in a peninsula , tuck in with wonderful creeks and bays we are literally surrounded by wonderful beautiful beaches.

I like to tell you a bit more or more like a pictorial of the beaches of Dinard.

The town of  Dinard is situated in the Ille-et-Vilaine department 35 of the region of Brittany/Bretagne. The seaside resort of Dinard is located on the Emerald Coast, close to the limit with the Côtes-d’Armor (dept 22) and the city of Saint-Malo (where the Rance makes the separation). This is the tidal power plant of the Rance, located in the village of La Richardais, a technological feat of the 1960s and a tourist attraction, which connects Dinard and Saint-Malo. Dinard is the first seaside resort in France to safeguard its architectural heritage of the late 19C by classifying 407 villas and buildings. The rest of the history can be found in my previous posts on Dinard.

The town has four main beaches with a monitoring station and seasonal equipment; these are Port-Blanc, also located in the town of Saint-Lunaire, along which is located the municipal campsite; Saint-Énogat, located near the old district of Saint-Énogat; L’Ecluse, main beach of the city near the city center; the casino, the Olympic heated seawater swimming pool, the convention center, are located along this beach; and the Prieuré  at the eastern end of the Clair de Lune promenade.

The one we go the most and really enjoy as one of the best beaches here is the L’Ecluse or lock. A bit of history I like

It was at the initiative of Edouard Legros  that established mobile huts on the banks of the Ecluse for sea-bathing. In a petition addressed to the prefect, he sought permission to create on this beach, below the height of the plans of mars, a fixed hut and a furnace necessary for the exploitation of its establishment. He then undertakes to demolish his work at the first requisition. Authorization is granted for a period of 9 years from July 1, 1859. Each cabin contains a bench and a tub of warm water, essential to warm up after the bath taken to the blade. These therapeutic structures, which are more oriented towards the bathers than to the purists, offer many services to their clientele: rental of cabins, bathing suits, towels and other small beach equipment. The rest is history, the best beach in Dinard and the area.

Dinard

Dinard

that is st Malo and Ft National ahead from Ecluse beach

Another nice beach is that at Saint-Enogat which is the historical center of Dinard. By the way, until 1879, the official name of the town was Saint-Enogat. The Saint-Enogat Beach benefits from a very well equipped beach. It offers a beautiful view of the islets, rocks, forts that guard the entrance to the port of Saint-Malo.

Dinard

Dinard

 

And last for me is the Prieuré Beach located in front of the beautiful Port Breton Park. When the sea is low, its seawater pool allows you to swim without getting away from your towel. The young can paddle at leisure and the older ones indulge in swimming.

Dinard

Dinard

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Dinard on its beaches in French

Tourist office of Dinard on the Ecluse beach in English

My favorite site on beaches Plages tv on dinard’s beaches in English

There you go another wonderful spot to spend your summers in beautiful Brittany or Bretagne, up north indeed and still great beach fronts to enjoy with the whole family. Enjoy the beaches of Dinard!

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

August 7, 2019

The beaches of Quiberon!

So I have written bits and pieces in several posts about them but never one dedicated to the wonderful beaches of Quiberon just south of me and our favorite. This will change today as will tell you about the wonderful isthmus of Quiberon that goes into a peninsula or presqu’île de Quiberon all the way to the tip of the city of Quiberon.

A bit of repeat introduction for the newbies ;;)

Quiberon is situated in the department of Morbihan 56 in region of Bretagne. The southern end of the peninsula of the same name, which also includes part of the territory of the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon. Quiberon is located 28 km from Auray , 44 km (27 miles) from me to the tip of Place Hoche, and 507 km from Paris. The city has ten beaches: the Grande Plage, Goviro ,Conguel, Jument; Aerodrome, Fort Neuf,   Porigo, Kermorvan, Castéro and   Saint Julien.

Other interesting things to see here are the Côte Sauvage or wild coast and its castle Turpault who wipes all the storms off. The castle dates from 1904. The pointe (tip) du Conguel.The fishing port of Port Maria, with departure boats to the islands of Belle-Ile-en-Mer, Houat and Hoëdic .The Heritage House: museum of local life , history of shipwrecks. The .Lighthouse of Port-Maria and that of Port-Haliguen. Notre-Dame Church of Locmaria, 19C. Several dolmen, menhirs, and tumulus stones Quiberon market held every Saturday morning from 8h to 13h On the Esplanade de Hoche (Pl Hoche).

You can see Quiberon from a distance on webcams from the city here: City of Quiberon webcams Grande Plage and Port Maria

And now let me give you the beaches , 10 starting with our favorite.

Grande Plage 1 boulevard Chanard 900 meters of fine sand! This beach, in the heart of the resort, is accessible to all and has a parking for bicycles, a carpet and an armchair hipocampe for people with reduced mobility. In summer it offers a kids’ club and a beach bar. For your safety this beach is supervised in the summer and has a first aid station. Showers and toilets. We do enjoy the Grande plage or big beach, the center of it all here. It has kiddies areas, and grownups. Large beach with white sandy sands and wide enough to play games. This our favorite as it comes with easy parking, great eating/drinking places and very nice people watch site!

Tourist office of Brittany with the Grande Plage in English

quiberon

quiberon

quiberon

Plage du Goviro at Bd. du Goviro Promenade Louison Bobet At the foot of the Sofitel Thalassa Sea and Spa and the Municipal Camping du Goviro, facing Belle-Ile-en-Mer island, this small sandy beach is an ideal place to relax. Hikers on the trail nearby, can bask in before returning to their path! An armchair for the launching of people with disabilities is available at the reception of Camping du Goviro. Parking cars and bikes nearby. Emergency call terminal for rescue.

Plage du Fort Neuf Bd. de la Teignouse Ideal for lovers of sailing and jet-skiing: this beach has a launching wedge for all sailboats and motorboats. Oriented to the East, it shelters swimmers from the West winds. In addition, they can enjoy the view of the Bay of Quiberon offered from the Fort in promontory. Parking at the foot of Fort Neuf.

Plage de l’Aérodrome Bd. de la Teignouse   Large and beautiful sandy beach, often sheltered from the wind and facing the Bay of Quiberon. It will delight swimmers and thrill seekers, who in the direction of the winds, will see off the small bi-planes and other small planes of tourism to face the track of the aerodrome located a few meters behind the beach! Children will also find a skate park and a dirt bike track nearby.

Plage du Conguel at Pointe du Conguel or Conguel Point (second favorite), at the southeastern end, the pedestrian-only Conguel beach is particularly quiet, especially since it is sheltered from the westerly winds. Not far from there, at the end of the Pointe, south side, the Jument Beach is a very quiet place, far from the bustle of the city center! On the parking at the entrance of the Pointe du Conguel, you will find toilets and an emergency call terminal. Pitches for parking bicycles and picnic tables. Our 2nd choice beach to go!

Quiberon

Quiberon

Port Jean Beach  is located after the spa center and the beginning of the tip of Conguel. There are several sandy beaches (swimming is difficult at low tide along the road. The environment is nice. There are a few trees with picnic tables and toilets in the center of the tip. A car park is also available by the beach at the beginning of the tip.

The plage de la Jument  is at the end of the Conguel point. It is one of the wildest beaches of Quiberon and its attendance is quite low even in summer ;usually we stop at the beach of Conguel which is very beautiful and right next to the parking

Plage de la Thalasso Promenade Louison Bobet At the foot of the Sofitel Thalassa Sea and Spa and Thalassotherapy Institute, facing Belle-Ile-en-Mer island , (photo from the Sofitel) this small sandy cove is an ideal place for spa guests of the Institute who access it directly by the promenade Louison Bobet. Hikers on the nearby trail, can also bask in before heading back! Parking cars and bikes nearby.

Quiberon

Plage de Port Maria is located next to the main beach (on the right) at the port. This beach is more a playground for children; swimming is not recommended since it is located in the harbour … For those looking for space at the height of the season when the different beaches of Quiberon are full. It is perfect to play on.

Plage de Saint-Julien or du Drehen, Rue de la Petite Côte Sandy beach and rocks, ideal for playing at low tide. Located opposite the Bay of Quiberon, you can see in the distance, the coast of Carnac and watch the regattas!

Plage de Castéro Bd. de Castéro Small family beach, Quiberon Bay side. Beware, at high tide, the beach is completely covered! Parking and WC nearby.

Plage du Porigo Boulevard des Emigrés ; Sandy beach located near the port of Plaisance Port Haliguen and sailing school ASNQ. It is appreciated for its sun in the morning and its orientation on the Bay of Quiberon which protects it from the west winds. This family beach is supervised during the months of July and August and has a launching pad for fans of sea outing. An armchair for launching people with reduced mobility is also available at help station. Showers and toilets nearby.

Plage de Kermorvan Rue des Galets , Another launching beach on the Bay of Quiberon where you can see in the distance the marina Port Haliguen. The sand is more granular. Hikers of the GR34 can refresh their feet and visit the pretty village of Kermorvan nearby.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of the Bay of Quiberon on the beaches

Tourist office of the Morbihan dept 56 on beaches

Favorite site Plages tv on the beaches of Quiberon in English

There you go  ,now you have the rundown on all of them and can choose yours. Any will be fine, there are wonderful beaches that can put you thinking you are in the best beach spots in the world. We just have a sentimental favorite for the Grande Plage as we have come to know the merchants there. Enjoy the beaches of Quiberon.

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

 

August 7, 2019

The House of the Garenne, Vannes!

Well again going on uncharted waters, I have stayed in many properties from budget to luxury palaces over the years but if one comes to mind in my belle France is this one near me. I had no need to rent here , (I own) but friends and business collegues have stayed after my initial info and they all came back loving it So here is my take on it.

One place I can recommend because by now  know it well is the Maison de la Garenne, a bed and breakfast in a historical old mansion overlooking the ramparts and gardens of the Garenne. The house is at 2 Rue Sébastien de Rosmadec, Vannes.

Directions: When you arrive at the Legion of Honor Giratoire or roundabout also known as the Garenne roundabout, Place de la Garenne, do not descend to the port but instead , behind the bus stop, the small street bordered by a balustrade in iron at the foot of a pretty stone house, continue walking about  80 meters and you are in front of the green gate of the House of the Garenne. You can walk up from Le Port , pleasure marina area and on the roundabout turn right and again right into Place de la Garenne straight to the back is the house.

Vannes

The house built in 1898 in the urban style of the mansions of the time, surrounded by a pleasant private garden on the Plateau de la Garenne. The Maison de la Garenne offers its five guest rooms, including a family suite, each offering great comfort and are carefully furnished. This house inhabited for 3 generations by the same family offers you direct access to visit Vannes.  The house is classified “Citybreak Luxury” by Gîtes de France and has been awarde the “Mark Bretagne”. All the traditions of Brittany.

Vannes

All rooms are spacious and bright, oriented either on the garden side or on the Garenne park side. A large swimming spa, solarium, Nordic sauna, sensory shower, ice fountain and herbal goods are available.  Fitness equipment or a Japanese sauna can be privatized. Treatments and modelling are also available, by appointment.

The breakfast, will be prepare tol make you appreciate artisanal and regional products.   It will be served in the living room whose harmony comes from its high windows, its authentic fireplace, its woodwork and antique parquet floors. The large private and enclosed garden has an old part opposite the Garenne Park. The garden or park of the Garenne is bounded to the north by the Pleasure Garden of the Prefecture of Morbihan , to the east by the rue  Saint-Tropez, to the south by rue Jehan-de-Bazvalan and to the west  by the Rue Francis-Decker. Access to the park is via the rue  Francis-Decker, Rue  Jehan-de-Bazvalan and  Rue Alexandre-le-Pontois . It takes you to the ramparts of old Vannes as well and the Old town by the Porte Poterne gate.

The Maison de la Garenne  is still a little wild space composed mainly of species with persistent foliage: laurels, camellias, cedars and firs.  Hortensias, roses and other varieties of flowers, tomato plants and even fig trees adorn this place of pleasure.  In any season you will be charmed by the greenery and changing colors of nature.

vannes

Overlooking  the Rue Jehan de Bazvalan, the elegant ancient stone railing encourages walking and contemplation of a remarkable landscape where the medieval ramparts and old washes on the banks of the Marle stream , are part of the groves. For your car and on request, a covered parking lot will be reserved for you in an outbuilding at the bottom of the garden. Or park outside public  parking Saint Joseph at Rue Jehan de Bazvalan. See my post on the Garenne park of May 2 2019.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Maison de la Garenne at Vannes

Tourist office of Brittany on the Maison de la Garenne

This is very nice in an old quant corner of Vannes, the views from the upper floors is magnificent over the Gulf of Morbihan as well. Indeed worth staying in my beautiful old Vannes at the Maison de la Garenne.

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

 

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