Archive for ‘France’

September 25, 2020

El Rancho ,and my family!

So here is one from deep within the vaults of photos, and a nice story for us,which I hope you like it too. Having an international touch, we taste many foods from many countries and one of our favorites is the Tex Mex type. In France, they are still learning this cuisine but more and more coming around.

We first met it here at El Rancho restaurant chain in Versailles, and then there is history. I like to tell you about El Rancho and my family!

As said, we were surprise to find El Rancho right next to the rive gauche château of Versailles train station REC C. So of course, we went in and was a fund family affair, and memories of our previous lives in America.  We left Versailles for the Morbihan Breton and just a year later came back looking forward to eat here again, when we saw the restaurant all board up and closed! We thought that was the end of El Rancho, but no they are survivals. At the Versailles location there is now a KFC franchise restaurant which we have not tried.

versailles El Rancho old with martine noel xavier aug11

However , before that we visited two other restaurants of the chain one closed and one still open!

Located in the large Velizy 2 shopping center in Vélizy-Villacoublay ,was a perfect match for shopping and continuing the tex mex tradition of ours. the  El Rancho tex mex restaurant here we, also,  had some fun family times there and remember it well, just for the memories that will never go away, this post is dedicated to all families. The shopping center thus is still there and now has the new owner of most of the El Rancho under their new banner Old Wild West restaurant : https://fr.westfield.com/velizy2/restaurant/Old%20Wild%20West/65353

Velizy II El Rancho 26sep2009

And there was another one we went at Flins sur Seine, where on an open shopping center the El Rancho tex mex restaurant stand alone. This was the last one open,and bizarre it is still open at the ZAC Les Mériels road D14  right off the A13 autoroute de Normandie!!!

Overall, our experiences were the same in all three. First of all, the welcome, the smiling and really friendly service. Inside, there is a tex mex -Mexican atmosphere, it’s clean, colorful, not too noisy despite the many families present, and the 15 ° air conditioning will delight American tourists and some locals too ::). The menu offers tex mex -Mexican-inspired cuisine based on fatty plates or junk food, fried foods, guacamole and melted cheese, if you are on a diet, go away!. Well, anyway, the food arrives with impressive speed. El Rancho remains good value for money, surroundings, ambiance and hospitality. In short, a good plan that will also make children happy. The small lounge area on entering is nice for a drink at any time of the day. The Flins sur Seine restaurant is here: http://www.elrancho.fr/nos-restaurants/mexicain-flins/

Flins ins El Rancho resto pipo RF MF NF jul12

El Rancho is the first chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in France to offer Mexican specialties opening their first restaurant in 1992, in Melun (Seine et Marne dept 77), and has since rose to 28 restaurants in different regions. For its part, the El Rancho SA group, which still owns the El Rancho brand, which still covers two franchised restaurants and one of its own, has begun an overhaul of the concept.

The other properties most were taken over by the multi-brand Italian group Cigierre (Compagnia Generale Ristorazione S.p.A.) founded in 1995, and confirms its ambitions on the French market. With 307 establishments on the counter in Italy ,last I could count, under 5 brands :Old Wild West; typed steak house, burger and Tex-Mex, Wiener Haus ;German brasserie, Shi’s; for sushi, Pizzikotto ;for the pizzeria and American Graffiti ;for the Diner’s. Which already have experience with Wiener Haus in Rome Italy and very good too ::) Their webpage is here for info. https://www.cigierre.com/en/22812/Company

Therefore, this post is on El Rancho tex mex restaurants is for the memories of always, fun , happy family times in our belle France. The properties of course are in my old home of Yvelines dept 78, Ïle de France region. Now feel better to have the story in my blog. Hope you too have enjoy it and do try it!

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

September 25, 2020

Pluvigner, my St Guigner Church!!!

There, again, this is a must for us in town, we have been inside several times and past by it zillions times yet only briefly mentioned in previous posts in my blog. Therefore, after some exchanges with a fellow blogger , its time for me to tell you more about the St Guigner Church and Saint Guigner in Pluvigner.

First, my town of Pluvigner (French) is Breton language by the name of Pleuwigner.  The name comes from the Breton PLOE meaning Parish and GUIGNER , the Saint; therefore, the Parish of St Guigner or PLEUWIGNER or PLUVIGNER! Get it ! We do more than French here!!! A bit more,the parish of Pluvigner is known as of 1259 under the name of PLE GUINNER , in 1325 under PLEU VIGNER,  in 1387 as PLOEVIGNEr ; in 1405 as PLOUIGNER ; in 1428 as PLUVIGNER;  in 1453 as PLEVIGNER ; in 1516 as PLOEGNER ;in 1636 as PLEVIGNER!!!

The story of Pluvigner begins in the 5C with the installation at a place called “Le Moustoir” of Guigner, son of an Irish king named Clyton. Saint Patrick converts him to Christianity despite opposition from his parents. Driven by his father, Guigner he left for Armorica (now Brittany) where King Audren offered him a site to establish his hermitage. On the death of his father, King of Ireland, he went to his native country. Guigner, still nicknamed Prince Fingar, had his head cut off in the year 455 by a man named Hengist, king of the Angles on orders of Prince Théodoric.

Pluvigner had its patron saint as Saint Guigner, under whose name was placed its parish church. Hibernois of origin and son of a small king still peasant, this saint had embraced the Christian religion. To escape the persecution of his own father, he came with several new converts to spend a few years in  the Armorican Cornwall (Cornouaille). Back in his homeland, he renounced the throne left vacant by the death of his father he went to Great Britain, to work there for the conversion of the Saxons who had invaded this country: Barely landed, circa 455 , he was put to death, with all his companions as above. Fleeing the Saxons, a band of Christians who lived in the neighborhood where these martyrs had plucked their palms; and taking with it the body of Saint Guigner, crossed the sea, and came to settle, in the territory of the ancient Vénètes (Celtic tribe who gave the name to our capital city Vannes) in an almost deserted canton, and was distinguished from other similar bands, by taking the name of Plou de Guigner or parish of Guigner, from which came naturally, later, that of Pluvigner, given to the parish formed, by these emigrants.

The highlight of the town of Pluvigner, is the Church of Saint Guigner in city center, our main Church. There was a chapel next door called the Notre Dame des Oties b 1426, touches the parish church and communicates with her through the sacristy. It has the form of a Latin cross; The transepts are shallow and seem older than the rest of the monument. The choir is square; On each side, two arched arcades, now clogged, imply the primitive existence of two collateral. The square of the transept is separated from the nave by three arches, one large and two small, in warhead, worn on polygonal pillars. The windows are ogival, and the fire and tri lobed mullions. It is now ruins of arches left of the main Church of Saint Guigner. The Saint-Guigner parish church is a central element in the rich religious and cultural landscape of the town. The organ of the Church of Saint Guigner is a masterful work of 9 meters high and 15 meters wide made up of no less than 3,000 pipes!

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The parish church is dedicated to St Guigner whose relics are carried in procession. The Saint is accompanied by an angel wearing an ermine coat of arms. The lintel of the south door shows a group of Crucifixions, made up of Christ surrounded by the Virgin and Saint John. The St Guigner Church contains the relics of Saint Guigner and houses a statue of Saint Guigner. The painting entitled “Assumption”, dates from 1770. The painting “Donation of the Rosary”; dates from the very beginning of the 20C.

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Vast church dating from 1545, retouched in 1781 on the bell tower, and restored in 1883. On the north side remains a Gothic door with the usual accolade, and on the south side a lintel with door frame. The windows are pointed, but their mullions have disappeared. A modern porch, a rectangular opening whose lintel is relieved by corbelets, shelters the south door. The carved lintel represents Christ on the Cross between Saint John and the Virgin. At both ends there is an interlacing around a circle. On each side of the column it has capitals. The Church of Saint Guigner houses the statues of Saint-Guigner, Saint-Michel, Saint-Vincent Ferrier and Notre-Dame de Bon Secours.

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The tower and the bell tower which were built in 1781, were restored in the 19C. The frame and the sacristy cracked by lightning in 1841 were also restored at this time. In 1842, the construction of the transept arms gave the church its Latin cross shape.This church had stained glass windows from the 16C and it was done the same in the 19C. Some current elements come from the old window of the bedside: the oculus of the braces and the last windows of the nave shine with a vegetal carpet in shimmering colors borrowed from the main window of the church. The stained-glass windows of the 20C tell episodes from the lives of the holy figures honored by the parish with the apse bay presents a Crucifixion; in the choir, and reads the vocation of Saint Guenaël, and the preaching of Saint Goal; in the transept, the subject is the piety and charity of the penitent Kériolet; the nave presents the landing of Saint Guigner and his establishment at Moustoir.

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More in French or Breton in our city page of Pluvigner here : http://www.pluvigner.fr/eglise-paroissiale-saint-guigner/

And our city/town hall (Ti Kêr in breton) of Pluvigner in Breton language: http://www.pluvigner.fr/degemer-mat-e-pleuwigner/

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office only has it in French on Pluvignerhttps://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/pluvigner

So, there you go my main church in town. It has been renovated several times over the years and the townfolks have given money to do so, the last was the Organ for 320K euros with private funds! Just enjoy it as we have come to do in our newer little corner of our world. This is the Saint Guigner Church in Pluvigner, in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne, and my belle France!

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

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September 25, 2020

Auray and its transports!!

Well just by the town again and while looking of all the commotion by the train station decided to see if have anything on it in my blog. To my surprise, have pieces of it in several posts but never one on the train station alone!! And I took it several times !!! So therefore, here is finally my take on the gare or train station and other public transports in my nearby Auray.

As said, was back in my backyard as I live just 11 kms from this wonderful town. I love the area of Saint Goustan,(see posts) very historical and quaint river front area. However, I do not find info on transports in Auray, and this has been an oversight. OF course, this is in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne and in my belle France.

Needless, to say we come here by car most of the time, but the boys have come by bus and we have taken the train TER as well. Me have, also, taken the TGV into Paris Montparnasse from it.

The best parking is by place Keriolet, very close to city center and Athena by the municipal pool. However, the train station parking is good too and free, see below for things to come here.

For info, let me put this here; as there is a port at Saint Goustan or baisse ville or lower town of Auray. It has a port for pleasure boats, the Capitanerie is at 4 pl de Rolland , more in French here : https://www.passeportescales.com/fr/port-saint-goustan

There is a local mini bus service call the AurayBus, this have not taken only my boys have and it seems to be pretty good to move about. The agglo area Auray Quiberon has more on it here: http://www.auray-quiberon.fr/utile-au-quotidien/mes-deplacements/auray-bus-176.html

The bus company Keolis has the rights on the AurayBus and they have more here: https://keolis-atlantique.com/11-Horaires-et-itineraires-des-lignes-Auray-bus.html

The BreizhGo  (this is good too for all modes in all Brittany!) webpage in French for public transports on bus lines here: https://www.breizhgo.bzh/itineraires-et-horaires/horaires-arret

The city of Auray has a good train station with direct service to Paris Montparnasse on TGV in 3h30 but see below, and bus connection to nearby towns, an Avis rental car counter ,and 3 taxi companies. I have used several times this train station and parking as it is the closest to my house when need to go out on business trips.  From the train station to Saint Goustan is about 20 mins walking leasurely.

auray

It also has bus service  BreizhGo with lines 1,5,6,and 18 (my boys used the 5)  that allows you to connect with nearby cities such as Vannes.  it has service where I have it, e-billet for electronic ticket and also home delivery that we use too. The line to Paris actually goes from Quimper and Brest and it can go to Lille or Roissy CDG or Disneyland (taken them too ok). Then, you have the local TER lines for nearby local train service, which I have ,also taken to Rennes, Nantes and Le Mans. The gare or train station is about 1,500 meters from the city center of Auray, and was inaugurated and put into service on September 21, 1862. The train station has a passenger building open every day, with counters, open Monday to Saturday (closed Sundays & public holidays). It is equipped with automatic machines for the purchase of transport tickets. It is an “Accès Plus” station with facilities, equipment and services for people with reduced mobility. A buffet is installed at the station. A parking for bicycles and a car parking are set up around it.

There is a quant line from Auray to Gare de Quiberon all the way of the peninsula that only runs in Summers, if you take a train ride in this region, this one I would recommend next Summer, the Tire-Bouchon line or corkscrew line! More info in French: https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/loisirs/lignes-touristiques/tire-bouchon

The SNCF train station TGV info for Aurayhttps://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frxuy/auray/transports-horaires

The TER Bretagne info on the local train service for Auray is here: https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/gares/87476200/Auray/pratique

A bit of history I like

Auray train station or gare d’Auray is located in the district of la Gare of the city of Auray. It was commissioned in 1862 by the Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans. It now as all belongs to the National Company of French Railways (SNCF), served by TGV mainly in connection with Paris and Quimper, regional TER Bretagne trains and in season by the Tire-bouchon summer train to Quiberon.

Following the “Bretagne à Grande Vitesse” project,(High Speed Brittany) Auray train station will only be 2h40 from Paris in a few months and should receive nearly 1.4M passengers per year by 2030. Increase the reception capacity, create a forecourt, a footbridge, parking lots, create a new passenger building, but also increase the capacity of the bus station.

auray

The project consists of a new glazed passenger building, with modern and functional architecture that will blend harmoniously into the landscape. It will take the place of the “Train-Auto-Couchettes” (TAC) building (auto train now closed). The current building will be preserved because of its historical and heritage value (great!!). Two large ventilated squares will be created to the north of the railway line and to the south, opening onto Place Raoul Dautry and the La Gare district.  This transparent building will consist of a ground floor and a mezzanine. On the ground floor, a crossing hall will give access to the platforms from the forecourt. It will provide very good visibility of the arrivals and departures of the various modes of transport. Its structure will also offer a good reading of all the services. The covered exterior staircase leading to the walkway will serve the middle level of the building.

This footbridge, located 7 meters above the ground, will ultimately offer a viewpoint over the Chartreuse ( see post) area and will link, like a symbol, the towns of Auray and Brec’h. It thus creates new access to the station from the north of the territory, shortens distances and facilitates transfers between the various transport systems. This footbridge will be 100 meters long and its construction principle is based on metal beams (which will also serve as a guardrail) and a wooden interior cladding.  The parking offer is being studied for better organization, with the objective of alleviating the current lack of parking spaces, (its getting crowded since I started parking here in 2011!) freeing the streets from suction cups, offering spaces according to the duration of parking, and arranging reserved spaces for people with reduced mobility, TER subscribers, taxis, minute stops, bicycles, etc. Thus, the project envisages in the south and north the development of drop-offs, parking for two-wheelers, short and long-term parking.

The project includes the construction of an interurban bus station with 8 platforms for BreizhGo (ex TIM) and TER coaches in the south, close to the passenger building and connections to the AurayBus network. The northern access will also be equipped with spaces dedicated to public transport. A car-pooling area is planned, as well as sites with recharging stations for electric vehicles in the north and in the south.

The agglo area of Auray Quiberon more on the Auray train station project in French, looking good! here: http://www.gare-auray-quiberon.fr/le-projet-d-amenagement/le-projet-875.html

Some additional webpages me think helps post here for future planning to this marvelous area ,this from the Auray Quiberon agglo area tourist office contact: http://www.auray-quiberon.fr/envie-de-bouger/les-offices-de-tourisme-261.html

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Aurayhttps://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/auray

And now feel better, you have what it takes to come to Auray and enjoy the Morbihan coastal areas into the Gulf of Morbihan Unesco World Heritage Site! Oh yes Auray is easy on the road even from Paris along the A13 Autoroute de Normandie with tolls or the N12 from the connection with the A12 direction Dreux no tolls! into by Fougéres the A84 direction Rennes and then the N166 direction Vannes, and finally the N165 direction Lorient getting off at exit/sortie 31. Hope it helps and do enjoy Auray!!!

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

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September 24, 2020

Wines news of France VII !!

And as the big moment comes, let me tell you about some wine news of France again. The big moment is ongoing in several places, and even with the virus we go for it. This is the popular wine fairs or foire aux vins!!! Get ready,go!!

I have gotten in the bandwagon early and now follow religiously. Of course, if you read my blog I am a wine aficionado and diplomé of France and Spain. Let me tell you about this year event briefly ok.

Some of the nice merchants who does this better, me think ; my favorites.

Welcome to your Nicolas wine merchant in Vannes! At 7 place du Poids Public (my direct). The Nicolas cellar network was created in 1822 and today has 558 stores in eight countries. Nicolas promises this year a wine fair catalog 2020 renewed at 70%, with 61 references in promotion: 39 red wines, 18 white wines and 4 rosé wines. The brand is clearly focusing on accessible wines by offering half of its 2020 wine fair (foire aux vins) catalog for less than 10 euros after reduction. Nicolas relies on sound values by offering wines of prestigious appellations, particularly in Burgundy (Pernand Vergelesses 1er cru, Chablis …) and Bordeaux (Saint-Julien, Margaux …). Note the presence of the Château Rauzan Gassies and the Domaine Faiveley. There is more plurality in the less expensive wines, with wines from Alsace, the South-West and the Loire in particular.Last until October 13 2020. More info here: https://www.nicolas.com/fr/Notre-selection/Foire-aux-vins/c/1129/

Well hypermarket side, my fav since moving to Brittany in 2011 has been E Leclerc. The E Leclerc, hyper/super markets were the inventor of wine fairs (foire aux vins), and now they give priority to cuvées between 5-7€ , which are easy to drink. They have backlit the aisles with colors: orange-pink for the rosé, green for the whites and garnet for the reds. They have installed wine tasting macaroons in around 100 stores so far to guide consumers in their choices. All year round and during the autumn fair of course since wine is the star of the store at this time. The national selection comprises 200 wines and the regional one, 450. They highlight wines of immediate pleasure, with drinkability, very little woody, not too sunny, easy to drink, good value for money. This does not prevent   them from presenting many new products for lovers of discovery. Starts September 29 to October 10, 2020. More info on their webpage here:https://www.e-leclerc.com/catalogue/evenements/foire-aux-vins-2020

And as I really started all this since living in Versailles and working in Paris got me to some fancy places between all ,these stand out. Lavinia, my store by Place de la Madeleine.

The wine merchant Lavinia offers for the 2020 wine fairs (foire aux vins) a selection of 150 cuvées from 10 French wine regions. Be careful, however, only 70 wines are available in all Lavinia points of sale. Lavinia relies heavily on organic, biodynamic and / or “natural” wines, which make up 55% of the catalog! The prices are correct, since more than half of their catalog contains cuvées for less than 20 euros. Most cuvées are offered between -10% and -20% of their initial price, but the prices are broken on some references. Until September 29 2020. More info here: https://www.lavinia.fr/fr/pages/foire-aux-vins

And another in my fav area for walks in Paris, the 16éme arrondissement and  La Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché, that of Passy and the website, has selected 210 references, each more tempting than the last for La Rentrée des vins. It emphasizes affordability and the taste of everyday wines. For twenty-one years, they have been organizing tastings to promote areas in which they believe. Their aim is to get the customer to understand the choices. The event ends October 15 2020 . More info on their webpage here: https://www.lagrandeepicerie.com/fr/en-ce-moment/la-rentree-des-vins/

Some advice that many give including my own assessment in order to avoid traps during Wine Fairs (Foire aux Vins).

The first is temptation. Let yourself be influenced. The brand that offers its favorite has often its interests to sell the stocks of such property. I doubt counselors volunteer. On the other hand, credibility is more justified when it comes to wine guides, that I read and follow too ,such as Hachette, Bettane and Desseauve, or reviews such as the Revue du Vin de France to name a few.

The temptation to trust the prices ! Medals rarely provide a guarantee. The wines presented are far from being the most remarkable of the appellations, and often come from large productions. That of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is in my view the only credible one. Why? Because only tasting professionals are authorized to participate, the wines that come out often offer real interest in terms of character, and definition.

Be careful of too low prices. These wines are, as it were, from unknown appellations. These are the low prices, less than 5 euros. Distrust, these are rarely good deals. Often wines from merchants, or branded wines, they have stocks to sell.  But; also at too high prices.   Very great wines, such as Petrus, Yquem, la Turque, Margaux, Latour, Ausone, Rayas, and so many others certainly do not need to be found on the shelves of wine fairs. to propose them in order to enhance their offer. For fun, and for glory. Because, do not dream, you will certainly not do good business with these wines. Simply, they are selling for a high price, across the world.

To make sure you don’t miss them, don’t hesitate to go to the opening evenings of the wine fairs. And further, aim for the mid-range: this is where the possible “deals” exist. In Bordeaux, the Crus Bourgeois, as well as certain other less famous classified Grands Crus remain “almost” sure values, although often devoid of character. Or, too consensual, at a price level that remains quite high. Focus primarily on very young vintages. You will have more guarantees on the quality of conservation, than old vintages, for which we do not know how or for how long they were stored. Unless , you like to collect them which never did I like to drink them!!

And some ideas on recent vintages as a general guide always.

The 2011 vintage was complicated to manage for the winegrowers. A summer spring, a very average summer, difficult conditions that despite everything allowed, paradoxically to the ‘cold’ soils, to have good maturities, with the winegrowers who will have done the sorting work throughout the summer. The hot soils have had more difficulty; nevertheless here again, the serious, diligent winegrowers have managed to bring in fine juices. An atypical vintage, but charming…

The 2012 vintage will certainly offer a little more structure compared to 2011, but there again, a certain heterogeneity. In places, the Merlot has reached good maturity. The most careful winegrowers will stand out, sorting work was necessary. Not a vintage for great aging, but it will bring the advantage of being able to prove to be quite easy and readable in the years to come.

The 2013 vintage remains complicated, with maturities often difficult to achieve, making them approachable wines after a few years of aging, the frameworks are not always generous.

The 2014 vintage offers a certain heterogeneity, but some wines turn out to be pretty, denser than the previous vintage, we will have to look for the few nuggets.

The 2015 vintage is more generous, complete, and above all more homogeneous. This is undoubtedly possible a vintage to cellar, even if in some appellations the temptation will be great to drink them young, on their fruit. Very nice vintage ,the one that will undoubtedly be favored, as far as possible.

The 2016, very good promises to keep, but it is a little too early to say … but something tells me that it will be a vintage in line with the remarkable 2010!

The 2017 is a successful vintage overall, sometimes extremely brilliant among some of the most serious winegrowers. A beautiful triptych 2015 – 2016 and 2017, definitely!

The 2018 is very good vintage. Indeed, this year benefited from a wet spring and a very beautiful summer . The harvest were therefore, both quantitative and qualitative.

And the, 2019  an excellent vintage. This is the result of favorable weather conditions, a dry summer, rather cool nights and some rains in early September. Generally speaking, it left on time and arrived the same. Many have imagined that with the very sunny periods that we have experienced, this vintage would be closer to 2003 or 2009, warm, generous.

There you go folks, you are well arm with the basic but good advice from yours truly. This is fun, tasting is allow and do try them all! spitting for tasting not drinking, to hold the day!! Its fun, already did mine on another store, Carrefour. Will go to E Leclerc and Nicolas next!! En Vino Veritas!

Drink in moderation, but drink, its good for you I say it here ::) And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 24, 2020

Loudéac and memories !!!

Ok so do not know how to call this post, so excuse my creativity ! As told you been to Loudéac several times even with the family but mostly on business. The memories are pleasant and good times by all.

I like to do a recap of what is Loudéac and my lodging/eating experience here for my souvenirs, memories of always. Hope you enjoy the post!

Briefly, Loudéac is a town in central Brittany inland away from the coast and part of the department 22 of Côtes d’Armor . It is about an hour’s drive from my house.

I came here first on a business roundtable with folks from the area and we used the hotel restaurant Les Voyageurs as the meeting spot. Funny things, the crew of invitées were divided in two cars, one with only women and the other with only men. Well, the mens’s car had GPS and the women did not. So guess what, we got to the place first ,and needed to go back and guide them in. All was fun…. Thereafter, the trips were direct and easy as this time.

The Hotel Restaurant Les Voyageurs is at 10 Rue de Cadélac,in city center Loudéac. If you come to pass through Central Bretagne, stop at Loudéac. There you will find the Les Voyageurs hotel restaurant, where you are welcomed in a most elegant room. Sitting on comfortable seats, in front of impeccably set tables, the menu reveals traditional cuisine that happily mixes products from the land and the sea. Nice underground parking too! And great ambiance indeed. The hotel restaurant is part of the fine chain Britt Hotels which I have used others elsewhere in Bretagne and always great stays; recommended.

The official Les Voyageurs Hotel Restaurant in English: https://hotel-loudeac.brithotel.com/

loudeac hotel les voyageurs arriving sep20

loudeac hotel les voyageurs front sep20

loudeac hotel les voyageurs parking underground sep20

loudeac hotel les voyageurs lobby sep20

Then, let me give some anecdotes, stories, things in history that have impacted this town over the centuries.

Loudéac’s first horse races take place at the Calouët racecourse in 1880. The first Loudeacian (local) horse festival is celebrated in 1936. The first Maison Médicale de France (or medical cabinet) was created in Loudéac in 1954. A piece of Catholic patronage, called “The Passion”, is written 1913 and is performed for the first time in 1914 at Loudéac. This is a theatrical show in the pure style of popular theater of the Middle Ages, the ‘Passion of Loudéac’ represents the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, from the entry into Jerusalem until the resurrection. Performed by a troop of 250 volunteers (actors, stagehands, dressers, make-up artists, reception ,etc), the Passion is performed every year as Easter approaches. See it hopefully in 2021. More info in French here: http://: http://www.passionbretagne.com/index_m.html

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the territory which would become Loudéac and its surroundings was used as a hunting ground in the forest of Brocéliande. It was not until the mid-11C that the founding of Loudéac as a town was fully recognized. This city, which was long in the hands of the Dukes of Rohan, was renowned for its fairs and markets.

Loudéac was the cradle of an important industry, imported by artisans from Flanders in 1567: the art of weavers with the advent of linen. Soon Breton canvases could compete with those of the best craftsmen in Flanders and set off to conquer the markets of Europe. The “canvases of Brittany” were exported to India, Portugal and above all to Spain.

In 1591, the leaguers of Jean d´Avaugour tried to take the Château de Loudéac, but failed. This battle is called the Battle of the Three Crosses and sees the victory of Jean V de Coëtquen, a supporter of the King of France. A 20C monument still commemorates this battle at the crossroads of Anatole Le Bratz and Docteur Robin streets.

At the start of the French revolution, Loudéac had 5,000 communicants and ten priests for the parish. At the beginning of the anticlerical persecution, many priests went into exile to escape death. The inhabitants of Loudéac hid others. On August 25, 1802, the Duke of Rohan was forced to cede the Château de Loudéac to Louis Henri Janzé. Some time later, on the night of September 19 to 20, 1802, the Château de Loudéac was destroyed by fire.

Almost 600,000 Bretons were incorporated for WWI, mainly in the army but also in the navy. Of these soldiers, approximately 140,000 lost their lives during this conflict. This rate of approximately 22% is higher than the French average ,between 16 and 17%.

On July 4, 1944, a few weeks before liberation, Loudéac witnessed a tragedy that still marks people’s minds today. In memory of the seven resistance fighters killed that day, a granite ordeal has been created since August 1945 at a place called “La Porcherie”, the scene of the crime. The Nazis forces left around 12h30, leaving behind the bodies of the seven resistance fighters.

With 62% of its territory occupied by agriculture, Brittany is now the leading French agricultural region and continues to develop the agri-food sector. Loudéac, due to its advantageous geographical location at the crossroads of several highways, has taken advantage of this expansion and today has the first industrial area of Côtes d’Armor in terms of surface area. This also earned it the reputation of the capital of Central Brittany. This is the front and back of their mairie or city/town hall

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The city of Loudéac on its history and heritage: https://www.ville-loudeac.fr/listes/histoire-et-patrimoine/

So, there you now know another small town of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. Loudéac is very active, and with a very nice city center, full of traditions of old still kept alive, and good foodies! we love! Again, hope you have enjoy the post and thanks for reading me over this last 10 years.

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

September 24, 2020

Loudéac and its church!!!

And yes staying in this city north of me about an hour from home; already visited, done post by in October 21 2018 on the nice Saint Nicolas Church, which this is an update on text and new photos.

Loudéac is located in the Côtes-d’Armor department, 22 in the region of Bretagne. Loudéac has a name in Gallo, the local language: Loudia. It is located 20 km from Pontivy, 37 km from Saint-Brieuc, 58 km from Vannes, 80 km from Rennes and 383 km from Paris. The road axis is very good with the east west N164 road and the south north D700  Saint-Brieuc-Vannes; my way. There is no train station but SNCF buses take care of you to Saint-Brieuc, Rennes, Pontivy, Lorient and Vannes.

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The Saint Nicolas Church its main body were built between 1758 and 1762 with stones from the ruins of the castle of La Chèze (see post). The bell tower having already been built between 1733 and 1746. The Saint-Nicolas Church was completed in 1765, and blessed on September 24, 1758. The bell tower dates from 1743-1746 and the nave dates from 1758-1762. The choir dates from the 18-19C. The organs date from 1854. Its high canopy altar in carved wood and Carrara marble was done 1771. The hosannière cross, in wrought iron dates from the beginning of the 19C. The statues of Saint Maurice and Saint Nicolas, in marble, date from 1775. In the south altarpiece, the statue of the Virgin and Child, in polychrome wood, dates from the 14C.

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The interior of the Saint Nicolas Church is marked with rich ornamentation which can be attributed to the Renaissance style. However, this style does not continue on the exterior, which is remarkably understated. Also noteworthy is the church tower with three stories high, it is crowned with a dome, not a steeple.

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Funeral service was going on so did not took inside photos…..RIP

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There are also many artistic works inside the Saint Nicolas Church, such as marble statues or a remarkable choir with canopy. The construction of this carved wood and marble choir took 15 years of work and lasted from 1763 to 1778. The statues represent different saints, including Saint Maurice and Saint Yves. There is also the list of 245 young local Loudeacians killed during WWI or Great War, placed on the left wall.

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You can see above photo, there was a Celtic dancers practicing on the square next to the church!

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Also outside the Saint Nicolas Church is the Hosanna Cross, so called because the Hosanna psalms were sung there at Easter time. This wrought iron cross dates from 1817. Visible both from the outside and from the inside of the church, the stained glass windows are part of the charm of the church. They were made in the 19C and represent gifts made by locals in recognition of the favors received by the various saints.

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A bit on the Saint name for the church. Saint Nicolas was born in Patara, a region of Lycia in south-western Asia Minor in the 3C. On a voyage to Egypt and Palestine, he saves his ship’s crew from drowning by calming the raging seas in a storm. On his return from this trip, he became bishop of Myra. According to witnesses of the time, Saint Nicolas resuscitated three children. Lost in the night, the children find refuge with a butcher. This one kills them and puts them in the salting tub. Seven years later, Saint Nicholas also found refuge with this man and gave life to the three children. Thanks to this miracle, he becomes the protector of the children. Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 and was buried in Myre. Today, the feast of Saint Nicolas (St Nikolas) is celebrated on the day of his death, especially in eastern France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. During this feast, Saint Nicolas visits the children and rewards their good behavior by offering them sweets and oranges.

The city of Loudéac on the Saint Nicolas Churchhttps://www.ville-loudeac.fr/leglise-de-saint-nicolas/

The tourist office of Central Brittany on the Church Saint Nicolashttp://www.centrebretagne.com/office-de-tourisme/decouvrir/patrimoine/un-chapelet-dedifices-religieux/eglise-st-nicolas-a-loudeac.html

And there you go folks a memorable church more on my next post, as said been here way back! Loudéac is one of those off the beaten path towns that are worth the detour even if only or best reach it by car. The Saint Nicolas Church is nice too, but could not get inside this time because a funeral service was going on. Hope you enjoy the post.

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

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September 23, 2020

Loudéac and a chapel!!!

Yes, continuing my road warrior trips I come back to a familiar place. Have been here first on a business get together with collègues from work and then took the family over. Its been a while and I am glad back to Loudéac.

Loudéac is located in the Côtes-d’Armor department, 22 in the region of Bretagne. Loudéac has a name in Gallo, the local language: Loudia. It is located 20 km from Pontivy, 37 km from Saint-Brieuc, 58 km from Vannes, 80 km from Rennes and 383 km from Paris. It is about an hour from my house. The road axis is very good with the east west N164 road and the south north D700  Saint-Brieuc-Vannes; my way. There is no train station but SNCF buses take care of you to Saint-Brieuc, Rennes, Pontivy, Lorient and Vannes.  The city of Loudéac was from 1801 to 1926 the capital of the district of Loudéac  in the former Côtes-du-Nord. Since that date, it has been part of the district of Saint-Brieuc.

I have written couple of posts on the main things to see here and now came back with newer text and photos. Last time wrote on the wonderful Chapelle Notre Dame des Vertus was in July 13 2020 with interior photos; this time it was closed.

Loudéac seems to be mentioned for the first time in the Redon cartulary in 1075, during a donation from Viscount Josselin de Porhoët in favor of the abbey. Loudéac is cited in the charters of the abbey of Lantenac from its foundation in 1149. Loudéac has the title of parish since 1263. The lands of Loudéac belong to the Rohan family from the 14C. The land of Loudéac is then unified by forming a member of the Duchy of Rohan, peerage of France, erected in April 1603. Raised in town in 1790, the parish of Loudéac loses the territories of Grâce-Uzel, La Motte, Saint-Barnabé and Saint-Hervé. It was increased in 1792 by the territory of the former parish of Cadélac which was once a primitive parish and which originally included the territories of Loudéac, Saint-Maudan, Trévé, Saint-Thélo and Uzel.

The Notre-Dame des Vertus Chapel b1880 , includes a rectangular nave terminated by a polygonal apse. On each side, a small low chapel in the form of a wing and itself bears a small apse. From 1740 the cemetery was established around the chapel at Place Notre-Dame des Vertus. Indeed, the last burial in the church dates back to 1737, after a first judgment by the Parliament of Brittany on August 16, 1719, banning them inside religious buildings. The cemetery was moved in 1804. On August 11, 1878, the town ceded a strip of land for free. The chapel was rebuilt in 1880. It was not until March 1885 that the new chapel was opened.

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The first restoration that took place dates from 1949. It concerns the stained glass windows destroyed in 1944 as well as the interior of the chapel. In 1945, the bells were overhauled and the Belfry was electrified. Recently, a new tabernacle was installed thanks to the subscription of the parishioners. The Notre-Dame des Vertus chapel was the old gathering place for “good sisters trottines” or “good sisters in the open air” wearing a particular headdress. Tertiaries of various orders, they took vows of poverty and chastity, gave religious instruction, rendered many services to families, and exemplified perfect Morality. The forgiveness of Our Lady of the Virtues, was the Assembly of Loudéac. During Pardon, the statue of the Virgin was carried in procession in peasant costume. Forgiveness took place on the second Sunday of May at least until 1954. This procession was moved to May 31, after dark, among the illuminated houses, before disappearing.

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The city of Loudéac on the Chapel Notre Dame des Vertus of which most of the above have been translated : https://www.ville-loudeac.fr/la-chapelle-notre-dame-des-vertus/

The tourist office of Central Brittany on Loudéac in French: http://www.centrebretagne.com/office-de-tourisme/decouvrir/cap-sur-kalon-breizh-coeur-de-bretagne.html

I let you browse the previous post for photos of the interior, the post today from the exterior as the chapel was ongoing a private service so decided not to take photos. Hope you enjoy the Chapelle Notre Dame des Vertus at Loudéac!

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

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September 23, 2020

La Trinité Porhoët and a church!!!

And I continue telling you about this nice town, a surprise on my first visit and only an hour from my house by car! There is so much to see, and wonderful architecture and history I like. So let me tell you about the must see in La Trinité Porhoët ,its abbey church!!!

La Trinité-Porhoët is located in my Morbihan department no. 56, in the region of Bretagne. The Trinity of the Holy Trinity representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Villa de Trinitate was known from 1251 recalls that this place can be linked to the existence of a Gallo-Roman villa. It is 52 kms from Vannes, and 16 km from Josselin. About an hour from my house!

The Church Abbey de la Trinité or of the Trinity is an imposing monument here the moment you arrive into town. It would have belonged to the order of the Templars. In the 11C, with the foundation of a priory by the monks of Saint-Jacut, the inhabitants of La Trinité-Porhoët deserted the parish church of Saint-Judicaël for that of La Trinité.

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This vast building is built on a steep drop: the climb to the choir is remarkable. The church, priory and parish, includes a nave of seven bays, accompanied by aisles, a transept and a choir terminated by a rectilinear wall. The north aisle, in Romanesque style, consists of six semicircular arcades. The south aisle is formed by ogival arches surmounted by four bays. The nave, dated to the 11-12-13C, was modified in the 15C. The north aisle of the nave, and the large semicircular arches supported on polygonal or cylindrical pillars which communicate with it, and part of the wall of the south aisle, date from the 12C. In the 13C, a portal was opened on the north aisle where the pointed arch adjoins the semicircular arch. In the 15C, on this same north aisle, a chapel was built preceded by a Gothic porch, vaulted with ribs. In the 15C, the arcades of the south aisle and those of the square of the transept were redone in a third point, with a double roller, as well as the columns with capitals decorated with foliage, engaged in the cylindrical pillars which support them. The eastern parts, the choir, the braces and the bell tower on the square of the transept, were redone from 1742 to 1787.

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The Church Abbey of the Trinity is covered with a framework, the northern end of which is carved with florets, foliage and angels bearing the instruments of the Passion. A 1495 bell, bearing the Rohan family’s arms, bears the names of the founders, Raoul and Robert Guilbert and their companion J. Hurel. The western portal and the granite baptistery date from the 13C. Four sculpted heads decorate the angles of the baptistery. In 1870, there were still fourteen small altars in the church, often served by seven or eight priests attached to the parish of La Trinité-Porhoët. Today, only four altars remain. According to local tradition, Mme de Sévigné would have offered an altar to the Church Abbey of La Trinité. The tree of Jesse, decorated at its base with the shields of the families of Rohan and Porhoët, traces the descendants of Jesus. He is represented on an altarpiece dating from 1675: in the center of this altarpiece stands a statue of the Holy Trinity surrounded by statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The altar of the Rosary dates from the 17C. The altar of the Holy Spirit has paintings embedded in a woodwork and representing Saint Judicaël, Saint Fiacre and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.

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There is a recumbent Christ, life-size and in polychrome wood, from the 16C and a Virgin from the 16C. In the sacristy, there is a fairly beautiful chalice in gilded silver, embossed and engraved, adorned with enamels dating from the 16C. This place of worship was built to accommodate pilgrims who come since the 7C to honor the forgiveness of the Holy Trinity. On each of the pillars of these aisles were once painted the Coëtlogon coat of arms (only one coat of arms remains of the Coëtlogon coat of arms). The most remarkable part of the church is its western portal. The statue of the Holy Trinity, dates from 1889. The painting representing the Rosary dates from 1852.

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The city of La Trinité Porhoët on the Church Abbey of the Trinityhttp://www.la-trinite-porhoet.bzh/tourisme/site-phare

The area tourist office of Broceliande on the Church Abbey of the Trinityhttps://www.broceliande-vacances.com/offres/eglise-abbatiale-de-la-trinite-porhoet-la-trinite-porhoet-fr-2279521/

This is a monumental church right in the city center of La Trinité Porhoët and worthy of visiting if its the only thing you come here for. We love it and will need to return for more. I was lucky it was open because of the European Heritage Days! The Church Abbey of the Trinity is wonderful indeed. Hope you enjoy the post as we do

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

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September 22, 2020

La Trinité Porhoët and a chapel!

And here I am still on my road warrior trips of my lovely Bretagne and going to in land places never before seen as if there is plenty to see here, will take me more than my lifetime! I come to La Trinité-Porhoët!

La Trinité-Porhoët is located in my Morbihan department no. 56, in the region of Bretagne. The Trinity of the Holy Trinity representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Villa de Trinitate was known from 1251 recalls that this place can be linked to the existence of a Gallo-Roman villa. It is 52 kms from Vannes, and 16 km from Josselin. About an hour from my house!

La Trinité-Porhoët takes its name from the priory dedicated to the Holy Trinity and the lordship of Porhoët. “Por oët” is, it seems, a contraction of the Celtic “Poutre-Coët” or country beyond the woods. Porhoët can also come from the Celtic words “Porh” or courtyard,in a castle and “Coët” or wood, forest. The land of Porhoët was first part of the domain of the kings of Brittany, who owned it until 874. On the death of King Solomon, this domain was shared, and the land of Porhoët was included in the county of Rennes until   the end of the 10C, when it appears to have been dismembered. In 1241, during the second division of the goods of the house of Porhoët, the city was baptized “La Villa de Trinitate“. In 1603, La Trinité-Porhoët became one of the seats of the Duchy of the Rohan family. La Trinité-Porhoët was established as a town and the capital of the canton in 1790.

The Chapelle Saint Yves dates from the 15C, built by the Lords of Cambout the chapel is dedicated to Saint Yves, defender of the poor and orphans and who became the patron saint of lawyers. As early as 1581, the inhabitants decided to make major repairs to part of the chapel. However, due to lack of funds, the stained glass window at the back of the altar was not replaced and the opening was walled up. In his will in 1719, Vicar Yves Lusse asked that part of his inheritance be used to feed the sick and the needy. The other part of his inheritance is to be used to install a hospital in the chapel. this chapel served as a hospice until the French revolution. To see inside if open as only on heritage days or special ceremonies, you see its pretty frame in the shape of an overturned boat hull. Following the stairs behind the chapel, the town pond or lake appears, a magnificent site of more than 3 ha. A true haven of peace for fishermen and hikers, but also for mallards, moorhens, etc to see. Pristine beauty deep in the woods of La Trinité-Porhoët.

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We came in and parked easily free by Place du Martray. This is a nice architecture and historical spot we like. At the top of the Place du Martray, in front of the houses, stood a covered market on the high sidewalks, while opposite, in place of the current city/town hall or Mairie, were the covered markets. These existed until 1898.  Several half-timbered houses date from the 16C. One of them, destroyed today, would have belonged to the Marquise Madame de Sévigné. She would have inherited this house, following her marriage to Henri de Sévigné.

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The city of La Trinité-Porhoët on the chapelle and the mairie! in French: http://www.la-trinite-porhoet.bzh/tourisme/sites-touristiques

I was pleasantly surprise by this small town as it was our first time here! Yes and you can see only one hour from my house, the choices are endless in my beautiful Morbihan alone! Hope you have enjoy this off the beaten path trip to La Trinité-Porhoët, and there is more.

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

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September 22, 2020

Little Plumieux!

Often the case in my road warrior trips into the deep woods of my France I come upon a village that is quant picturesque and pretty even if not much to see. I was driving along on the lonely road D66 and came upon Plumieux!

Let me tell you a bit about this small village of my lovely Bretagne.

Plumieux is a village in the Côtes-d’Armor department 22, in my region of Bretagne. It is located to the south of the department  bordering on mine, Morbihan 56. It has a grand total of 1015 inhabitants!!!

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Plumieux is a former primitive parish which formerly included in addition to the current territory of Plumieux, those of Le Cambout, Coëtlogon, La Chèze, La Ferrière and Saint-Etienne du Gué de l’Isle. The old parish of Plumieux gave birth later to several towns of the Côtes d’Armor such as Plumieux  itself from the Middle Ages, La Chèze and La Ferrière ,before the 14C, Saint-Etienne du Gué de l’Isle in 1526 and again in 1829 , le Cambout in 1866 and Coëtlogon in 1870.

One famous personage who lived here and the town is proud of it was Marcel Carné, the famous filmmaker. He lived in Plumieux at the start of the 20C.  Born in Paris in 1906 and died in Clamart in 1996 at the age of 90, having left behind some of the most illustrious films of French cinema. He rests in the Saint-Vincent cemetery in the 18éme arrondissement of Paris, at the foot of the Butte Montmartre.

Marcel lived in Plumieux, that is to say a little before WWI or the Great War when at the time he was  5 years old. He becomes assistant for the production of Richard Oswald in the film “Cagliostro” 1929, of René Clair in the film “Under the roofs of Paris” (1930), of Jacques Feyder for “Le Grand Jeu” (1934), “Pension Mimosas “(1935) and” The Heroic Fair “(1935). In 1936, thanks to the help of Feyder, he succeeded in directing his first film, Jenny; Le Quai des brumes ”, shot in 1938, won a great success. The successes then followed:“ Hôtel du Nord ”in 1938, “The day rises” in 1939, “the Evening Visitors” in 1942, “The Children of Paradise”, etc.

And of course, it caught my attention passing by and plenty of parking in front of it, so therefore, here is a bit on the Church of Saint Pierre.

The Chapel of Saint-Etienne, in the parish of Plumieux, was erected as a parish church by bull of February 4, 1526.  The Saint-Pierre Church came much later in 1873.  The church was built in the shape of a Latin cross comprising an exterior bell tower with a gallery, a nave with low sides of four bays, a transept and a choir. The execution of its construction was delayed; but, the bedside of the old church becoming a public danger, required in 1872, to draw up a new project proportionate to the population of the parish which had, in the meantime, been amputated from Sainte-Anne du Cambout in 1860 and Coëtlogon in 1870. The blessing of the first stone took place on November 9, 1873. Only the bedside was to be built; but they pushed the construction to the first pile of the nave; then the nave was built, leaving fixing stones for the tower. This was only built in 1912, and blessed on May 21, 1914. Old stones from the priory of Saint-Léau and rubble from Bréhand-Loudéac. An episcopal escutcheon of 1873 adorns the pediment of the church. The church houses a statue of Blessed Grignon de Montfort, Saint Remy or Remi 16C and a statue of the Virgin and Child 18C.

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There is the Bretagne Centre tourist board base in Loudéac but no mention of Plumieux... the webpage in French is here: http://www.centrebretagne.com/office-de-tourisme/cote-pratique/horaires-douverture-adresses-de-loffice-de-tourisme.html

For info and direction, the mayor’s office or Mairie is at  9 Rue du Porhoët 22210 Plumieux.

As we were passing by the St Peter’s Church was closed but anyway it was a nice church to see for its architecture and a great rest stop in a pretty village in way inland Bretagne!  Oh yes there is no webpage for the mayor’s office ,this is a village lol! Hope you enjoy the off the beaten path post on Plumieux.

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

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