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Josselin in Brittany

Monday, September 26, 2016


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Exchanged a couple e-mails in fractured French about our burnt-out light bulb trying to set a time to meet our landlord, and we may have settled on tomorrow morning. At any rate, we left for Josselin after setting Ploermel as a way point to avoid the highway to Vannes. It worked and as we approached Ploermel, I deleted the way point so we wouldn’t have to drive through town. We did run into the market at Herbignac and traffic was a nightmare but we were soon through it. Discovered La Roch Bernard is really cute so may return.

*****

Château at Josselin on the Nantes à Brest Canal

Château at Josselin on the Nantes à Brest Canal


Arrived in Josselin and immediately found parking at the foot of the château on the Brest-Nantes canal. We parked and walked past the huge château and across the bridge to see if the hotel-restaurant on the canal was open on a Monday, It was. Hooray!

*****

Lunch in Josselin on the Canal

Lunch in Josselin on the Canal


We entered the restaurant as they opened and got a window seat looking across the canal at the imposing castle. The very inexpensive menu du jour wasn’t appealing to either of us so we both got the 22 euro three-course menu. I started with a fois gras paté accompanied by a cold ratatouille, sliced cucumbers and a tomato salad . . . perfect. Ed started with smoked haddock and a salad. He got the cod for a main and I had the steak, both very tasty and we couldn’t resist the dark chocolate mouse for dessert. Delicious meal, well served in beautiful surroundings. You look across the canal at the very imposing château and watch boats float past the window. [Hotel-Restaurant du Château; 7 rue de General de Gaulle 56120 Josselin; tel: +33 (0)2 9722-2011; Fax: +33 (0)2 9722-3409; e-mail: contact@hotel-chateau.com; Hotel-Restaurant du Château web site]

*****

Walk up to the Château at Josselin

Walk up to the Château at Josselin

We then walked over to the castle but had missed the obligatory 2:15 tour so signed up for 3:15 and walked up into the town for some sightseeing. It’s a really picturesque town and the church of Notre Dame has gorgeous stained glass windows and the tombs of Clisson and his Lady Marguerite that are marble marvels. The town is filled with half-timbered buildings with lots of restaurants and cafes and plenty of tourist shops along with the normal city shops. There are little statues on window sills and carvings on many buildings and lots of flowers and bright colors.

Château at Josselin

Château at Josselin

Place Notre Dame in Josselin

Place Notre Dame in Josselin

Basilique Notre Dame du Roncier in Josselin

Basilique Notre Dame du Roncier in Josselin

Tomb of Olivier de Clisson and his wife Marguerite de Rohan

Tomb of Olivier de Clisson and his wife Marguerite de Rohan

Flowers on a balcony in Josselin

Flowers on a balcony in Josselin

Le Alzey, carvings on a bar on rue Olivier de Clisson

Le Alzey, carvings on a bar on rue Olivier de Clisson

*****

Château Josselin

Château Josselin

Three fifteen was approaching so we walked back down to the château and waited outside the door with everyone else. Our enthusiastic and over-wordy guide soon appeared and gave us every last detail of château history and extremely detailed descriptions of the four or five rooms we were allowed to see but not photograph. All this was in French so we were glad we knew our French history pretty well . . . Château de Josselin web site

Château de Josselin, the well

Château de Josselin, the well

Josselin and the Nantes-Brest Canal from the Château

Josselin and the Nantes-Brest Canal from the Château

Château de Josselin and the tower

Château de Josselin and the tower


*****

Nantes-Brest Canal in Josselin

Nantes-Brest Canal in Josselin


We finished the tour and walked around outside taking pictures and walked back up into town to discover we had pretty much covered it earlier. It was near four o’clock and the tourist shops were closed so we hiked back down to our parking and then along the canal for a way before retrieving the car and driving home. The canal walk is lined with flowers so absolutely beautiful. Guided canal walk web site

*****

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We drove past the house into Arbourg for our daily bread and then back to the house to be greeted by M. Cochon with a new, very bright light bulb. We have light! Ed is doing the Treasurer’s Report for our watercolor group and sending it for the meeting we’ll miss on Wednesday, and I’ve transferred all my photos to the computer so I think we can relax for the evening.

Posted by Beausoleil 11:53 Archived in France Tagged canal chateau josselin Comments (1)

Guérande and Piriac-sur-Mer

Tuesday, September 27. 2016


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I forgot to set my alarm and we slept until nine. We must have needed the sleep! A very fast shower and breakfast and we set off for Guérande in a light rain. We had no trouble finding it and parked right in front of the gate into the medieval city. Sometimes rain can be a blessing!

*****

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

We walked into town under our umbrellas and decided to explore the nice dry church, Collégiale St. Aubin. The stained glass was amazingly bright for such a dark day and it’s a beautiful church. When we left, the rain had stopped. It was off and on all day, but never very bad. We walked through the town looking for a restaurant and found mostly creperies and we don’t like crepes. We settled on La Cosy that had crepes but offered real food too. We got the 12.90 euro daily special of cod and tagliatelle with a chocolate brownie a la mode for dessert. The cod was good but the brownie was outstanding. Gourmet, it wasn’t, but the food and service were good and we had a window seat. We were warm, dry and happy.

View from Place St. Aubin

View from Place St. Aubin

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande - note the Breton headdress on Mary

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande - note the Breton headdress on Mary

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

Collégiale St. Aubin in Guérande

*****

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We left the restaurant in a light mist so up with the umbrellas again. We walked through the rest of the town and bought several scarves for the girls and for me. We got chocolates for us and friends, and Ed got macaroons for dessert tonight. Going back we noticed outside the church are many tiny sculptures by Nicolas Fédorenko. These small sculptures were installed in 2007 and are supposed to represent the various people who have created Guérande over the centuries. They are placed where there was originally a cemetery. Continued on and put our packages in the car and walked to a nearby Carrefour for milk, juice and bread and to look for Carol Lynn’s things. I forgot the cheese but fortunately we had enough left from last night for our supper. Again, I had no luck finding Carol Lynn’s things. Trying to find Marseille soap in Brittany or the western Loire is proving impossible. All the soaps here are from Brittany . . . for some strange reason. We're having a lot of fun looking though.

Guérande in the Old Town

Guérande in the Old Town

The Green Mouse

The Green Mouse

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Notre Dame la Blanche in Guérande

Notre Dame la Blanche in Guérande

Tiny sculptures by Nicolas Fédorenko outside St. Aubin's in Guérande

Tiny sculptures by Nicolas Fédorenko outside St. Aubin's in Guérande

Tiny sculptures by Nicolas Fédorenko outside St. Aubin's in Guérande

Tiny sculptures by Nicolas Fédorenko outside St. Aubin's in Guérande

One of the towers surrounding Guérande

One of the towers surrounding Guérande

*****

Moulin de Cremeur

Moulin de Cremeur


Walked back to the car and started looking for the gardens I’d seen on the map. We found a nice windmill but no luck finding the gardens. We were headed to the coast so continued on to Piriac-sur-Mer where we parked at the pretty harbor and walked around a little. Decided we’d like to come back so didn’t explore too much. We managed to get home without the GPS and discovered someone parked in our spot. Ed parked in front and we walked all over our little village taking pictures of thatched houses and ruins. They seem to be in the process of renovating the entire little village.

Quai de Verdun harbor at Piriac-sur-Mer

Quai de Verdun harbor at Piriac-sur-Mer

Quai de Verdun view of the church in Piriac-sur-Mer

Quai de Verdun view of the church in Piriac-sur-Mer

*****

House next to our gite in Arbourg

House next to our gite in Arbourg


Transferred pictures, checked e-mail and caught up on news about the Clinton-Trump debate. Getting the French reaction to the debate is very interesting. We’ve gotten snippets of the actual debate and I’m glad we couldn’t watch the whole thing. This is a sorry excuse for an election process . . . On the bright side, we discovered we really like macaroons!

One of the renovations in progress in Arbourg

One of the renovations in progress in Arbourg

One of the lived-in houses in Arbourg

One of the lived-in houses in Arbourg

Posted by Beausoleil 14:26 Archived in France Tagged guérande piriac-sur-mer Comments (1)

La Turballe and Piriac-sur-Mer and sunshine

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


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We got up on time this morning but it was foggy and lightly raining so we took our time. When it cleared a little, we started for Piriac-sur-Mer but as we approached, it was not very clear so we decided to find La Turballe and take the little train ride.

*****

Marina at La Turballe

Marina at La Turballe


We wound our way along the coast following signs and arrived at La Turballe where we found parking by the marina. We found the Tourist Office and discovered the train only made two trips, 3:00 and 4:15 and only if there were at least ten people. We decided that probably wasn’t going to happen so walked around the town taking pictures.

As it turned out, the town was mostly restaurants and tourist shops so not terribly exciting. However, the tiny, fairly new church of Sainte Anne du Pays Blanc had very interesting stained glass and a hanging ship that was lighted. Near the sea we have seen ships hanging in the churches but we'd never before seen one that was lighted. On a dull, cloudy day, it was quite dramatic.

Place de l'Ancienne Gare in La Turballe

Place de l'Ancienne Gare in La Turballe

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Modern stained glass windows in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

Modern stained glass windows in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

Modern stained glass windows in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

Modern stained glass windows in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

Modern stained glass in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

Modern stained glass in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

The rainbow of hope in stained glass

The rainbow of hope in stained glass

The ship with lights in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

The ship with lights in Ste. Anne du Pays Blanc

Enjoying a walk through La Turballe

Enjoying a walk through La Turballe

Looking unsuccessfully for a restaurant in La Turballe

Looking unsuccessfully for a restaurant in La Turballe

*****

Shore near Piriac-sur-Mer

Shore near Piriac-sur-Mer


We retrieved our car and headed back to Piriac-sur-Mer where we found parking beside the Tourist Office and got a map of the town. We started off exploring with emphasis on the shore. The tide was out and people were looking for things. It was fun to watch them. I also saw a strange sculpture and wondered aloud what it was. Ed informed me it was a shower. Hm, he was right . . . to wash off the sand from the beach. They're very attractive . . .

Hotel de la Plage in Piriac-sur-Mer

Hotel de la Plage in Piriac-sur-Mer

The shower on Plage St. Michel in Piriac-sur-Mer

The shower on Plage St. Michel in Piriac-sur-Mer

*****

Road to Plage St. Michel in Piriac-sur-Mer

Road to Plage St. Michel in Piriac-sur-Mer

There are lovely old buildings and the harbor so it’s a pretty and very clean town. As noon approached, we started checking restaurants and after much research, decided on Hotel de la Poste, a Logis de France. The weather being changeable, we decided to eat inside and it was very pleasant. Instead of the daily special, we decided to try the dorade (Filet de Dorade Royale en écailles de chorizo) which we both like. It arrived with an assortment of vegetables and four slices of chorizo baked on top. The white sauce was lemony and delicious. Our young waitress forgot both bread and water but we caught the eye of an older waitress who got them immediately and adopted us. She was really good and had a great sense of humor. The fish was wonderful. We ordered ice cream for dessert. Ed got the special Guérandaise that was a caramel ice cream with caramel sauce and Chantilly with caramel crumbles . . . caramel heaven. I got a chocolate liégeois with chocolate ice cream . . . chocolate heaven. A nice Muscadet and a coffee made a great meal. [Hotel de la Poste, 26 rue de la Plage 44420 Piriac-sur-Mer; tel: +33 (0)2 4023-5090; Hotel de la Poste Restaurant web site]

Rue des Mouettes just off rue St. Michel

Rue des Mouettes just off rue St. Michel

Street scene on rue Keroman

Street scene on rue Keroman

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*****

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We decided to head for the Ile de Fédrun and visit the Chaumière Brièronne near St. Joachim. This necessitated driving around the marais since there are no roads through it. After completing the journey, we arrived, drove around the island until we found the Chaumière only to discover it had closed for the season on Sept. 13 . . . as opposed to the information put out by the park authorities.

I walked into the park administrative offices where there were supposed to be (according to their brochure) exhibitions, a documentary film and a gift shop. I found a lone secretary working in a dark room who confirmed everything was closed and then handed us the very brochure that said it was all open. There was a little disconnect there . . . Perhaps they could read their own brochures if they would turn on the lights!

Ile de Fédrun

Ile de Fédrun

Ile de Fédrun in the Briere Regional Park

Ile de Fédrun in the Briere Regional Park

Interpretive Center at the Ile de Fédrun (closed that day)

Interpretive Center at the Ile de Fédrun (closed that day)

*****


We drove back to Huit-á-8 at St. Lyphard and got a Compte cheese but they were out of bread so we had to walk to the local patisserie for bread. Huit-á-8 has better bread and that's probably why they were sold out. Sigh . . . Not sure why Huit-á-8 has better bread than a patisserie anyway.

We drove home to transfer pictures and catch up on news and e-mail. The rain has stopped. SUNSHINE!

Posted by Beausoleil 13:05 Archived in France Tagged piriac-sur-mer la_turballe Comments (0)

Les Jardins de Kermoureau, Le Croisic and Batz-sur-Mer

Thursday, September 29, 2016


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Today was laundry day so Ed loaded the machine and got it started before breakfast. It will take an hour and a half so I checked e-mail and even Facebook and retreated to my book. When the wash finished, we hung some on a rack inside and some outside hoping for sun . . . or at least no rain. Ed made lunch reservations at La Chaumiére des Marais just down the road, and we relaxed until time to leave.

*****

La Chaumière des Marais

La Chaumière des Marais


We arrived early so walked down the country road to photograph a thatched stone house and continued on to discover a small herd of very pretty goats in the roadway. Two elderly ladies were approaching the goats coming in our direction and a medium-sized black and white dog was barking at them. Quickly another elderly woman appeared in a nearby doorway and yelled at the dog which seemed to have no effect whatsoever. Eventually all three ladies and the dog got together and seemed to be friends so we continued on our way . . . after taking photos of the goats of course. Eventually, we turned and walked back to the restaurant wondering how these restaurants on back roads with no apparent neighbors manage to thrive in the French countryside. It is probably because they have wonderful food.

A guard dog on rue Ker Moureau

A guard dog on rue Ker Moureau

Exotic goats on rue Ker Moureau

Exotic goats on rue Ker Moureau


*****

Back at La Chaumiére for Lunch

Back at La Chaumiére for Lunch

We were warmly welcomed at La Chaumiére des Marais and given a choice of tables. I chose one by a window and we settled in. She brought the menus and while the daily special looked very good, we decided to splurge on the 29 euro menu. She brought a small glass of spicy pumpkin soup as an amuse bouche. Ed got a vegetarian entrée with a gazpacho and tomato compote while I got the sardine entrée with one sardine in oil, one sardine rillette (my favorite) and one smoked sardine. They were all good but I love the rillettes. Ed got merlu as his main while I got the chicken tournedo and both were excellent. He got a giant macaroon for dessert that was so amazing I got out my camera and took a picture. I got something I can’t spell or pronounce but it was a cashew-based crust covered with a rich dark chocolate ganache and accompanied by a coffee-flavored ribbon frosting . . . fabulous! (According to the menu it is Crousti chocolat Manjari Jivara et noix de cajou) We had a Muscadet and I had a coffee to which she added four tiny strawberry marshmallows, two pieces of vanilla fudge and two lace cookies. Ed did help me with this! It was all delicious but we were stuffed. Great restaurant . . . [La Chaumiére des Marais, 3 Kermoureau 44410 Herbignac; tel: +33 (0)2 4091-3236; e-mail: lachaumieredesmarais@orange.fr; La Chaumiére des Marais web site]

La Chaumière des Marais Restaurant

La Chaumière des Marais Restaurant

La Chaumière des Marais Restaurant

La Chaumière des Marais Restaurant

The Giant Macaroon - amazing and delicious

The Giant Macaroon - amazing and delicious

*****

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While in Kermoureau, we visited Les Jardins de Kermoureau. When we arrived, it appeared closed but we waited a while and a very sweet elderly lady found us, took us up to “her” house, and showed us the beginning of the path through the extensive gardens. Armed with her map, we started through the lovely gardens following a path through the trees to an ancient ruined church that is home to a collection of ferns. Then you wander down another tree-lined road to a small pond covered with water lilies. Passing that you follow along a field with a horse on the right and various plantings on the left which brings you back to the other side of the big house where there is an enclosed garden. Through that you pass the side of the house out into the vast yard in front of it where there are statues, sun dials and various plantings. Of course there is the requisite garden cat to pet. We were careful to return our borrowed map to the house before leaving. [Brière Regional Natural Park, D774, 44410 Herbignac, France; tel: +33 (0)2 4091-4323; Les Jardins de Kermoureau web site]

The Fern Garden at Kermoureau

The Fern Garden at Kermoureau

Water Lilies at Kermoureau

Water Lilies at Kermoureau

Path back to the main house at Kermoureau

Path back to the main house at Kermoureau

Les Jardins de Kermoureau

Les Jardins de Kermoureau

Main House at Kermoureau

Main House at Kermoureau

Garden in front of the main house at Kermoureau

Garden in front of the main house at Kermoureau

The main house at Kermoureau

The main house at Kermoureau

The garden tuxedo cat

The garden tuxedo cat

*****

Salt Pans near Batz-sur-Mer

Salt Pans near Batz-sur-Mer


Afterwards, we drove to Le Croisic via Guérande and Batz-sur-Mer which was a cute town. We parked by the harbor in Le Croisic and walked through the town visiting the church on the way. We stopped in a souvenir store to buy bags of salt as gifts. We had driven past the salt pans on our way . . . fun. Le Croisic is a great place to shop for gifts, very busy and lots of souvenir shops.

Mountains of salt near Batz-sur-Mer

Mountains of salt near Batz-sur-Mer

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Musée des Marais Salants in Batz-sur-Mer

Musée des Marais Salants in Batz-sur-Mer

Moulin de la Falaise outside Batz-sur-Mer

Moulin de la Falaise outside Batz-sur-Mer

Pen-Bron Marine Center Hospital from Le Croisic

Pen-Bron Marine Center Hospital from Le Croisic

L'Ancienne Criée Cultural Center in Le Croisic

L'Ancienne Criée Cultural Center in Le Croisic

Walking along the harbor in Le Croisic

Walking along the harbor in Le Croisic

Harbor scene in Le Croisic

Harbor scene in Le Croisic

Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

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Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

Interior Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

Interior Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

Doors of Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

Doors of Église Notre-Dame de Pitié du Croisic

L'Hotel Au Fin Gourmet

L'Hotel Au Fin Gourmet

Au Fin Gourmet Hotel-Restaurant with Nearby Flower Shop

Au Fin Gourmet Hotel-Restaurant with Nearby Flower Shop

*****

Guérande

Guérande


Drove home and our silly GPS took us on a tour of Guérande for some reason, but we did get home . . . to dry laundry!

Posted by Beausoleil 13:43 Archived in France Tagged gardens kermereau croisic Comments (1)

Rochefort-en-Terre, a Plus Beau Village

Friday, September 30, 2016


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Malansac on the way to Rochefort-en-Terre

Malansac on the way to Rochefort-en-Terre


Woke to sunshine . . . hooray. Ate and plotted our route to Rochfort-en-Terre and set off for the day. I fooled the GPS with a way point and we stayed on the D774 until I removed the way point and it immediately set off across country but not according to the route I would have chosen from the map. I really dislike the Peugeot GPS system. At any rate, we did arrive at Rochefort-en-Terre except on the D21 instead of the D774 but both led to the chosen parking lot so I guess there are no complaints.

*****

Restaurant across from Parking Pl. St. Michel

Restaurant across from Parking Pl. St. Michel

No one could figure out the parking meter so everyone was putting in the minimum 2.50 euros to get a ticket. We did the same figuring they couldn’t tow every car in the lot. Walked into the town, a Plus Beau Village, taking pictures and checking menus. It is beautiful with flowers all over the place. Walked up to the château and checked views down into the town, and got outside château photos. Walked back into town and found both Post Office and church but decided to wait until after lunch to visit the church. The Post Office was, of course, closed for lunch.

Rue Saint-Michel in Rochefort-en-Terre

Rue Saint-Michel in Rochefort-en-Terre

Street scenes in Rochefort-en-Terre

Street scenes in Rochefort-en-Terre

Antique Store in Rochefort-en-Terre

Antique Store in Rochefort-en-Terre

Shops near the Château

Shops near the Château

Château Entrance

Château Entrance

Château de Rochefort en Terre

Château de Rochefort en Terre

La Chapelle du Château de Rochefort-en-Terre

La Chapelle du Château de Rochefort-en-Terre

Château de Rochefort-en-Terre

Château de Rochefort-en-Terre

*****

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Walked back through the town and decided on L’Ancolie near the parking lot. We were warmly welcomed in English by the pleasant gentleman who owns it. He is a pianist and has a nice baby grand in the “gourmet” section. We were asked if we wanted gourmet or bistro and cheerfully chose the less expensive bistro. Gourmet has white table cloths and beautiful dishes. Bistro is warmer feeling, has red and green checked table cloths and plain white dishes. We hadn’t looked at the gourmet menu because we had seen the 17.50 euro bistro menu and it was exactly what we wanted. We got the hot goat cheese salad, the mignons of pork and fondant au chocolat . . . all perfect. My only complaint was three small slices of a baguette for two people. It was served with rice but no vegetables and the sauce needed salt so I’m not sure I’d return, but service and food were adequate, so perhaps. Oh yes, there was no bon bon with the coffee! [L’Ancolie Restaurant Salon de Thé, 12 rue Saint-Michel, Rochefort-en-Terre; tel: +33 (0)2 9743-3309; no web site]

L'Ancolie Restaurant in Rochefort-en-Terre

L'Ancolie Restaurant in Rochefort-en-Terre

*****

Looking up Rue Saint-Michel

Looking up Rue Saint-Michel

We walked back to the La Poste the sign had said would be open but it was locked and when we rang, no one answered or released the door, i.e., they were not open. More careful reading of the sign directed people to a La Poste in the next town. We'll find one someplace. Next we walked across to the church which was nice but under heavy renovation so photos are through scaffolding. Back to town to look for soaps for Carol Lynn and no one had verveine. We’re running out of time and stores. Marseille soap is not as popular here as soap from Brittany, which makes perfect sense since we’re in Brittany and they make soap.

Delivery Truck at Pain d'Epices

Delivery Truck at Pain d'Epices

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Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Tronchaye

Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Tronchaye

Interior Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Tronchaye

Interior Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Tronchaye

Street stand outside a bakery on the Place du Puits

Street stand outside a bakery on the Place du Puits

*****

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Back to the parking lot and I foolishly set the GPS for the shortest route to Questembert. We ended up in Questembert, but on very back roads. The town was not terribly exciting but we did get our evening baguette and the Post Office was open so we got stamps and mailed postcards. We got photos of the old covered market and very dark church and set off for home.

Questembert, the church and the covered market

Questembert, the church and the covered market

*****

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Again, our GPS took us through the countryside on back roads until we came to a huge traffic jam at the Barrage (dam) d’Arzal where they had raised the bridge to let boats through the lock on the far side. Then it started to rain. Sigh . . . We did get home and tomorrow we’re off to Fougères. We visited Fougères-sur-Bièvre in the central Loire and were very impressed with the town and castle there so when I discovered there was a different Fougères in Brittany with an impressive castle, I have wanted to visit it ever since. This trip is the chance.

Posted by Beausoleil 10:21 Archived in France Tagged flowers stained_glass plus_beaux_villages rochefort-en-terre Comments (3)

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