Here we are in France for the week staying in Mohon, a small village in Brittany. Its Dave's birthday so what better excuse to head across the channel and point the car south. Discover a new bit of foreign turf and hang out and play with some great mates.
|David, Judy, David & Nick|
Josselin, the closest town, is about 10 kms away and our first visit although rather quiet because of our midday arrival, was just stunning. With everyone gone to lunch from noon till 2pm it meant we almost had the place to ourselves.
|Josselin half timbered housing|
|David and Judy leading the tour|
It’s a lovely town with a number of medieval half timbered houses, a small town square next to a Gothic Basilica and a glorious medieval castle that seems to rise out of the river.
|A fairytale castle - Chateau de Josselin|
The three mighty towers of the thousand year old castle dominate the river below.
A visit later in the week on Market day was completely different - an assortment of vendors all shapes and sizes selling a variety of tasty fresh produce and French delicacies. We were surprised by the number of English accents I could hear that day but I gather this spot and its surrounding areas are very popular with the Brits. Not expensive, in fact we did see advertisements of €10 a square metre for land and of course easily accessible from the UK.
Dave took delight in wandering down to the local Boulangerie and picking up our daily baguette and other times supporting the local wine industry.
Lots of strolls along the tree lined tow paths beside the canals and the beautifully planted locks. So many glorious places to walk and the Autumn colours just
David’s birthday was celebrated with a wonderful bottle of bubbly, bought in Champagne country courtesy of David and Judy and a delicious birthday cake - oh wow a chocolate mousse cake, rich and decadent -one of the joys of what the French do so well and that was from the supermarket!! Thanks Dave and Judy!!!
|Mont Saint Michel|
Mont Saint Michel, the small rocky island about one kilometre off the Normandy coast, was as spectacular as we'd hoped. Thank goodness we're visiting in the shoulder season as its a popular spot, in fact the second most visited attraction in France and in figures that means more than three million visitors a year. And there's only one way onto the island and one way back!!
|Population of 40 live on the island|
The first chapel was built in the 8th century, destroyed a few centuries later and this wonderful Gothic style Abbey was built in the 13th century. It was a popular place of pilgrimage over the years until during the French revolution the Abby was converted into a prison and let go significantly.
But by the mid 1800's it was restored as a national monument and now this picturesque island and medieval walled city, serves not only as a place of prayer but as a worldwide tourist attraction.
A day in Rennes, capital of Brittany - a city not mentioned on the tourist guides but we thought it full of character.
|Rennes - old part|
Probably the student influence adds to the vibrancy of the place - over 60,000 young French students spilling from cafes and bars. And they all have a certain style and elegance, not a jandal or stubbie in sight!
|Variety of lattice work|
The old medieval part of the city has narrow streets lined with the picturesque 'half timbered' buildings, some of which date back to the 15th century. The fascinating lattice work on the houses adds to the character. In 1720 over 900 buildings were burnt to the ground during a week long fire. The work done over the last twenty years to restore the fronts of many of these buildings has highlighted the quality of earlier craftsmanship.
|Proud to be All Blacks supporters!|
|Staunch Crusaders supporters too!!|
We even found a Webb Ellis Bar so had to set foot inside that - only to see the Silver Fern in pride of place as we walked in and even a Crusaders jersey on the wall!
Lots of bars and cafes - great coffee and a wonderful energy in the city.
We strolled through and admired the Tharbor Gardens, 10 hectares in the middle of Rennes, once owned by the abbey, but reserved for men only!! Now open to all with a wonderful variety of designs. We never tire of wandering though the formal French gardens with clipped hedges, gravel pathways beneath the straight lines of trees and the topiary laid out in symmetrical patterns.
|Parc du Tharbor|
From Mohon we point the trusty Punto northward back to Calais. A slight detour as we filled the boot, thats really our back seat, with wine and cheese orders from friends over the channel. Then relax as we head across the water after a fun week.
|Chateau du Trecesson - a hidden gem|