Shearwin's in Europe 2015 travel blog

We planned to be away at 0830hrs as we expected a long day of driving and we nearly made the start time by 10 mins

Our first stop was La Roche - Bernard, 40 km ESE of Vannes. The town is noted for it's strategic position over the river Vilaine as from it's height's, with impressive views of the river and the surrounding valleys, it's fortifications and cannons could dominate the river. It was a Thursday morning when the market comes to town and the streets around Centre Ville were lined with stalls of food, clothing, household items and even furniture. It was quite a large market and the crowd was growing as the day. We had our normal breakfast in a welcoming patisserie that was agreeable to Kaye bringing here own Pain au Raisin.

After, we strolled the streets of the old town and then observed from the heights of the old defences the river, the valley, bridges, vegetation and the many uniformly moored pleasure boats. Art galleries are a feature of the town and we visited one where the majority of paintings were of coastal activity and scenery and seemed out of place. In the markets we were stung with the purchase of nougat ; thankfully we only bought a small amount. Overall a nice experience but not spectacular.

Just after 1030hrs, we headed the 26km N to Rochefort-en-Terre; noted to be one of the most beautiful villages in not only Brittany but France. We drove around the village first, not knowing what to expect, and were less than impressed until we found the single entry point to the village centre. We drove through the village and parked on the far side below the impressive chateau. The chateau was built in the early 20th century amongst the ruins of a 12th century chateau of significant stature that had been destroyed in an18 th century Republican uprising. The chateau dominates the town and has lovely views over the town and the surrounding countryside. We walked the grounds before visiting the local church which was also outstanding because it clearly showed the different periods of its development as some of its architecture dates from the 11th century - more spectacular in history than appearance. The streets were lined with art and craft shops, cafes and bars many with geraniums displayed from pots and window sills. This aged village is very popular with tourists and was well worth a detour - my photos give more justice to its appearance than I can here. After a refreshment in a cafe with real warmth, we departed to be in Josselin ( 41km NNW) to visit another chateau at 1400hrs.

We arrived earlier than planned and found parking in a one way street near the chateau quite easily; possibly, as others advised, we were driving the wrong way. As the English tour was not to start until 1430hrs, we wandered the town, noting the lunch time crowd, visited the local church and walked the towering chateau's exterior down to the river. It was here we found what must be the largest rhubarb plant/bush in the world. A brief drink stop over looking the imposing chateau, bridge and river was made before returning for the 1430hr tour. In English but conducted by a French guide from Spain, the tour was difficult but we did get to view the palatial rooms on display.

The chateau's origins date to the 11th century when it was built as a tower fortress; its rise to a nine tower stone fortress and ruin and rise again trace Brittany's turbulent history. The current structure and it's many changes have been in the De Rohan family since the early 14th Century. The buildings and gardens were definitely worth the visit. My phot's explain it well.

We departed Josselin, after 1600hrs for Rennesd with GeePS playing up big time; such that we stopped for fuel on the road to Rennes and purchased a Michelon Road Map. Thankfully she came good, however, I believe she has memory starvation problems that will continue. We completed the 80km drive in good time and GeePS found our hotel Anne De Bretagne without problem at 1730hrs. The hotel's car park is tight but check in went well.

We rested an in no time it was 1900hrs and restaurants were opening. We walked towards the old town, which isn't like other old towns as the the city was badly destroyed in the 1700's by fire. We found an average type restaurant and there are many restaurants. We ordered a entree for two, as a single entree, of different meats and pate's - it was lovely but of such proportions we should have cancelled our mains. Kate had a crab roulette as a second entree, I had time duck; both nice but too much food for this stage of the trip. The Pinot Noir was also nice, service very friendly.

We wandered back to the hotel observing the crowds in the streets and in the restaurants dining or just socialising - a nice scene. We were very tired and soon asleep.

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