Shearwin's in Europe 2015 travel blog

Chateau de Keriolet

The Chateau's lounge

A fortune lost in these 40mm*40mm tiles and our lovely guide

L'Orient Submarine Museum

German WW2 submarine pens at L'Orient

Now the centre for developing sailing vessels

We started the day looking at the options of re-visiting Loctudy to see the Manoir de Keraza at 1400hrs or visiting Chateau de Keriolet, on the way to Vannes . In view of the extra 60 kms and the lateness of the day, we agreed to visit the Chateau.

After another late and lovely breakfast, we bade farewell to Annie our very helpful hostess and were on our way at 1000hrs arriving at the Chateau at 1030hrs. It was a coincidence that one of only two daily tours was to start at 1030hrs. The tour group of four, had the tour conducted in French with notes in English and questions taken and answered in English- not a bad arrangement considering. The chateau has a great history of the older Russian noble lady marrying the younger dashing common Frenchman and building him a castle (previously a manor) and buying him titles. The younger dies first; she gifts the castle to the state; a Russian grandson challenges the will for ten years and wins; sells the property and everything else he can; the property declines over the years and becomes derelict; thieves steal what they can; a more recent benefactor buys and is funding its restoration.

Our attractive and impressive volunteer guide ( a history major student) offered notes and helped us with her best English explanations of what is now a Chateau. There is an interesting story of the kitchen tiles which involves thieves trying to remove the tiles; they broke enough that it became too much of an effort for them to finish the job. There are literary thousands of these 40mm*40mm blue and white porcelain tiles now valued at 40 Euro a piece - my photo's of the kitchen support the story of the lost plunder. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, the house, the grounds ( gardens in time) and the whole experience of deciding to visit.

As we were leaving, GeePS started to play up and Kaye feared she would have to assist with navigation - thankfully she came to life and saved the day - we both thanked her.

Annie had suggested we visit L'orient (60 kms) and gave me directions to a site I wasn't all clear about. The next leg was on a fast road and we arrived just before 1400hrs. Not really knowing what to find we sought directions from a very friendly local before breaking for a lunchtime Rose.

Annie's, reference turned out to be the German submarine pens of WW2 which have since been converted into a research centre for Yatching design and other similar maritime development ( I believe Ben Lexcen's America's Cup winged keel was developed and tested here in secret). Luck as it wasn't to be, was for a French speaking tour at 1500 hrs only. Luck came into it when I was able to wander the complex on my own ( not inside the main pens) with a great little brochure explaining the Pens history. I was really chuffed that I got to see so much and to photograph. Kaye declined to join my private tour and relaxed with coffee in a nearby very upmarket bar/ restaurant.

At approximately, 1530hrs we completed the drive to Vannes, discovered our nice hotel without difficulty, checked in and relaxed.

We are very gradually coming around to the idea of dinner at 1900hrs - not anytime earlier for a good restaurant. Armed with our recommended list of restaurants from our hotel, we scouted the list whilst awaiting the church bell to chime the start time. Kaye had decided our restaurant and it turned out to be a good one. La TĂȘte in L'Air has only been open for seven weeks and is owned by a young partner couple ( they are not married but have a young daughter) - he cooks, she a good English speaker, serves as the waitress. The three course ( Kaye *2 - shared dessert) was lovely, however, I was not allowed to make comment on my lamb which reflected preparation a little earlier than desired. Combining a good meal and an amicable hostess it was a very good night.

In bed by 2130hrs feeling less exhausted than last night.

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