Wednesday, July 20, 2011

16. Morbihan and Sarzeau

The past few days have gone fast and fun. We were successful in having our apartment internet connection restored, thanks to some workmen from French Telecomm(?) and a cool lift-bucket truck. They ran around our place, outside in the street, and up and down the staircase for a morning, then voila! All done! Merci beaucoup.
Tuesday a.m. we picked up our rental car, an Opel Corsa (unexpected substitute for our Renault Clio), and headed for the Morbihan. As a precaution, we also rented the Garmin GPS unit, since my handheld kayak-camping GPS proved too unwieldy to use. Good thing! The intricate tiny streets and surprise turns we used to get out of town and to visit some other little places would have never been possible navigating by hand…at least not without some arguments or dangerous traffic moments.
Our first stop was Josselin, to see the most beautiful Chateau in all Brittany (per their advertising). It was well hidden behind the town clutter on one side, and accessible only through a small gate for an inflated fee…so we passed! Took a great pic of the place on a postcard, then drove out of town and found a surprise beautiful vista of the Chateau on its riverfront side as we drove past.
The drive was through lots of small towns, so we enjoyed the countryside and tiny communities along the way. We made another longer stop in Vannes, the big city down by Bay of Morbihan. What a wonderful walled city they have kept amid their modern port and development. We walked the perimeter of the wall (the ramparts), seeing the beautiful restored chateau and gardens with a moat or river running alongside, then we headed inside and walked around the old buildings…architecture very similar to Dinan, just more shops.
Most wonderful of our destinations was the home of our new friends Jean-Marc and Pascale Boris ( relatives of dear friends Valerie and Yann Bonneteau), in Sarzeau. Sarzeau is on a finger of land that curves down into the Bay, and their secluded home allows a view of the water, plus access to wonderful walking paths and the beach. They welcomed us to their beautiful place like we were long-time friends, and have been magnificent hosts. We have a lot in common: we talked, laughed, ate and planned the next day.

Today (Wednesday) was unexpectedly rainy and cool, so we opted to go see the ancient menhirs at Carnac! It’s an inexplicable collection of acres and acres of rocks planted in upright rows, by ancient people before recorded history. No one knows what they signify, or who made them, but it was an awesome ancient site to see. Being with Jean-Marc and Pascale, we were also able to visit a beautiful port town with a collection of thousands of pleasure sailing boats in the harbor, plus a few racing sailing craft.

The best town was last: St. Goustan (Auray), an exceptional port town, where Ben Franklin landed after sailing from the colonies, to meet with the French king to ask for help in the Revolutionary War. Without this trip, there would have been no help from the French, and perhaps no USA. What a fantastic little port, with ancient buildings and an old stone bridge. We loved it, obviously! 

Lunch was a good time to practice eating local seafood and have some cidre, then we walked awhile, and escaped the rain in Pascale’s car for the ride home. We would not have known to visit this magic place had it not been for our friends. Thanks! 

PIC captions: Josselin Chateau.
                     Vannes tourist mecca, fat-couple carving.                    
                          Jean-Marc and Pascale in front of a few menhirs, Carnac.
                          Lynn and Pascale at La Trinite-sur-Mer.
                          St. Goustan port where Ben Franklin first landed in France 1776   

CLICK here for all photos and vids:
2011 Dinan and Paris French Adventure

1 comment:

  1. Love the port pix and its neat history! Jack is reading a copy of your AutoWeek as I write this - LOL :) Love you both bushels, so glad you are having fun with your new friends this week!