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From the Loire Valley to southern Brittany 

August 24 - Angers - Chateau de Serrant - Nantes - Vannes (B&B Vannes Est) - Rochefort-en-Terre.

   In the morning, having breakfast and loading Mercy, we moved on. The weather is still not encouraging: everything is also overcast, it is drizzling. 
  Today we have to make a dash to the south coast of Brittany, and visit Nantes on the way. But first, completing the journey through the Loire Valley, we stopped at another castle - Serran (Chateau de Serrant).

  The castle is located near the town of Saint-Georges (Saint-Georges-sur-Loire). Nothing special, it was just the last castle on our way through the Loire Valley. Outwardly it looks beautiful: a massive three-story cream-colored building with heavy domes over the corner towers. So I had to limit myself to an external examination, because. they are allowed inside only with an organized tour, and the next tour is in an hour. The guidebook says that the castle has tapestries, a library, chic staircases, but they didn’t want to wait in the rain.


    We moved on to Nantes (Nantes) and after about an hour we parked in the parking lot near the railway station, the coordinates of which I scouted on the Internet while preparing the route. We were going to see Nantes quite thoroughly, at least the old town and the Graslin area. But again the weather spoiled everything. All we managed to do was take a little walk under the umbrellas between the Peter and Paul Cathedral (literal translation into Russian - Cathedrale Saint Pierre - Saint Paul) and the castle of the Breton dukes (Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne). Then, to the accompaniment of increasing rain, we had to get out of Nantes, which turned out to be inhospitable, and move on.

    All the way to Vannes (about 120 km) we were accompanied by annoying drizzling rain. And only at the entrance to the next B&B the sky brightened, even the sun peeped through the lead clouds.

  When we arrived at the B&B, which was located in the industrial area with the fabulous name Little Red Riding Hood (Le Chapeau Rouge), it was about three o'clock, just the time for a break, so everything is closed. At first we thought to go to Vannes and return here after the break, but then we decided to try to get a number automatically.

  The machine works in several languages: French, English, German, Spanish. We chose English and through a few simple manipulations received a long printout in which we were most interested in the room number and access code. Unloaded things and went to the city.

  Vannes is clearly divided into the old and the new town. Vovka led us to a parking lot directly opposite the well-preserved city wall. Along the wall is an English square with neatly trimmed bushes and trees. We walked along the wall and through the medieval gates entered the old city.


   Here they found a set common for the French province: the Gothic Saint-Pierre Cathedral, half-timbered houses. We walked along the ancient streets, then returned to the parking lot and drove to the port.

  There are many restaurants and cafes around the picturesque bay with yachts. Here we had lunch in one of the cozy cafes.

  It was only 6 pm, the weather was finally clearly in favor and we decided, as if to compensate for the morning's failures, to carry out part of tomorrow's program.

  35 km east of Vannes is the town of Rochefort-en-Terre, which is marked in guidebooks as (this is my free interpretation) an exemplary French village.

  The stamp "reserve of medieval architecture" is clearly insufficient to describe the flavor of this town. The main thing here is in the granite flower beds, placed everywhere and everywhere. And old houses (both traditional Breton brown granite and half-timbered houses) are decorated with geraniums and twined with ivy. Stone pavements, the Gothic church of Notre Dame de la Tronchaye (L'église Notre Dame de la Tronchaye), an old laundry with oak floors, stairs are just an addition. Even the castle (Chateau de Rochefort-en-Terre) only frames the natural beauty of the flowers.

We were also impressed by the unique souvenir candle shop. Only candles, but what! Candles in the form of all sorts of flowers: roses, carnations, lilies ... And with the reproduction of the whole range of colors: from bright red roses to dazzling white lilies. Candles in the form of fruits and other fruits, also with the transfer of all natural colors. Candles in the form of animal figurines, kitchen utensils and furniture and so on. Then we regretted that we did not buy anything in this unique shop.

  In short, Rochefort-en-Terre added to our list of attractions that exceeded expectations.

August 25 - Vannes - Bono - Locmariaquer - Carnac - Quiberon Peninsula - Auray - Vannes.

    This day was held under the motto "Megaliths of Brittany". I will allow myself a short information about megaliths.

  So, megaliths are giant stone structures that are found in various parts of our planet, are, without a doubt, the creation of human hands and appeared more than 5 thousand years ago. Stones sometimes weigh several tons, so it is not entirely clear how our ancestors, in the absence of technology that has appeared only in recent centuries, installed them in the right place and order. The purpose of the megaliths is also not fully established, there are many versions. One, the most seemingly realistic, says that megaliths are tombstones, the other says that the stones were designed to solve astronomical problems, and therefore they were placed in certain places. Another version, more fantastic - they say, all this was set aside by aliens who once visited for some purposes that are still incomprehensible to earthlings. Finally, there are many legends about the origin of megaliths, which are generally already mystical in nature.

  Megaliths are divided into: 
- menhirs (single vertical pillar stones); 
- dolmens (stone slabs marked with the letter "П", from which galleries are often built; 
- tumuluses (covered dolmens, such as an artificial cave). 
  Stone fences, which are called "cromlechs", are also considered megaliths.

  First we drove along a beautiful scenic road towards Bono, then turned sharply south towards Locmariaquer.

  On the western outskirts of this town, not far from the Center of Archeology (Centre d'Information Archeologique), is one of the most interesting concentrations of megaliths. In a large fenced area (admission - 5 euros) there are three objects dating back to 4500-3500 years. BC: 
- Tumulus Er Grah (Tumulus d'Er Grah); 
- A large broken menhir (le Grand Menhir brise) or the Sorcerer's Stone - once a pillar 22 meters high and weighing 347 tons, now split into four parts (by an earthquake of 1722) and reclining on the ground;
- Dolmen Table Marchand (La Table des Marchand) - a classic design, consisting of a burial chamber and a corridor leading to it from the outside.

  The next stop on the program was Carnac, the largest collection of megaliths in the world. In the vicinity of Karnak there are a total of 2636 stone menhirs. The avenue of menhirs stretches north of Karnak for about 5 km. The stones are divided into three autonomous complexes and stretch from west to east: Menec - 11 lines and 1099 (!!!) menhirs, Kermario - 10 lines and 982 menhirs, Karlescan - 13 lines and 555 (!!!) menhirs.

  The menhirs of Karnak made an indelible impression on me. It would seem that they are just large stones, weathered by time, but they are arranged (by whom?) in almost the correct geometric order!

    Having walked a lot between the menhirs, we moved south to the coast, to the Quiberon peninsula.

  Kibron was once a granite island, but sea currents and storms covered the saber-shaped shoal connecting it with the mainland with sand.

  We drove along the entire peninsula (about 15 km) - continuous resort villages. The east coast of the peninsula is famous for its beaches. But we were not very interested in the beaches. We parked the car in one of the ports on the southern tip of the peninsula - Port-Maria. By the way, ferries and high-speed boats depart from here to the nearby islands of Belle-Ile, Houat, Hoedic. We walked along the embankment and finally decided to try the famous Breton pancakes - crepes.


    We chose one of the many creperies and ordered a full crepe menu: for the first - la galette la complete - biscuits, buckwheat flour pancakes filled with ham, cheese and fried eggs, for the second - la crepe - crepe, pancakes made from wheat flour, smeared with chocolate, and washed it all down with chilled cider (cidre) - slightly carbonated apple wine.

  After lunch we went to the western coast of the peninsula - Cote Sauvage. The untouched slopes of the coastal dunes and sheer cliffs, flavored with strong winds, the cry of seagulls and the blue expanse of the ocean really make up the unique charm of this corner of Brittany.

On the way back to Vannes, we stopped at another old town - Auray.

On the paths of King Arthur to Montague Farm

August 26 - Vannes - Broceliande forest (Pampon, Forret de Paimpont) - Rennes (Rennes) - Montagu farm (La Ferme de Montaigu).

   In the morning, after breakfast, Mercy was loaded again and moved to the north of Brittany. Today we should arrive at our ten-day base. But on the way we planned to visit a few more interesting places.

  First, the forest of Broceliande (Foret de Broceliande), in reality indicated on the maps as the forest of Pampon (Foret de Paimpont), is a green island of wild thicket, left over from the forest that covered the entire Breton in the Middle Ages peninsula. We missed the real forest, and here is the forest kingdom! And the road through the thicket is just a fairy tale, you go like in a tunnel formed by the connected crowns of tall trees (beech, oak, birch), the sky only shines through.

  The forest area is huge - more than 7 thousand hectares. In addition to walking through the forest thicket, guidebooks recommend several legendary places: the Barenton spring (Fontaine de Barenton), the San Retour valley (Val Sans-Retour), translated as Irrevocable, Trecesson Castle, the town of Pampon (Paimpont). But we only managed to see the Comper castle (Chateau de Comper).

  The Center de l'Imaginaire Arthurien is located here. According to legend, a certain Demas built a magnificent castle on the shores of Lake Comper. He had a daughter, Viviana, who has supernatural powers, the one who would later be called the Lake Maiden or Fairy Vivian. In this castle she received and raised the future famous knight Lancelot. After the knight's departure to the court of King Arthur, the gentle Maiden met the sorcerer Merlin at the Barenton spring, who fell in love with her without memory.

  We reluctantly left this mysterious and legendary corner of Brittany, the weather and time drove us further and we moved to the capital of Brittany - the city of Rennes (Rennes).

  While we were driving (only some 40 km), the weather turned bad, it started to rain. I had to look for covered parking. With the help of Vovka, they found her, and in the very center of the city - the underground parking of the Columbia shopping center. We spent several hours there, wandering through boutiques and shops, except that we had a good lunch in one of the restaurants. So this time we saw the city only through glass and raindrops.

  We moved on and after a couple of hours we drove up to the town of Montaigu-le-Bois, where our base should be located.

  Here we had an easy adventure. We arrived in this town and began to look for the farm of the same name. Vovka is no help here - he needs the exact address. From the owners and from their Internet site, we only had the landmarks of the farm - Montagu-le-Bois, the second house on the left opposite the lake. It seems to be a good landmark - the lake. But we drove around the whole town several times, only three and a half streets, but there is not even a hint of the lake. We see that we can’t cope on our own and we have to turn on the backup option: we call the owners on the mobile and explain where we are. In response: "No problem, wait." And literally three minutes later the owner drove up in a green jeep with a British license plate and offered to follow him.

  Having driven, following the jeep, not more than a kilometer, we saw both the lake and the second house on the left opposite the lake. It turned out that before reaching Montague-le-Bois 0.5 km we had to turn left. Then they found a sign to the Montague farm, but it is visible only from the opposite side.

  We turned off the paved road onto a gravel path and entered a spacious farm area. Here, finally, we met the owners: Phil and Wendy. Looking ahead, I note that they turned out to be very hospitable hosts, moderately helpful, but always ready to help.

  A few words about the farm that became our home for ten days. Firstly, the location of the farm seemed to be good: west of Lower Normandy, 5 km from the A84 expressway, 8 km from Villedieu-les-Poeles, 25 km to the coast of the Channel (Granville), 50 km to Mont Saint-Michel, 100 km to Rennes, 80 km to Caen. Secondly, the farm is not located within the city, village, but, as it were, a separate farm. Around the field, the forest and, as already mentioned, a small lake, in which, by the way, if you wish and skill, you can fish. Expanse for hiking in nature! And also amazing silence, only roosters in the mornings, and at night, when the owners and we turned off the light - absolute darkness!

   The farm is located on a large area, includes the main house and many outbuildings. The house has two entrances: one from the side of the owners, the other, ours, the guest. Opposite our entrance is a spacious parking lot for two or three cars. From the entrance we find ourselves in a spacious salon, where there is a place for a large dining table, upholstered furniture - a sofa and two armchairs, a TV and other equipment on the cabinet, and other furniture. A corridor leads from the salon deep into the house, from which - to the left - one bedroom and straight ahead - another bedroom.

  In every bedroom, except for a large double bed, a closet, and, of course, a toilet room with a shower, everything is clean, tidy, comfortable. In short, all the conditions for a comfortable stay.

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