Friday, 31 October 2014

A surprise in Dinard...

When we visited the seaside town of Dinard a surprise find was this statue of Alfred Hitchcock which sits on the seafront. The town has been host to the 'British Film Festival' for the last 25 years.and every year, it short-lists six films, with the best – which is chosen by a jury of leading figures – is awarded the Golden Hitchcock. Apparantly the locals claim Hitchcock spent time here and based the house in Psycho on a villa overlooking the beach but there is nothing to substantiate this. Had we been a week earlier we could have taken in a movie. Previous winners have included Peter Catteano’s 'The Full Monty' 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Back to Brittany...

When we were up in Dinan we decided to take a trip up to the coast, Our first trip was up to Dinard which is a traditional seaside town that sits on a rugged coastline.When we arrived it was rather dull but after a cuppa on the seafront things changed rather quickly...

...with the sun breaking through to give us a beautiful morning.

 You get great views over the bay to Saint Malo.

We took a walk along the shoreline on a designated path that proved to be another example of the lack of health and safety concerns here in France... walk along a path that has a shear drop yet no guardrail of any kind - it did at times feel a bit precarious, especially where it narrowed on bends and you were met by a jogger coming in the opposite direction!

The town has some interesting housing stock both along the waters edge and in the town. Where it wasn't our favourite place of our Brittany visit we were glad we went and catching a glimpse of Saint Malo over the bay convinced us it was worth a visit.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


During this great spell of weather Pauline has made a start to clearing the vegetable plots here in Barrou...which are actually still producing - great!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Good day Monday...

Yesterday with friends Mike  &  Liz we headed back over to our favourite vintner Pascal Berthelot at Husseau just along the river from Montlouis-sur-Loire to stock up on our favourite sparkly tipple. After taking an unnecessary apero (we are rather familiar with the taste) with madam we went in search of a restaurant for lunch. A Monday isn't the best day for this as we and some of our friends know but we took the chance. We first headed into Montlouis-sur-Loire where we actually found a couple of restaurants open but the first's menu had a main dish of '3 fish' - fish on a Monday? we did not think this was a great idea. We then asked a local lady for an alternative she directed us to one which had that typical French dish, lasagne on the menu. Then we decided to drive back to a restaurant we thought we had seen open in nearby Veretz.
As we arrived  I met a French couple I had saw turn away from the 'fish' restaurant we both then discovered that it was in fact closed! Monsieur suggested we try St.Avertin on the way into Tours.

 We drove past the hôtel restaurant 'Le Faisan' on the way in and decided to try it. As we entered the maze of dining rooms which were very busy we were sure we had made a good choice. There was an unbelievable choice of seven dishes for each course and at only € 13.50 it was great value. It was not the most salubrious of places but the good mix of worker / businessmen was testament to its popularity...or was it because it was a Monday?     

We ended the afternoon having a cuppa in the sunshine of our courtyard...October the 27th! Then it was a walk and another cuppa with French neighbours...good day!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Crepes, galettes & cidre...part V

Le Port de Dinon sits on the river Rance below the main town of Dinan. The little port serves as a link between the town and Saint Malo-on the coast. During the 18th century  weavers made it a busy little place making canvases for sails.

Nowadays it is a haven for sailors and tourists alike.There are boat trips along the river or to the fortress of St-Malo and the Channel Islands generating a fairly constant flow of traffic.

The view from the port looking back to the imposing 19th century 40mtr high viaduct that towers over the 15th century river bridge.

There are some pretty buildings along the riverside as well as a plethora of restaurants. We chose to have a traditional lunch of galette followed by a crepe accompanied by a cup of the local cider.

It was great to be eating outside in October!

Here are a couple of pics I took of photographs in the castle museum showing the port before and after the building of the viaduct.

Plus how it looks today.

If you get the chance it's a lovely place for a weekend break.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Church on Sunday...St Sauveur Basilica,Dinan

This Sunday we are taking you inside the 12th century St Sauveur Basilica in Dinan (no surprise there I hear you say). It was commissioned by a local returning knight from the Crusades who wanted to show his appreciation for having survived the campaign.

As you enter the church through the Romanesque portals you are actually using the only real remains of the 12th century building as the church was extensively rebuilt and extended during the 15th and 16th centuries using a mix of architectural styles. A bell tower was added in the 17th century but was destroyed by lighting and replaced in the 18th century. 

Although the work was pretty much ongoing for a century and a half it did not stop the building being used for its purpose. The results on a bright sunny day  such as we had on our visit mean that what could be a rather gloomy place uses the light to its best advantage.

As you walk along the nave towards the impressive altar and ambulatory chapels you are drawn in by the light of the windows high above you.

The light continues to play its part as you walk along the side aisles.

Loved the pews

Where's Joan?...she is here in what is probably one of our favourite representations. 

The former graveyard to the rear of the basilica is now the 'Le Jardin Anglais' which offers panoramic views of the valley below from the ramparts.

The lost hour...

Just Googled 'How do I adjust my body clock? About 5,830,000 results

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Crepes, galettes & cidre...part IV

After our walk around the ramparts of Dinon on Saturday we made our way down the very picturesque street of Rue du Jerzual to have lunch down at Le Port de Dinon.

It is a cobbled street which has a number of 'arty' shops and pretty houses before reaching the restaurants down on the harbour.

The climb back up is a bit of a challenge...

...with a 70 metre difference in height from the bottom to the top.

 It is well worth the climb. During the main holiday season the town has its own 'Petit train' to save you having to take the climb though it takes the easier to ascend main road. Will give you a taste of the actual port on Monday.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Crepes, galettes & cidre...part III

On the Saturday morning we did a walk around the walls of the town, had me thinking of Loches as we went on our way. The main castle / keep sits on the southern corner of the town's fortifications but we had to wait until the afternoon to have a look inside as it didn't open until 1.30pm. 

There have been some sympathetic additions to the wall...

and some less so!

This is a view from the 13th century ramparts on the eastern side of town looking down on 'Port Dinan' (more on this later).

Then there is a narrow walk back up towards our gate at Saint Malo.

We did return to the castle for a walk around, it was interesting without being  exiting.

As we were going around the outside we saw the twisted drawbridge and there was a view of it from the inside too.

The best part was the climb (150 steps) to the top of the keep where there was little in way of obstructions to the great views. The only reference to health and safety was a sign saying children should be accompanied - I think that would be a good idea.