I am now waiting, slightly nervously, for my first solo trip to our gites in Brittany. The Petit Longère is free for a few days so I thought that I'd make a quick visit and take the opportunity to tackle the garden - well now that the sun has finally arrived it would be silly not to take advantage of having a holiday home in France. It's just a pity that Andy can't come with me but Olympic duties have kicked off this week on top of his normal work schedule so no chance of him joining me! A bit scary going on my own but I am used to driving in France and I will be meeting up with friends whilst I'm there. We also have people staying in the Grand Longère so I won't be at the property on my own. Hopefully they won't mind me pottering around the garden!
Our first stop after leaving the gites was the beautiful medieval town of Dinan on the river Rance in Cotes d'Armor. Dinan is one of the most popular places to visit in Brittany and justifiably so. Dinan is classified by the French as a 'ville et pays d’art et histoire' (town and country of art and history). Its cobbled streets are lined with half-timbered houses which lean towards each other over the narrow lanes.
The steep Rue Jerzual wends its way between13th and 14th century buildings to the old port, transforming itself into the Rue du Petit Fort halfway down. Ladies be warned, sensible shoes are required if you plan to explore this lovely walled town! The restaurants and bars that lined the river were buzzing and I can think of worse ways to while away an afternoon. You can also take a river cruise along the Rance to Dinard or St Malo in the summer with Compagnie Corsaire.
When we arrived (just in time for afternoon tea of course!) we were puzzled by the presence of a number of locals dressed up in bizarre costumes, armed with clipboards and a stop watch!
As we drank our tea we observed a number of cars draw up in succession, from which a man would emerge, put on a costume, then a woman would mount his back and he would proceed to do a circuit of the stone at speed which was timed.
After much puzzling, as the costume wasn't very good, we realised that the character being portrayed was Obelix, the menhir sculptor and best friend of Asterix! It appeared to be some sort of visit Brittany rally and this was one of the check points - how the French like to have fun - they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves and we were thoroughly entertained!
One says that the Devil threw a huge stone from the top of nearby Mont-Dol which struck and destroyed one of the towers of Dol Cathedral in Dol-de-Bretagne before coming to rest in the field where it can now be found.
Another story is of two brothers who were engaged in a fratricidal battle with blood running in streams.The great granite shaft rose from the ground below their feet and separated them mid fight thus preventing them from murdering each other.