Combourg, Vitré, Rennes
more specifically the Château of Combord is most famous as the
home of the famous
French essayist, François-René de Châteaubriand. We remember it as a peaceful Sunday afternoon
excursion and for the medieval festival we encountered by accident in the park beside the castle.
We did a mostly uneventful tour of the castle.
Then we wandered around the booths and watched the performers.
On another day
we visited the town of Vitré. It has very few visitors,
though it is graced with an appealing medieval quarter with a large castle.
We had lunch at
a quaint restaurant in the medieval town.
Joe decided he wanted a lighter meal, so he ordered a salad. This is what he got:
We don't usually
take pictures of our food, but this was so funny we had
to make an exception. Those are thick slices of pâté on each piece of toast.
The medieval castle
of Vitré, begun in the eleventh century, looks very impressive.
Most of what was inside the castle has been demolished, sadly, so there isn't much to see there.
There were these very interesting looking wooden ceilings in the towers, though.
Not far away is
the fascinating place called La Roche aux Fées. The name means "Fairies'
French, but it is a prehistoric dolmen. The stones were mined about 5000 years ago at a site about
4 km away, and dragged here and then hoisted into place, despite their weighing several tons each.
The dolmen is so aligned that at the winter's solstice the sun's rays reach directly through it.
Thirty-one vertical stones form the walls and nine horizontal stones serve as the roof.
As we moved from
our second week's house to our third week's house, we stopped for a few hours
in the city of Rennes. It was an elegant city full of impressive buildings and public squares.
Rennes is situated at the confluence of the Ille and Vilaine Rivers, which flow through the city.
Below left is
the Parlement or Law Courts of Brittany, built in the seventeenth century
--but rebuilt after local fishermen protesting taxes set it on fire in 1994.
It reminded us
very much of Paris, in part because most of it is so new,
rebuilt after a fire in 1720 destroyed much of the medieval town.
We thought this
cantilever, built into the roof of old buildings
and used for lifting goods to the upper stories, looked intriguing.
A few sections of the old town remain.
Also still standing is the medieval gate into the old town, though the walls were demolished long ago.
We visited Rennes
on a Saturday, which is market day, and we've never
seen so large a farmer's market. It stretched for blocks and blocks!
We parked near
this attractive art-nouveau public swimming pool,
and the attendant let us look around inside, which was equally interesting.