Morlaix and more

Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
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Trip End Jul 13, 2012


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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Friday, June 8, 2012

We left Pont Aven on the south coast of Brittany to drive towards the north coast to a village near Lannion. Here we were to join our friends at the house they have swapped with their house in Brisbane.  After Pont Aven we circled Quimper and then headed north to Pleyben.
 
  
 
A short stop for coffee here and a quick look at the the Parish Close of the Saint-Germain Church.  This huge complex has not only a church but also an ossuary and a huge calvary monument. We have seen many Calvary monuments or 'calvaires' in this area. These public crucifixes vary from one small cross to huge monuments which have not only Christ but any of Mary and the apostles, saints and symbolic figures. The monument at Pleyben is the largest of these in Brittany.
 
From here we drove through an area of National Park. High and hilly, sparsely vegetated, it looked like the moors in England. It was raining, and this gradually became heavier. We had a date to meet our friends in a market, but between road closures and mobile phones that did not communicate, we ended up meeting later at the house.

So now we have the area around where we are living in northern Brittany to explore.  The house is in the country. We see farmers on tractors pass on their way to the fields. From the kitchen window we see a cornfield.  We are only 8 kms from the sea, and about the same from Lannion, the largest town around here. There are many ways of getting anywhere, as there are many little roads and quite a number of villages. Most of them start with Plou - Ploubezre, Plouaret, Plounerin, and more. Here the signs also have the Breton language, just to confuse things a bit more.

Next day: Some days we say we don't want to see any more churches - or cathedrals - or chapels. But then we move on and we get interested again because they are different from what we have been seeing. The church at Lanvellec was similar to what we had seen at Pleyben. These churches are built of a different rock. A rock that is very grey and porous and gets dotted with green lichens. It gives the buildings such an ancient look, and evokes a feeling of times gone by, or at least historical novels.  
 
      
 
Then to Morlaix. A viaduct which was built here in the 19th century for the trains to pass through town dominates the centre. From the low area at the base of the viaduct we climbed uphill, past the Eglise Melaine, to walk across the lower level of this structure. We could see many, many bricks were used to build it, and the views from here let us see way down the valley to the port. Grand houses, built mostly with the proceeds of the profitable linen industry in this area in the 18th century line the port. 
 
   
 
Then uphill again. Past colourful half-timbered and slate roofed houses to a 'lantern house'. The Maison de la Duchesse Anne, built in 1525,  is an example of this type of home. 
 
These houses were influenced by houses with central courtyards in Southern Spain. They obliviously needed some adaptation to suit the often cold wet climate of northern France, so they have an interior courtyard with a fireplace and a stairwell to the the upper stories. The central courtyard allows light into the building and rooms are at the front and behind the central courtyard. The design seems sensible, but the steep and curving stairs would be a challenge to negotiate on a daily basis. But maybe worth it to get light in times when this was not always possible.


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