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  • Day42

    France: river, village, chateau

    July 19, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Started the day with a nice little trip to the station to book our tickets from Nantes to Paris for Friday. Seemed like it'd be much easier this way and we'd be guaranteed a seat. We have to drive to Nantes, about 2 hours away to leave the car. Hoping it all goes like clock work....buying the tickets did, Roge is a bloody expert at this kind of thing. Back down to the Port of Dinan for a boat ride up the river Rance. An hour and half later we had been through a lock, had seen a really nice little village called Lehon that we plan on visiting and learned some interesting history about the river and this area. Roger had found an interesting looking village only a short way from us (the one we wanted to visited the day of the storm) and so we decided to go there, and then onto a chateau in a nearby town. The village, Dol de Bretagne, is known for its massive and very old Cathedral. I have to say I've seen a lot, inside and out, and this one has to be one of my favourites. I'm not much interested in the activities that go on inside, but the architecture. This one was something else. Originally from Roman times, burnt down in 1203, and rebuilt 3 centuries ago in gothic style, it has two impressive towers. Well, one is impressive. The other tower was never completed as the story goes that the devil dismantled overnight whatever construction work had been done during the day. Interestingly, this Cathedral was also part of the towns defences and has crenelated canon walls. We walked around the town, the usual very old medieval houses, some half timbered. Just lovely.
    Onto the Chateau. I have to say, I was surprised. Didn't find out until we leaving that the Chateau is the Arthurian legendary castle of Lancelot, it rests in Merlin the Wizard's magical forest of Broceliande and guards the mystical lake of the sorceress and fairy Queen Viviane the lady of the lake. And what a Chateau it was. It was built in the 11th and 12th century and had a connection with the Cathedral we had just been too. The Chateau is also famous for being the childhood home of Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand. It was completely trashed during the revolution and left unattended for one hundred years. It remains under private ownership of descendants of the original family and is only open by escorted tour. I had forgotten how boring those tours are when they're all in French. Nonetheless, a very interesting and remarkable Chateau, with a few interesting stories. Apparently back in the day it was the "thing" to include a black cat in the walls of any new section of construction (a living one) to chase out bad spirits. When undertaking some recent reno's they uncovered the mummified body of one poor kitty. The believed some weird shit back in medieval days. The Chateau is in 62 acres of parkland with a magnificent tree lined driveway- I imagine it was heavily forested back then. Would have looked fantastic.
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