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Archive for May, 2011

Two More Walks and places of interest


I love to go to Ploumanac’h.  The little port is beautiful and for a sailor, the entrance into the harbour looks awesome.  If you decide to go and have a look for your yourselves, I suggest trying to park in the port area, as there are plenty of spaces to park.  Then follow the road (anti-clockwise round the port) and then right up the foot path near the Bureau du Port. You will then have a super little walk around the headland and back into the centre of Ploumanac’h.  There is a lovely little statue near the top of the beach.  It will attract you with its round shape … As you approach, you notice there is a small monument: the oratory of Saint-Guirec. This curious edifice, built on a pile of rocks and submerged by the waves at high tide, originated in the 12th century.

Chateau Coastaeres a Ploumanach

The statue of Saint Guirec was very popular with sailors’ wives who came to pray for the return of their husbands, and he was admired as much by the girls.
A caption read,  that if they were able to stick a needle in the nose of the saint who sat there, they would be married within the year.  The original wooden statue became so damaged that the parish eventually replaced this with a copy statue made of granite.

Admire the chateau on the island off the beach.  Enjoy a fantastic ‘fruit de mer’ in the cafe overlooking the beach.  Walk a little further around the footpath (Sentier des Douarniers) towards Perros Guirec and have a close look at the little lighthouse and the fantastic lifeboat station in the cove around the corner.  If you are exhausted, there is a shortcut back to your car using the roads via the centre of the village.

Les Sept Iles, or the seven islands, are one of the most important bird sancturies in Brittany. These islands lie just off the coast and you will see them on this walk.  Half – day boat trips leave from Perros Guirec and Ploumanac’h. The islands are home to many species including puffins and petrels.

See more photos here


This little island is just offshore from the town of Roscoff.  If you came to Brittany via Roscoff ferry terminal you will have passed it by on the way in.  From the centre of the town take a water taxi from the port to the island. It is a 10 ~ 15 minute trip.  On the island you will find bicycles for hire, or in less than a full day you can walk around the island and soak up the atmosphere of the sea and land together.  It is a super place to go with some nice restaurants and you can climb up the lighthouse tower and enjoy the view.

Next weekend, 29 May 2011,  is the local festival of the pommes de terres (potatoes).  These are early spuds and they are small but delicious.  Look at these websites:-

Porz Kernok ~ Isle de Batz

Dimanche 29 mai, a fer a flots  sera sur l’île de Batz pour la fête de la pomme de terre. Apéro paysan, expositions, ventes de légumes.. Il reste des places.  On Sunday 29 May a Feraflot trip will be going to the festival of the first crop of potatoes.  There will be an exhibition and sale of vegetables.

There are still some places remaining on this trip ~ hurry now!

See more photos here

Our web site ~

La Maison du Jardinier

It seems like yesterday that we arrived in Morlaix, and yet so much water has passed under the bridge that it is  difficult to remember what and when things happened.

La Maison du Jardinier ~ before works

We have taken lots, maybe thousands, of photos of most of our adventures here.  If like us, you are pretty chaotic about labeling and categorising the good photos and dumping the bad ones then you will realise that eventually you just have to do something.

We have just started to scratch the surface of this task and have put all of our photos associated with La Maison du Jardinier in one electronic album.  It was looking at the photos that reminded me  what a rush it had been to create this gite.

The oak frame has been errected

Think of the TV programmes “So you think you want to live in France”, or the “Grand Designs” one.  These are the programmes where things go wrong, dates and costs go awry and guests arrive to stay as you finish the last coat of paint on the front door.  I thought at one time that the programmes were a wind up.  Now I am not so sure, it happened to us when we converted La Maison du Jardinier into a gite.

La Maison du Jardinier ~ now

It all started with the builder not starting on the date agreed.  Two months later, at the beginning of April 2006, he had still not started, so we cancelled our arrangements with him and decided to go it alone.  We had already taken bookings for the end of July and most of August!.  The local suppliers and sub-contractors, family and friends did us proud and in the event we were only a week late.  It would be a considerable understatement to  say that the last week and particularly the last night was a bit frantic.  It is history now, of course, and many happy famillies have enjoyed their holidays in the cottage.  Ah memories, and all stimulated by lots of photos!

Living room colours

Why don’t you click here and see the building develop  from start to finish.

Thinking about the style and colour schemes for the little cottage was enormous fun.  The  building is fairly old and possibly dates from when the house was first built in 1805. We think it was a gate house to the estate as the road ran up from Morlaix through what is now our back path, before the route de Paris was built and the new entrance made to the estate. We were told that the previous owner and his wife allowed an elderly man to live there and in exchange he did sone gardening. Thus the name, La Maison du Jardiner was an obvious choice for the little house and it gave Jenny a good basis for some interesting interior design.

WW II murals

Mon Jardin ~ Everything in the garden is ROSY!

Des Roses

The weather that most of us are enjoying in northern Europe has brought everything in the garden forward by about a month.  All our roses are out, including all of the lovely old French perfumed roses that we cut for the house.  These are even better this year as we managed to spray them sufficiently often at the beginning of the year with “repulsif” that deters the visiting chevreuil from eating the buds and soft shoots.

Perhaps the only, and rather minor, complaint about the weather, that I have, is that everything seemed to flower at once earlier on this year.  We had snowdrops, primroses, daffs, wood anenomes, wild orchids, azalias, magnolias and the rhodos all at the same time. It was a shame that we did not have more clients to enjoy the spectacle.

Tulipier fleures

Normally our four huge tulip trees flower on about 3 June (Precisely!). They are beginning to flower now and will be an absolute sight in a few days time.  They are huge trees and covered in what seems like thousands of beautiful creamy yellow and orange tulips.  Our red squirrels used to love them and spent hours chattering away in the tree tops and throwing the debris all over the drive.  Alas the cold winter seems to have killed the squirrels off, or perhaps they chose to move on to pastures new, we shall never know.



We are taking part again this year in the  garden open scheme “Bienvenue dans mon Jardin”on the 5 June, organised by les Jardiniers de France.  I rather fear that all the flowering trees and shrubs normally out at that time will be over.  Our garden does tend to have a biase towards spring and autumn. We have lots of flowers in the spring and a wonderful array of autumn colours in September and October.  Still the garden should be varying shades of green and the grass should be cut.

Despite the dry weather the weeds continue to grow and the brambles continue to flourish despite all our hard work.  Our large garden mower refused to start yesterday and I thought that I could manage for now with a smaller one.  I had hoped to wait for another day to repair it.  Then this afternoon I ran over a projecting tree root with the smaller lawn mower and bent something underneath, turning the mower into a rather effective plough ~ aargh!.  Perhaps everything in the garden is not quite so rosy as I first thought!


Jenny picked a huge bowl of strawberries this afternoon, so roll on breakfast, they are yummy with cereals.  Our guests should enjoy them too.  The figs are bigger than I can ever remember at this time of year, and the pears and apples look promising too.  We have planted two female and one male kiwi plants this year and look forward to seeing how these will flourish at Coat Amour.  They take up quite a bit of space, but the experiment should prove worthwhile.  Our friend Barry and Heather Cummings have Kiwis in their garden and gave us the plants as a Christmas present ~ so thanks to both.



We have not had much rain really for a few weeks now.  The veg patch is starting to cry out for water.  The plants that were put in several weeks ago are pretty well established.  I fear more for the recently planted leeks, cucumbers, and lettuce.  There is supposed to be a bit of a water shortage and watering the garden is soon to be prohibited.  We do have an underground cistern that holds about 125 cu metres of water, that is collected off the roof of the manor house. I can see that I shall have to invest in a pump and run hoses all over the garden.

Épreuves de voile à Morlaix – Sailing Events in Morlaix

Stripping varnish

Jenny and I moved to Morlaix for many reasons, the house was beautiful, the location ideal for a B&B and Gite business and a marina in which to moor our boat “Silent Flight”, and to go sailing.The business has occupied more time than originally envisaged, and sailing has been seriously curtailed.  Jenny did tell me so!!!  Every year I prepare the boat for the season and watch as boats are taken out of the water and put back in all ready to go sailing.

L’atmosphère festive qui entoure le TELEGRAMME TRESCO TROPHEE commencera le week-end du 28 mai  avec l’arrivée de très nombreux voiliers qui viennent participer à la course et qui vont rejoindre tous ceux qui sont déjà dans le port.

Le depart ~ Chateau de Taurau

Dès 16 heures, le mercredi 1er juin, les concurrents rejoindront les écluses, remonteront la magnifique rivière de Morlaix  pour se présenter  sur  la ligne de départ, à proximité du Château du Taureau. N’hésitez pas à venir encourager les équipages qui vont prendre le départ d’une longue navigation de nuit pour rallier Guernesey. Les différents sas seront animés par une fanfare de Carantec qui sera là également au retour.

Le depart

St Peter Port

Vous pouvez également suivre la remontée de la rivière sur le parking du château de Lannuguy (le château blanc), le long de la corniche jusqu’à Locquénolé  et évidemment à Carantec à la Pointe de Pen al Lann.
Mais vous pouvez également aller à la Pointe de Barnenez en passant par Plouézoc,h. Vous aurez un merveilleux point de vue sur la flotte qui s’élance vers le large.
La flottille du TELEGRAMME TRESCO TROPHEE représente environ 650 équipiers qui vont donc naviguer de nuit pour atteindre Guernesey, y séjourner 48 heures, pour les plus rapides, et revenir, le samedi matin vers PERROS-GUIREC et reprendre la mer le dimanche 5 juin pour rallier Morlaix et remonter jusqu’au port. Le dimanche soir la fête se termine à Langolvas par un buffet au cours duquel les résultats sont proclamés et les récompenses attribuées.

Le dimanche 5 juin les écluses s’ouvriront dès 19 heures.


The carnival festival that surrounds the Telegramme Tresco Trophy commences on the weekend of 28 May with the arrival of many yachts, to join those that have their home in the port of Morlaix.

At about 16 :00 on Wednesday 1 June the competing yachts will squeeze into the lock before running down the magnifcent estuary to the start line close to the Château de Taureau.  Do not hesitate to come and cheer the boats and crew off on their first long trip to Guernesey, a distance of about 73 miles.  There are a number of really good viewing places from which to do this, both at the start and on their return on Sunday 5 June.


You can try the parking space opposite the château de Lannuguy ( white château ), or along the corniche at Locquenole, in Carantec at the Pointe de Pen al Lann, or even at the Point de Barnenez near to Plouezoch (opposite side of the estuary).

There will be approximately 650 members of crew participating in the race.  The course will take them direct to Guernsey, followed by a 48 hours rest and then a race to Perros-Guirec, and the following day a race back to Morlaix.  The lock at Morlaix will open at about 19 :00 on Sunday 5 June.  The event will be rounded off by a party, with buffet and a prizegiving.

“Entre Terre et Mer”~ 28 – 31 Juillet 2011

Ballades nautiques, courses, animations autour du patrimoine culturel et naturel… Le Trégor et le Léon prendront des airs de fête du 28 au 31 juillet prochains avec le nouveau festival “Entre Terre et Mer”.

Mettre en avant une complémentarité historique entre marins et terriens. Renouer avec les traditions ancestrales qui ont permis aux hommes et aux femmes de la baie de Morlaix d’y vivre et d’y travailler. S’appuyer sur le ballet entraînant de voiliers cabotant de ports en mouillages pour redécouvrir les trésors cachés d’une région rare. C’est ce que propose “Entre Terre et Mer”, nouvel événement maritime lancé sous l’impulsion du Télégramme et de l’Association Terre et Mer en Baie de Morlaix.

Cette manifestation, qui se déroulera du 28 au 31 juillet 2011, est née de la volonté de mettre en lumière toute la diversité du patrimoine culturel et naturel de la Baie de Morlaix.

De Roscoff au Diben, en passant par Saint-Pol de Léon, Carantec, Térénez, Le Dourduff et Morlaix, de nombreuses animations ludiques et pédagogiques seront proposées au public à terre et en mer. Elles permettront de découvrir l’éventail des activités humaines de ce territoire, de l’agriculture à l’ostréiculture, en passant par les chantiers navals, le ramassage du goémon, …

Les bateaux de la Baie au cœur de la fête

Répartis en différentes flottilles, les bateaux participeront également à l’événement. Ils évolueront d’escale en escale pendant ces 4 jours et navigueront en baie, à la journée, à l’occasion de courses, de randonnées ou de balades nautiques, sur des parcours différents.

Si les grands voiliers, les bateaux de travail, de la belle plaisance ou les voile-avirons seront à l’honneur, un soin tout particulier sera apporté à la mise en avant des bateaux originaires de la Baie de Morlaix : cotres de Carantec, Cormorans, goémoniers…

“Entre Terre et Mer”.  Between Land and Sea.

This a new event proposed for the period between 28 ~ 31 July 2011.  The proposal is to combine in one festival a mix of maritime and land based events representing the history of sail , boat building, fishing, collection and farming of Oysters, moules, seaweed, and the land based based farming traditions of the areas both sides of the Bay of Morlaix, namely Le Trégor et le Léon.  If the superb events, of a similar nature, held at Douarnenez and in the Gulf de Morbihan are anything to go by this should prove to be something really spectacular.  There will be sailing events for many different types and size of older style of boat.  At different times these boats will be in Roscoff, St Pol de Leon, Carantec, Morlaix, Le Dorduff, Terenez and Le Diben.  I can’t wait!  I am very tempted to enter Silent Flight.

Small Walks and Things to do and see

New knee bits

You know, I find that getting on a bit in years does make life a bit difficult sometimes. It is especially so when you still think like a 21 year old ~ well nearly !!  Well I have had to have a new knee, Jenny has had her toes done and so for us walking long distances is just not on.  So I thought that those readers with sympathetic traits might like some ideas for a gentle day out.

A gentle walk near Carentec

We can lend you some detailed maps to help you with your enjoyment.

Isle de Louet ~ lighthouse

It takes about 15 minutes to drive to Carentec along the beautiful coast road via Loquenole.  On approaching the centre of Carantec turn right at the second round about towards the Point de Penlan.  You will drive through a lovely suburban part of Carantec, straight across a mini roundabout until you reach the tennis club on the left.  Park just beyond this on the right and retrace your steps until you are opposite the tennis club.  Here you will find a rather overgrown Arboretum.  Entrance is free and you can walk down through the arboretum to the coast.  You will arrive at the bottom of the hill on a road/coastal path.  Here there is an Oyster farm shop selling delicious oysters and other crustaceans.  If that is not for you, walk east along the footpath (turn left at the base of the hill).  After some while you will pass the end of the promontary with amazing views across the Baie de Morlaix toward the Château du Taureau and the little lighthouse on the Isle de Louet.  In the distance, across the bay, is Terenez and Le Diben, whilst on the horizon you can just see Treburden.  If this is enough walking for you, follow the footpath directly up the hill to your car.  If not continue on the coastal path.  At the next headland it is again possible to return directly to your car.  Continue on the coastal path and you will find yourselves on the lovely main beach at Carantec and a selection of beach side cafes where you can  quench your thirst and or hunger.

Baie de Morlaix ~ from Roscoff

Château du Taureau

I think that this is a must see if you are going to stay at Coat Amour for any time.  In the medaeval times the English and French sailors of a piratical disposition spent some of their time raiding each other’s ports.  The Château du Taureau was built in XVI century to keep the English out of Morlaix.  It is a very special place, well restored, and a superb example of a defensive castle.  You should go and see it,  children and adults alike will enjoy the experience.  Parts of the château are subtly annotated  in English as well as French and you will understand the history of the place.  Boat trips go to the château from  Carentec, Roscoff and Plougasnou (Port du Deben).   See for further info.

Chateau du Taureau


This is a super seaside town with a little port, and excellent sandy safe beach and some good cafes/restaurants.  In fact something for most relaxed holiday makers.  It is only twenty minutes by car from Coat Amour.  For a good post lunch walk we suggest leaving the port and following the road past the church and the post office out toward the point.  The views towards St Michel en Greve and Treburden are marvellous and the going easy.  This little walk takes you anti clockwise around the coast and brings you back to the large north facing beach on the far side of the town.  It is a short walk back to the port via the church.

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