Jenny and Stafford's amazing blog site ~ http://www.gites-morlaix.com/

Archive for September, 2011

Bike hire in Morlaix / location de velo a Morlaix.

No Nellie ~ Stay!

Bike hire in Morliax / location de vélo a Morlaix.

A super new facility is available to visitors to the town. A bicycle hire shop has been set up in the ex -tourist information office, which was formally a railway station building.  Conveniently situated just close to the viaduct, in the Place des Otages, the shop is called the ‘Pavillon de la randonnée.’  It is open all year from 9am until 7 pm, including lunch times (closed on Sundays except in July and August)

C’est possible  à louer des vélos au centre ville de Morlaix. Le Pavillon de la randonnée est situé tout près du viaduc dans l’ancien office de tourisme, Place des Otages.   Les horaires sont 9 hrs au 19 hrs tous les jours.  (Fermé  le dimanche, sauf juillet et aout)

Quelques différents modèles sont disponibles.  Vélos pour les enfants entre 6 et 12 ans.  Several types of bicycle are available, including bikes for children from the age of 6 – 12 yrs.

VTT  – Vélo tout terrain  – off roader

VTC – Vélo tout chemin  – mixed off roader and city bike.

VAE – Vélo assistance électrique.  Electric bike for adults.

It is also possible to hire a trailer for children ( UNE REMORQUE)  a baby seat (9 – 20 kilos)( PORTE – BEBE) and basket / saddlebags. ( PANIER / SACOCHE)

On peut louer les remorques, porte bébé ( 9 – 20 kilos) paniers ou sacoche.

Bicycles are hired with a helmet and luminous vests. Une casque et une veste lumineuse  sont inclus avec la location.

A family who stayed with us in August about to set off on an excursion!

It is advisable to reserve in advance for the summer season. Vaut mieux réserver en avance pendant la saison estivale.

For information and prices/ renseignements et prix :

Contact Yannick Le Fuc . e mail velo.rando@tourisme.morlaix.fr 0033 ( 0) 2 98 63 87 82

The Grand Railway Viaduct in Morlaix

Before the inauguration of the railway from Paris to Brest in 1865 it took 72 hours to travel to Paris on horseback and only 32 hours by boat.

The railway between Paris and Rennes was completed in 1857.  The Western Railway Company wanted to extend the railway line to Brest through the centre of Brittany.  Such a route would have avoided the construction of many large viaducts over the deep valleys of the northern coast.  The towns of Morlaix, St Brieuc and Guingamp objected to this proposal.  They argued that by taking the railway through the least populated parts of Brittany the railway would lose more trade than if they built it along the north coast.  Eventually Napoleon III made the decision that the railway had to be built to pass along the north coast to serve St Brieuc, Guingamp and Morlaix.

It was decided that the railway station serving Morlaix would be built on St Martin’s Hill at the end of a new viaduct.  The construction of the viaduct took 900 men two and half years, between 1861 and 1863, to build.  It was the biggest construction site of the day in France, similar now to the recent construction of the viaduct at Milau.

In 1861 the top of the harbour at Morlaix finished close to site of the new viaduct.  Stone from the quarries arrived by boat and were carved to shape on the quayside.  These stones were used in the external facing to the viaduct.

The stones used in the interior of the structure are not carved and irregular in shape.  This makes the structure of the viaduct more flexible and more able to resist the pounding and vibrations generated by trains passing over it.  All the building materials were lifted into position by steam crane.

When this railway line was built the construction of the railway embankment just north of Coat Amour effectively cut off the spring water feeding the leat that powered the watermill belonging to the estate.

When Jenny and I moved to Coat Amour we found a surveyors map, dating from 1863.  The map shows the line and levels of the then proposed railway line from Morlaix to Concarneau passing though the estate.  It fell into disuse and is now a Voie  Verte (public footpath) that passes right alongside Coat Amour.  It is a marvellous resource and we often go for a stroll along it with Phoebe our dog.  Many of our guests use it for an early morning run, whilst others arrive by bicycle via this Voie Verte.  The map, bye the way, is framed and on the staircase going up to the first floor.

Mediaeval Houses in Morlaix


Morlaix is fortunate in that it has managed to retain approximately one hundred and twenty 15th and 16th century timber framed buildings.   La Maison du Pondalez is a typical Morlaisian house, built in the 16th century and then inhabited by a nobleman.

 

 

La Maison du Pondalez is located in the heart of Morlaix, in the street called “la grand rue”.  It was, and still is, a commercial street where, in the past, the linen traders were found.  In those days the harbour in Morlaix was very active and the trade in linen contributed towards the great wealth of the town, and the area.

The 14th century “War of Sucessions” made many noblemen poor.  Those who wanted to trade in linen, to earn money, had to give up their noble titles in order to do so.  By surrendering their nobility they also gave up many privileges but felt ashamed to have to do this.

In order to make themselves feel, and appear, more important they built themselves splendid homes, whose architecture was inspired by their rural manor houses.  The interior designs of these houses are unique in the world, and a very special feature.

Front Elevation

These timber framed houses are called “maisons a pan-de-bois” or “a columbages”.  The space between the timber frames is rendered with a mixture of clay and straw, or sometimes horse or cow hair.  The outside face of this is covered with a lime wash to help keep out rain water.

This house has three floors, and each floor projects forward in front of the one below and is called corbelling.

Do you know why corbelling is used in the design?   ≈ It serves as a form of protection for the house, reducing solar gain, by creating shadow, and it helps to stop rain water running down the face of the building.

The distance between similar houses on either side of a street is about 5.8m at ground floor level and only about 3.3m on the top floor.   Some timber framed houses have had slates hung on their facades to keep rain water out.  La Maison du Pondalez  house does not, however, it is possible to see many nearby that do.

On the front of this house there are many sculptures and it is possible to imagine how wonderful this street must have looked when all the houses had such statues.

On the first floor there is the statue representing “L’Annonciation” or “Lady Day”, with the Angel Gabriel on the left and the Virgin Mary on the right.  The two statues in the middle represent two angels playing music.  Together these represent both themes normally found in sculpture, namely religion and feasts.

On the second floor there are the statues of St Jacques, St Laurent, St Nicolas and Ste Barbe.  Sainte Barbe is the protectress saint of the town of Roscoff.  Sainte Barbe is also the patron saint of firemen   So the sculpture of Sainte Barbe on this house acted as a good luck charm against the possibility of fire.  Wooden houses, built so close together, burn very easily, however, the designers incorporated stone walls between each house to prevent the spread of fire.

Inside La Maison du Pondalez the unique architecture is split into three parts:

1.  The Booth (shop) was where business was done.  Goods or commodities were presented for sale on a stall.  When the shop was closed for business the stall became a shutter.  This one was restored completely a few years ago  The stained glass windows have been restored too, using the original methods of construction.  It is made up of little pieces of blown glass set into lead cames (H shaped pieces of lead that clamp the glass between the wings of the H).

The original windows opened outwards, unlike most windows do in France today, and the hooks are still there that fixed them open and served to prevent them from banging.

2. The Manor Room was a common space, inspired by the design of the Breton manor houses.  This space is unique as it provides a central atrium running up through the house from ground floor to the underside of the roof.  There are spiral staircases linked by little bridges called “pont d’allees” or “pondalez”.  This Breton word means “landing” or “corridor”.

3. The Back Room was either a bedroom or cellar.  It’s exact function is not really known.

Click here for more photos

 

Maison de la Duchess Anne

 Anne de Bretagne, who was born and lived in Nantes, was crowned Duchess of Brittany (Duchess Anne) on 10 February 1489.  Duchess Anne was twice Queen of France, having married Charles VIII in December 1491 and then Louis XII in January 1499.

In June 1505 she decided to visit her region, and when she visited Morlaix she was received with acclaimed and made most welcome.

This house is called “the Duchess Anne House”, not because Duchess Anne stayed here, she did not, but the house was new when she visited Morlaix, and has been known by this name ever since.

We can see many sculptures on the front elevation, representing one of the most common themes: “the feast”.

Early Booking Offer

Bretagne

A big hello to all of our Blog readers.

Brittany Ferries will be introducing an early booking offer on or soon after 19 September that will last through until 31 October 2011.  The early booking offer will provide a 25% saving on car and passenger fares with Brittany Ferries instead of the usual 20%, available to our customers.  So take advantage of this offer and come and see us here in beautiful Brittany.  Take an night ferry, even better have a commodore class cabin with breakfast in bed, arrive in St Malo or Roscoff followed by a gentle drive to Coat Amour.  Spring is a wonderful time to visit us, the garden will be full of primroses and daffodils, the magnolias will be if flower, together with a host of other flowering shrubs and trees.  Come, relax and let us help you to throw off the winter blues.  As a little incentive we are offering a stay four days at Coat Amour for the price of three between the 12 March and 13 April 2012.

Primroses at Coat Amour

Entre Terre et Mer ~ Baie de Morlaix 2011

What a tour de force!  As someone looking at the event from the outside what a success.  Morlaix town centre was closed off to vehicles for a period of time and the exhibits representing the local agriculture and fishing communities were at their best.  It was equally true in Roscoff, St Pol de Leon, Carantec, Le Dorduff, Ternenez and Le Diben.  I managed to get two days leave and took my boat ‘Silent Flight’ to her allocated mooring in the channel between Roscoff and the Isle de Batz.

  

Our friends John and Hilary came over from the UK.  John and I spent two great days on the boat diving in and out of the thick sea mist on the first day and then on Saturday, as the mist lifted we joined  all of the other fantastic boats sailing close to the Chateau du Taureau, before the grand parade up the river into Morlaix town.

The events on land were marvellous, with super exhibitions of farm animals, old and new farm tractors and equipment.  Roll on next time.

See more photos

Connections ~ or maybe not!

Technology is so irritating to the uninitiated like me.  You think that you understand a technical problem, set everything up and bingo it works ~ wow, marvellous.  Then the next day, or more probably some days or weeks later you try the same thing ~ simple you say, but no, you cannot access the app, or the software because you’ve forgotten the password!!  Sometimes the automatic systems you initiated at the beginning, when you thought that you understood what was what, doesn’t work any more.  This is where I find myself now.  Question – will this blog find its way automatically onto my Facebook page?  It ought to, it used to to, but did not with several of my latest blogs ~ aargh.  So instead of a continuing rant, and several hours of removing and reinitiating the link, I am trying again with this blog.  Just to make it worthwhile I am including a sentence and a photo of the super Fete de Quartier (neighbours party) that we hosted at Coat Amour yesterday.  The weather was great, warm and sunny, the neighbours were all on form, and we had a good time.  Luck shone down on us as it rained on Saturday night, the weather was brilliant on Sunday and one hour after we packed up it rained again!

Fete du Quartier

Tag Cloud