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New Web Site ~


Nous sommes très heureux d’annoncer le lancement d’un nouveau site internet – CHARME BRETAGNE.

Ce nouveau site est le conséquence de mois de travail par un groupe de membres bénévoles du club.  L’association fédère désormais 41 des plus belles maisons d’hôtes et gîtes de charme de Bretagne.

Nos membres habitent dans les Châteaux, Manoirs, anciens Moulins, Fermes et d’autres bâtiments de charme en Bretagne. Nous ouvrons nos portes aux visiteurs que ce soit dans nos gites ou chambres d’hôtes.

Le nouveau site regroupent toutes nos belles adresses afin que les vacanciers puissent trouver un petit endroit en Bretagne pour un moment de détente et ou de découverte.

Les membres du club sont sélectionnés pour la qualité de leur hébergement mais également pour la qualité de leur accueil. Chaque endroit est unique et plein de charme !

Le site existe en Français et en Anglais. Vous y trouverez des lieux de séjour répartis sur toute la Bretagne. Nous espérons que ce site vous aidera à trouver votre endroit de charme en Bretagne !

A bientôt, nous vous attendons !

We are very pleased to anounce the launch of a new web site called CHARME DE BRETAGNE. The web site is the result of several months work by members of a new  club which has been started by a group of 41 like minded owners of chambres d’hôtes and gites (B&B and self catering holiday homes) in Brittany.

Members of the club  live in Chateaux, Manor Houses, Mill Houses, farms and other historic buildings.   We open our doors to paying guests, be it for a self catering holiday in a gite – often created from lovely out – buildings on site – or in bedrooms in the main house on a B&B basis.

The new web site groups together all of best adresses , in order that the holiday maker may find a little piece of French ambiance and history in which to relax and have a wonderful time.  Each property is run and managed by like minded people, mostly French but a number of English owners,  like us,  are included too. Each property is unique, individual & full of charm.

The web site has been compiled in French and English.  The properties are to be found all over Brittany.  We hope it will  make it easier for people to find somewhere ‘special’ to stay, either for a period of time, or on a touring holiday.

Home owners who do this job enjoy entertaining people and they would love you to stay for more than one night, so that they  can get to know you and so that you can have the time to explore their little corner of France.

Go on…..spoil yourself !

English Pirates raid Morlaix, Brittany!

Attacking through the woods

Pirates ship moored at Coat Amour

A group of nine English pirates successfully returned to their base in Bristol after a profitable raid on Coat Amour, Morlaix, Brittany, today.

On Friday last the pirates fought their way past the Chateau du Taureau and into Coat Amour in Morlaix, mooring their ship behind the chateau.

The fighting continues

They thoroughly searched the grounds for buried treasure, using clues left by two local conspirators.

They soon found the map telling them where the treasure was buried.

Gold pieces of eight were found in some quantities, with other trinkets and precious stones, in a brass bound treasure chest.


Hmmm ~ Yep its Gold!

Pirate ship moored behind the Chateau

Flushed with their success they settled down to a hearty meal on board their ship before turning in for the night!  Aarrh!!

Hearty pirate grub!

Co-incidentally the notorious pirate captain, Henry of Bristol, was celebrating his fourth birthday on the same day.

Walking the plank

Creating a New Web-site ~ Part Two

L’Ecurie ~ front garden and parking

Jean Oriot

Time absolutely flies past when one is busy. It seems like yesterday since I wrote Part One of this blog and yet three weeks have passed by.  In the meantime Jenny and I have spent a few days in Belle Isle en Mer, managed to finish off the decorations to L’Ecurie gite and have given one of our letting bedrooms, that we call Jean Oriot, a thorough make over.  We have some details to finish and maybe a carpet to change, but it looks good, don’t you think?

L’Ecurie ~ Living room

The work schedule was really started by the need to replace the roof covering on the gite.  The nails had rusted badly allowing some of the slates to slide off the roof and the frost had seriously damaged the ridge tiles.  The re-roofing works were done in late February and the roofing company, Gilbert Moal of Cleder, did a marvelous job, on time.  The roof looked smart, but the external paintwork did not look very good at all.

L’Ecurie ~ back garden

This has now been finished, using a different colour scheme of charcoal grey and rust red.  This scheme has beed carried through into the main living room, where we have used a pale and mid-grey colour scheme to compliment both the exterior and the kitchen.  Whilst we were about it we redecorated all the other rooms too!  Jenny and I are thrilled with the results.  For more information on renting this cottage and our chambers d’hôtes ~ click here.

L’Ecurie ~ kitchen/living room

L’Ecurie ~ kitchen


The governess

Jenny and I are constantly surprised by life.  Over new year’s eve we had a charming French couple stay the night.  They live in the Loire valley but it turned out have a holiday house locally and their daughter was having a new years eve party for her friends.  As you might imagine parents and teenage children’s’ parties do not go well together!   Mme left some earrings on the bedside table at Coat Amour and Jenny e-mailed her to say so.  The return e-mail came back with a different name on it than her married name (not at all uncommon in France, and yes they were her earrings). Two days before this we had received an e-mail from an English couple who wished to bring their elderly mother to Morlaix to find a chateau, where her mother had been a governess during the first world war.

We were told the name of the chateau and the name of the family and asked if we could help find where this was. We put the two e-mails together and found that name and chateau matched.  So ~ just a few days ago we were able to take the English couple and their mum to the chateau and walk around the grounds.  Needless to say “elderly mum” was thrilled and moved by the emotional experience.  Jenny and I had a great morning with them sharing a little bit of history and visiting a local private chateau.

Now that is a co-incidence.

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”.

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

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