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

Posts tagged ‘Balades Morlaix’

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

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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”.

One of the best things to do in Morlaix

I have already commented briefly on the local all day trip from Morlaix called “A fer et a flots”  Look at a my previous blogs dated 18 April and 1 May 2011.  The trip has been documented by the French TV channel TF1 and is well worth looking at.  If you cannot speak any French, please do not worry as I am sure you will get the gist of the whole thing, the pictures and the happy faces tell the story very well.  Really it is a fabulous day out ~ to be recommended ~ It is rated with the Taylor’s **** stars!

Chateau de Taureau

Click here to see the video

Roscoff

To recap on the day’s adventure:

You will leave Morlaix either by boat or by train, dependant upon the time and state of the tides.

You will go to Roscoff, a charming little town and well worth the visit on its own.  Do not think this is just a ferry port and ignore it.

You will go to the Isle de Batz, a great place to walk around, to hire bicycles, to enjoy the eating places or just go to the beach.

You will pass the island bird sanctuaries, the super little light house called Isle Louet and the Chateau du Taureau.  The chateau is a formidable fortress built especially to keep the English out !  Again this is a great visit in its own right. It has been renovated to a high standard.

You will come home after a very interesting, entertaining and super family day out, and maybe even a little tired.

The must haves are ~ warm clothes to wear on the boat (just in case) and sun tan cream.

Isle de Batz

Food is not included on the trip so be prepared with your own picnic or choose somewhere to eat on the Isle de Batz.

Click here for more info and to book.

Bienvenue dans mon Jardin

Magnolia

Reportage par Le Telegramme ~ Morlaix 

Jardins. Les trésors du patrimoine naturel

6 juin 2011

Du côté du manoir de Coat Amour, les curieux venus arpenter les cinq hectares du parc ont pu découvrir un espace magnifique jalonné de bouleaux, de pins, de hêtres. Ils ont été accueillis par le charmant couple britannique, propriétaire du domaine depuis 2004, Jenny et Stafford Taylor. Avec un délicieux accent «so british», Jenny nous confie qu’elle est «très heureuse de recevoir les Morlaisiens» dans ses jardins. Stafford estime qu’il y a eu «près de 200 personnes à être passées depuis ce matin». Très fiers de leur parc qu’ils entretiennent eux-mêmes, ils reconnaissent que les conditions climatiques exceptionnelles ont assuré une floraison très précoce, magnifiant ainsi les lieux pour le plus grand plaisir des visiteurs.

Photos

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 www.chateaudutaureau.com for further info.

Chateau du Taureau

Loquirec

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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