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

Posts tagged ‘Tourist attractions in 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

Advertisements

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.

Le Telegramme Tresco Trophy ~ part 1

Queuing to go in the lock in Morlaix

Jazz Band

The second lock is full

The Telegramme Tresco Trophy, organised by the Yacht Club de Morlaix,is now en route for Gurnesey.  At about 16:30 this afternoon 1May 113 boats queued up for the lock in Morlaix harbour.  About five locks worth of boats later they were all on route for the open sea and the start of the race.  They were seen off by hundreds of well wishers and a fantastic Jazz band.  For more photos click here.

The safety boat

They are off

The first yachts started their race at about 18:30.  The bigger class of boats were still coming down the river as I returned home to make sure my guests were still content.

www.gites-morlaix.com

Two More Walks and places of interest

PLOUMANACH

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. www.armor-decouverte.fr

See more photos here

ISLE DE BATZ

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

www.iledebatz.net

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 ~ www.gites-morlaix.com

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.

Poires

Figues

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!

Cassis

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.

Potager

Rhodos

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.

Tag Cloud