48 degrees, 51 minutes and 57.19 seconds North.....3 degrees, 14 minutes and 3.30 seconds West
Lannion Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
Mark sat on our bed at "Le Grand Chêne", feverishly tapping a list of lattitude and longitude points into his GPS while I looked out the window, daring the clouds to dump another load on the already soggy terrain.
"André and I have discussed some "must see" places for our tour of the countryside", he said. "I've put the locations in numerical order so we can drive in a circle that will bring us back to Lannion by early evening", he added.
As my "techie" husband never leaves anything to chance, he was able to diplomatically relieve me of any map reading duties on this trip into unknown regions. This was our day to be spontaneous in our choice of sightseeing locations and with the help of our native Breton friend, André, we were stoked for some breathtaking sights along the "Pink Granite Coast".
The drive through the countryside led us down narrow roads separating field after field of what looked like cabbage or cauliflower. "How can the French eat so much of this stuff", we asked ourselves. Not a single field of "roasting ears" would be found on our journey today!
I was intrigued by the differences I had observed during my travels, between French fields, English fields and even American fields. In my home country of the U.S.A., the flat, treeless farmland, planted with crops for as far as the eye could see, were separated by barbed wire or sometimes wooden fences.
The British landscape undulated with planted hedgerows or meticulously stacked stone walls, prompting those well worn comments of "how quaint" from the American tourists who actually ventured outside of the city.
No fences or walls separated the countryside in this part of France. A gentle mound of earth, overgrown with thicket and grass, snaked across fields and along the narrow lanes, looking much like soil that was displaced by an enormous mole tunneling just below the surface. Occasionally, at an intersection of roads, one would find a large stone cross erected to commemorate memories that had slowly worn away as the words eroded with time.
As the road narrowed to a path, winding through gigantic boulders and scrub brush, we reached our destination of "the house between the rocks". This may be the only "claim to fame" for the town of Plougrescant. When we would later tell any of our French friends where we had traveled and prefaced it with, "that place with the house built between the rocks", they never failed to come up with the name we could never remember, much less pronounce.
Call me a wimp but I couldn't see any sense in standing outside in gale force winds, close to the freezing point, any longer than it took to snap a picture. I marveled at the hearty souls who were meandering through the rocks, walking around the shoreline and along the half mile walkway, just to get to the caves along the other side of the coast. With my ears aching from the cold and my head wrapped in my long woolen scarf, I hurried back to the car to thaw out in the warmth of the car heater.
In search of some famous half timbered buildings and a hot lunch, we followed our GPS to the town of Tréguier. Even though it was Saturday, the streets were deserted except for those who were also in search of a midday repast.
Another day, another crêperie and Mark was getting a bit bored with the idea of another pancake, stuffed with....... whatever..... I, on the other hand, could eat a crêpe anytime of the day. Sort of like a burrito, really, except with fancier cheese and no refried beans....hmmmm.
We resisted the temptation to climb the winding street of cobblestones that passed the half timbered buildings next to our restaurant. No sense disrupting our meal so soon after eating and we still had three more stops to make before nightfall.
The Abbaye de Beauport sits in the small town of Paimpol, just a few miles........kilometers from Tréguier. I just assumed it was a small town since I didn't see any Le Clerc supermarché or McDonalds upon our approach to the outskirts.
The Abbaye, or what is left of it, sits within a lovely wooded park, surrounded with walkways that lead out into the fields and up to the small cove that backs up to the buildings. The ruins are attached to a large manor house, (that could also use a bit of work), which was covered in scaffolding, indicating that the owners were also of the same opinion.
We nosed around the back of the ruins, only to see more locals taking in a bit of fresh air as they strolled the grounds and adjoining field. I never cease to be amazed by the number of Europeans who spend their afternoons wandering around in fields with no obvious agenda but to enjoy their surroundings! I applaud their ability to enjoy themselves in any weather condition and only wish that I could follow their example.
We were told by our friend, André, that our next stop, Pontrieux, was beautifully situated along a river that ran through the town. The ladies, in years past, had scrubbed their laundry on the rocks that had been built up alongside of the river. The stone enclosures remain but the area is now used for recreation, with walkways and a playpark for children along one side. As with all the towns along this coastal area, there is a local harbor lined with deserted sailboats, waiting for the population to swell once again with the coming of summer and the influx of tourists. We were fortunate in the timing of our visit, if only to beat the crowds that sometimes made these resort areas unbearable
Our final destination for this weekend outing would be another small town built of stone and half timbered wood.