The drive from the airport to the rented cottage was full of corn fields, wheat and all sorts of crops I could not identify from the road. The little white car called Leon was a weird name that almost coincided with the name of the village. Charming little village awaited us. But that had to be with all sorts of wrong directions…wrong turns, cul de sac, one way, and not to forget the debate generated by the four of us. ” no, this way, no that way, this is a dead end, we’ll end up nowhere” we all burst laughing and giggling but it seemed that the poor driver was being driven crazy. We always carry on like when the four of us are in the car going somewhere. J, would then ask everyone to keep seriously quiet so that he could keep concentrating on the GPS and get us there…which he did anyway in the end. In the back G and I would look at each other with an incredulous smile…yes, he is right!
We all got there in the end to be greeted by a charming little house in a grand estate by the river Rance and dominated by a castle, a quaint and beautiful 13th century abbey with well kept garden and old houses everywhere. The bells of the abbey greeted us with a special charm and sound. They would ring all day. To mark not only the hours except at night, but also to call the flock for the next service. A very devout village indeed! Tho, Brittany is well know for its strong religious roots. The country side is peppered with old castles, churches, abbeys convents or cathedrals. A total heritage of once very fervent folks dominated by the power of the church and royalty.
The garden of the abbey we found out later was replanted with all sorts of medicinal herbs, devoid of roses or other ornamental plants. This was deliberate so that the priests would not be distracted by the smell and the beauty of other flowers except only look at the functionality of plants. To stop and ponder about the beauty of a rose would be according to the curator sacrilege. Too much resemble to a woman. Hahahah! The catholic church so hard and uncompromising. Again a little later i did learn that the priests would not be allowed to get married so that the church would inherit of the houses or the money that were destined to the wife and children. Myth or fact?
Back to the house.
Built in the 18 th century, Val Rive Rose cottage matched the description of the internet. Cosy house, well appointed and chic one might say and quite old with beautiful wooden beams which ornate the ceilings. A little gem that we all loved.
The whole lot of us visited all the floors and decided which room would be allocated to whom. That was done quickly. Peter and I had done a quick shopping before and we were ready to sit down and enjoy wines, pizzas, cheese and cider from the region. A real feast and very privileged to be together again in this magic spot.
We ate in the gardens surrounded by rampant bamboos and all sorts of local species. A majestic cypress dominated the garden and offered a welcomed bit of shade as well as the distinctive smell of its little capsules which, when rubbed would give an exquisite perfume reminiscent of the oil that is slowly burnt and spreading its waves across the room.
A scenic drive along the coast to Cancale where we savoured mussels and oysters with white wine and frites accompanied by a speedy skinny waiter, efficient and friendly.
The next day we were just happy to lounge around the place having a picnic by the river Rance which is just 10 metres from the house. Just lovely sour dough baguette filled with all sorts of goodies. Blackbirds, ducks and other unknown little creature joined us. Nature in these parts is much softer than Australia. A certain sweetness and softness in the air in spite of the full sun was palpable. A little later it was time for G n J to depart back to London. A few days stolen from the chores of the busy capital, London. Away from the crowds, away from the smoke, away from the noises, away from work and its rigours.
Retired School Principal. Loving to work on the land, computers and travels and above all thinking about us humans. I also like to write and share my insights and reflections on life. My life on the farm has brought all sorts of new feelings and blogging about it is a real joy.
View all posts by Gigi