Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brittany Bound

On our way to Brittany, we left behind fields of sunflowers and realized that the cold and rain had been tough on them.  Many of the stalks were withered and yellow, yet they struggled valiantly to lift their weary heads towards the elusive sun.

Jutting defiantly into the Atlantic, France's northwest corner has long been culturally and geographically distinct from the main bulk of the country. Known to the Celts as Armorica, the land of the sea, Brittany's past swirls with the legends of drowned cities and Arthurian forests. Prehistoric megaliths arise mysteriously from land and sea, and the medieval is never far from the modern.

A long, jagged coastline is Brittany's great attraction.  Magnificent beaches line its northern shore, swept clean by huge tides and interspersed with well-established seaside resorts, seasoned fishing ports, and abundant oyster beds.  The south coast is gentler, with wooded river valleys and milder climate, while the west, being exposed to the Atlantic winds, has a drama that justifies the name Finistère - the End of the Earth.

Our first stop in Brittany was VANNES on the Gulf of Morbihan.

Café life, despite the weather

Not far from Vannes, we visited the Château de Suscinio (XII - XVI) which is in sad need of repairs.  Designed to be a place of leisure, between the seaside and a forest full of game for hunting, the castle's first logis seigneurial (seigniorial house) dates from the beginning of the 13th century.

SUSCINIO and the English Wars of The Roses:  Between 1471 until 1483, the Castle housed Jasper & Henry Tudor [later King Henry VII of England].  Duc Francois II generously supported this group of exiled Englishmen against all the Plantagenet demands that he should surrender them.

So, for 11 years, Suscinio was an armed camp, alert against any attempt to kidnap Jasper and Henry, and return them to England where they were "under Attainder" and would have been promptly executed, as threats to Yorkist Rule.

The English influence is evident in the area when you look at the thatched roof of this house. Looks like we could be walking in a Cotswold village.

We continued on our journey.  When we arrived in AURAY it was raining, so we just drove around, snapped a few photos of the lovely homes, and went on our way.

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