Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
|Rochers at St-Guenolé|
The lethal lower rocks all around the nearby Pointe de Penmarc'h featured in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale, and we finished up beside them at the magnificent Phare Eckmuhl, built at the end of the 19th century to mitigate the threats this treacherous coast poses to passing shipping. Lovely warm, sunny day to enjoy this unusual area, which features in the Coast chapter of my forthcoming book: Brittany, a cultural history.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
The advantage of this circuit is the almost flat level of the whole thing, offering a long walk to those whose knees may not appreciate the usual very up and down Breton terrain. There are also great views of all the highest hills in Brittany, without the need to climb them. Crossing the Yeun Elez, often on wooden walkways, gives a close experience of the peaty tourbières characteristic of this area, in contrast with the upper heaths or landes. Here you are crossing the cradle of Breton legend as well as a distinctive landscape.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
On the other hand I don't have a firm publication date from Signal Books for 'Brittany: a cultural history,' but it is being edited at the moment and I've just seen the cover for the first time, so things are happening over there in Oxford.
Monday, March 17, 2014
The French friend I was with had not visited this area before so we did some sights, including the Menhir de Champ Dolent. I have been pretty underwhelmed by Dol-de-Bretagne's treatment of tourists and distortion of history on many previous visits, but yet another example can be seen at this famous menhir, one of the best known in Brittany and a feature of various TV films needing a bit of mysterious atmosphere. The new noticeboard is a jokey cartoon of the legendary origin of the menhir - no information whatsoever about the actual historical date and context of the stone, but only a silly story drawn in (dated) comic book style. What a pathetic service to offer visitors! Apparently no-one is capable of understanding or appreciating anything unless it is whimsical and trivial. Dol must be the dumbed-down capital of Brittany.
|Statue of Chateaubriand below the chateau|
Sunday, March 09, 2014
There are many little cairns of stones along the paths to the top, gradually built up by modern walkers and pilgrims. Some want to mark their own passage, out of a sense of personal achievement or in the age-old way of men determined to mark the landscape with evidence of their ability to conquer it. The inspiration of the neolithic megaliths is all around in this part of Brittany. Others are honouring elemental deities and nature itself, for it is on the moor on such a day as today that one is forcefully aware of the interplay of earth, air, fire and water.