Monday, June 10, 2013
Thursday, May 30, 2013
We left in a brief of spell sunshine, past the very unusual convex beach of Grand Sables, Groix gleaming greenly in our wake.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Not sure yet what theme I'll rest on, but women and/or death are sure to figure. Admired Mathurin Meheut's drawings of women at work in the museum, which also has an extensive section on the war. I think enough has probably been written already on Sein's contribution there, de Gaulle's admiration and the illustrious honour of the Ordre de la Liberation.
High recommendation for the restaurant at the Hotel Armen, where I had the best cod fillet in seaweed sauce (one of my favourite dishes) ever, plus good homemade bread and home smoked fish with salad to start.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Onward to the coast at the Pointe de Primel (pictured above - with those of the group who wanted a bit of exercise after lunch) where we had a picnic and some walked out to the gouffre or chasm between the butte and the culminating rocky pinnacle. This was an Iron Age éperon barré, or fortified peninsula, where the natural landscape was enhanced by artifical ramparts to form an impressive defensive position, occupied over later centuries by the Vikings, the English, the Spanish (Wars of Religion) and the Germans in WWII. Finally to the neolithic cairn at Barnenez, a site I cannot visit often enough, for a glimpse into the life, death and values of people in Brittany around 4700BC. This monument was called "the Parthenon of the neolothic" by culture minister André Malraux in the 1950s when it was classified as a matter of urgency to stop a predatory developer who had begin dismantling several of the eleven passage graves under the cairn.
Monday, May 13, 2013
J'aime Paimpol et sa falaise
Son eglise et son grand Pardon
J'aime surtout la Paimpolaise
Qui m'attend au pays breton
There are no cliffs around Paimpol, but that rhyme's an irresistible gift ...
Monday, April 29, 2013
The immediate response of the Catholic Church to Renan's statue was to commission the last great calvaire in Brittany, erected on the quay of the Jaudy river at the foot of the hill leading up to Renan's family house and his statue. This lavish monument (complete with lists of donors) is called both the Calvaire of Reparation or the Calvaire of Protestation, depending on your religious stance. Renan's earlier spiritual advisors - for he had been intended for the priesthood, only experiencing a crisis of faith at the very last moment - refused to join the outcry about his book in the 1860s, retaining their affection and respect for him to the last.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Saints Way (Padstow - see Camel estuary above - to Fowey) took form in the 1980s from the discovery of ancient granite stiles in a valley near Luxulyan. These were probably part of an old drovers route but they gave the idea of a north to south coast path that earlier migrants may have followed to avoid dangerous seas around Lands End. The path today connects many Celtic crosses and churches to give character to the saints' theme. From the harbour at Fowey, these Dark Age pilgrims set sail for Brittany, or ultimately for Jerusalem or Compostela.
Also managed quick visits to Penzance and St Ives in the rain before a very welcome meeting with John Fleet of CERES (Centre for European Research within Cornwall) in Truro. Overall it was a fine experience and I added a couple of days in London with my nearest and dearest thanks to the overnight sleeper train from Truro to Paddington. Have to say though, it's good to be home in France.