Ok, so the first train was in England heading from Clapham to Portsmouth, rather than France but arrived at the Port on a perfect late summer’s evening to see the sun setting as we sipped our pints of 1664 as the ferry slipped out into the Channel.
12 hours later and we were in the fortified town of St Malo, Brittany which was hardly visible through the early morning fog. By the time we’d had our Cafe au lait and croissant at a Patisserie close to the city wall and caught the smaller ferry across to Dinard, the sun had already burnt the mist away and so started a weeks cycling and exploration of the Canal d'Ille et Rance from Dinard to Rennes via Dinan in Brittany.
Beautiful countryside beyond the tree lined canal. Be aware though that cycling towards the end of September means that many of the acorns, beechnuts and chestnut have fallen so cycling can be a pit precarious if you don’t have the right tyres, as I learnt much to my peril!
The highlights would be walking round the medieval town of Dinan with panoramic views down to the Canal (yes a cycle uphill). Next time I will take a look at Léhon Castle and abbey rather than viewing it from the other side of the canal! Would also recommend the excellent B&B Ille Flottant, an old l’ecluse (lock house) walking distance to the village of Hédé-Bazouges. We just missed a jazz festival but did manage to eat at the La Petite Porte - definitely for meat eaters and diners happy to soak up the atmosphere of the bric-a-brac interior and the exceptional food. Booking is advised as sooo popular.
Rennes is worth a visit to see the Musee des Beaux-Arts and the Piscine Saint-Georges designed by Emmanuel Le Ray and a stunning piece of Art Deco architecture with mosaic patterns designed by Breton artist Isidore Odorico.
And finally back to St Malo - which inspired my print entitled ‘Eyes’!