Category Archives: France


Mis en scène – the ruin of Clisson castle, 30km south east of Nantes, in Brittany – west France.

View from the bridge

The famous lioness of Brittany, Jean de Clisson lived there.

Her husband was accused of high treason by the king of France. He was decapitated, his body dragged through the streets and his head displayed in Nantes on a pike.

The nobility was agast, since there was no public proof of his treason and it was not at all done to treat the body of a nobleman like that.

His wife also took umbrage and swore to revenge his death, which she saw as a cowardly murder.

She sold her estates and raised an army of soldiers who where loyal to her husband and Breton sympathisers.

They attacked two castles and a garrison where her husband used to be stationed. Everyone was killed save for a man or two to carry the message to the king of France.

Then she had three war ships built, painted black and fitted with red sails. The flagship she called ‘My Revenge’.

For thirteen years she plies the English channel and wreaks havoc on French ships. Once again all the men are killed save a few to take the message back to the king of France.

Eventually her luck runs out and her flagships is sunk. She drifts on the see with her two sons for five days before they are rescued by de Montfort sympathisers. But her one son had already died of exposure.

She marries for a fourth time and lives in castle Hennebont on the Breton coast until her death in 1359.

Back to the town.

They have a beautiful Roman style church

With priceless contemporary murals.

and an old wooden roof

Clisson is at the confluence of the Sèvre de Nantes and the Moines.

Tamed rivers

They have beautiful park land beside the river.

It being a beautiful summer day I picknicked by the river with the other French.


Sète, a harbour town on the French mediteranian coast, not far from Montpellier.

I have stopped carrying a camera, which was clearly a mistake. The phones are fine for normal conditions, but when you have severe light conditions they don’t cope as well.

The lines again.. I didn’t cope as well with the severe conditions either. Despite booking for a month in Montpellier I left after ten days. It was just far too hot. They advertise the town as green and cool, but boy are they wrong. I don’t have a single photo of the town in Montpellier, simply couldn’t wait to get back indoors.

It was a little cooler on the day I visited Sète, my only day trip, so we have a few photos. Quite a pretty town.

Wish I had one of those sailboats..

Summer salad with Aubergine

I had cooked spaghetti, – perhaps rice noodles will be even better.

Add vinaigrette (mine was olive oil and lemon juice) quite a bit.

Cooled cooked diced aubergine. If you made moussaka earlier the week and did extra aubergine, you’re set 🙂

If you didn’t, dice some aubergine and fry in a hot pan with olive oil. I add some sunflower oil to increase the temperature at which the oil becomes saturated.

Purple oakleaf lettuce – add

Pesto – a spoonful. It gives that lovely parmesan taste. You can grate extra parmesan over if you wish.

I forgot to put the asparagus in, but it will add another dimension.

The French like to support local industry. The salt is from  the island of Noirmoutier where it is harvested by hand – the traditional method.

I bought it there. What a lovely drive over the seabed for 4 kilometers at low tide on the passage du Gois! Everyone is out harvesting seafood between the tides. And fortunately they have a bridge now so you don’t have to stay for 12 hours before you can get back to the mainland.

Although you’ll probably want to. There was such a chilled summer holiday atmosphere when I was there, I would have like to stay quite a bit longer!

Just a turn of black pepper will make it complete.

Lyon – Wall paintings

Far too hot to sleep, so here are a few photo’s of the wall paintings in Lyon for tomorrow morning.

The mur de canuts – probably the most famous one; it depicts the area where the silk workers (canuts) lived and worked.

At the last renewal they updated the young father from a few decades ago to an old man and added the city rental bikes.

The stairs are very typical of the area – if you go down to town, you have to climb almost 100 meters to get back home. To my reckoning around 30 stories..

I’m getting fit.

The textile industry is still going strong in Lyon. They recently opened a railway line between south China and Lyon, I take it the silk has always been sourced from the far east.

Most silk weavers of the past centuries worked from home. They needed 4 meter high ceilings to accommodate the frames and found the old monastries on the Croix-Rousse  area (on a hill between the Rhone and the Saono rivers) ideal for the purpose.

The area and the old canut houses are very popular today. A similar crowd lives there, often self employed people with a bit of an artistic bent. The French call them ‘bobo’ bohème-bourgeouse .

No more weaving in the houses though, now we work on our laptops 😉

The lucky ones sit in the courtyard gardens with their cats and fig trees.

Don’t know if this lucky fish is meant to represent the neighbourhood?

The more tradisional library.

The trompe-l-oeil is quite good, only when I saw the costumes did I realise..

The Saone

They paint in the colours of Provence, the warm south. And at 37 degrees yesterday they aren’t wrong.

La Roche aux Fées – The Faeries’ Rock

Near Retier, in the center of Brittany is the Faeries’ Rock. It is one of the largest and best known dolmens in France.

Difficult to judge the scale from the photo – it is almost 20 meters long and the rocks are estimated at 20 – 45 tonnes each.

You need to bend down to enter, but after the first two rocks you can walk up straight and move around easily.

At the hand of ceramics found, it is dated at 3500 to 3000 BC.

They say if a couple walks around the dolmen and get the same answer counting the rocks, they will stay together.

There are 26 upright and 8 roof stones.  The Faerie transported the rocks, but lost one on the way, – the menhir of Runfort.

The dolmen was once covered, it was unearthed in Roman times.

The rocks are purple schist that is found 4 km away.  The alignment is south-southeast to north-northwest, in line with the sunrise on the winter solstice.

Honestly, that was the only purple I saw 😉


Coast of Brittany – Pornic

The first Breton coastal town I visited, even heard the language spoken. Some children on their bicycles in this holiday place.

Interesting how completely different people look here from Toulouse. Well I suppose seeing as that they are Celts, its not that surprising.

There were dolmens on a coastal path, but the sun was too hot, I went round the other way.

Hopefully I’ll still get to see some.

The waterfront

and bluebeard’s castle from closer by.

On the riverside, they did a bit of gardening

Visited Noirmoutier island yesterday, the Tour de France departs from there this weekend. I got there a little early..

Love the place, – the quintessential holiday island. People chilling all over the place 🙂