English Informer in France

English Informer in France

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Picnics in Brittany

Picnics in Brittany

As a child I used to go on regular picnics with my parents. Growing up and working seemed to have put a halt to this, until I had my own children. Then I repeated the experiences with them. This finally gave way to holidays, both at home and abroad, and eating out. The latter developed social skills with others but I wonder if there should not have been more of a balance.

What a shame. Living in France has shown us that the family picnic is much more the 'norm' here. We are often out on a drive only to see the French families jostling for a picnic table at midday - no matter the location. (And we have seen some funny places, believe me). 

Recently we decided to start joining in on the tradition once again and duly went out to buy a basket, flasks and plastic picnic accessories. What a great move that turned out to be.

Now, we venture out once a week, fully laden, dog excited and map in hand. Every time is different - from the coast to the villages (which invariably have their own lake) and we don't just stop once in the day. No, at every available time we can we pull the car over. Then we bring out the folding seats and the basket - much to the joy of our Yorkshire terrier, who has learned the word 'picnic' quicker than the word 'no'. We go for several different walks each time, usually resulting in tired but content paws for Barney and lots of photos and memories for us.

It is not to say that we no longer go to the fabulous French cafés. But before you fork out up to 5€ for a café au lait remember the not so humble picnic basket!

This was one of our stops yesterday - bearing in mind we set off at 9 am and just made it back for 9pm.

Moncontour is a medieval fortress and well worth a visit. But perhaps afterwards you will also head just outside of the town to the lakes. They are not massive, but we had one to ourselves and sat basking in the sun and then walked around them for a while. There is plenty of grass to run around on and toilets at the Mairie's building beside the lake. 

This is a city of character and expect to see history and plenty of reminders of the middle ages. The walls of the fortress and other buildings were built directly on the granite bedrock. This is evident all over the city. The church is lovely and has 6 stained glass windows. They were constructed between 1520 and 1538. The tree of Jesse has been a historical monument since 1890. It is made up of 13 Flemish crafted panels.

In addition to a choice of eating and drinking places there is a small Carrefour to get any last minute picnic provisions and a tourist information centre. Also keep your eyes open for the shop 'signs', done in medieval form and above each shop or bank. One of my favourites is the post office one. When walking around you will find 'explaination boards' informing the reader of what happened in that area eg executions.

The Medieval Festival of Moncontour is held on the 1st Sunday in August alternate years. 2017 is that year, so try and get along to join in the fun with medieval costumes and knights on horseback.



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