Shall we take a little tour around our village & surrounding countryside?
As they say around here ” Allez-y” or “Let’s go” !
Our Village & Countryside
Our town is nestled at the end of a lake which was made centuries ago. Even before then, it was the site of a Roman encampment. You can still see a spring that bubbles up out of the ground ( the Roman well) & fills a deep stone bathtub – every time I visit I can just see a tired, dirty Roman soldier walking down the little steps into the frigid water. This little bit of ancient history is hidden just ahead of us (in the pic above), along the path which runs around the lake.
Most of the other history is all around us….
This hill of grass is all that separates the village from the lake when the water level rises too high – the year before we moved here it wasn’t quite high enough…. the whole main part of town was flooded !
Our village, like all French villages, features buildings from many centuries. Our good friend, owns the little house just beside the arch. It is so small that she uses it as a “guest”
Further down this winding lane way, is a wonderful building with an octagonal tower. It is probably one of the most photographed houses here as many people think that it is the castle that once dominated the village.
But no, it is the Hotel Sevoy, which was built in 1634 & is listed as a National Monument. It is not a public hotel as one might expect, “hotel” was a word used to describe a stately home.
This one was fortified & has the arrow slits to prove it !
This is a half-timbered house of the late 16th century and is the oldest house in our village. It was built using a variety of architectural styles & is carefully maintained with period paints.
Until you live among them, you don’t realize how brightly painted the homes were back then!
Once upon a time, I was a “mediaevalist”, I went to university to study the middle ages & spent every waking moment thinking, reading & writing about that amazing (& very long) time period.
Even though my passion has shifted to a bit later time period (I’m currently adoring the 18th century) I still love being surrounded by history every day – this is what I call LIVING history !
Fort la Latte is built right out into the ocean so that it is protected from almost every side. When the drawbridge was pulled up it was next to impossible to get in !
The owner has the most amazing mediaeval gardens all through her property. She lives in the big building & hoards of tourists must peek through her livingroom windows everyday !
This is our “local” castle. It was built in 1220, rebuilt after being almost destroyed in the 15th century & then survived almost untouched until the French revolution, when it was torched. Luckily, some parts have been restored.
We love it there because it is a bit out of the way for most tourists & sometimes, we are there almost all alone !
A little further afield is a lovely mediaeval town, Dinan. The tower boasts one of the oldest working clocks in the world. It was built in the early 16th century & still rings every 15 minutes.
See the little cafe below it ? I sit upstairs in the little gable drinking hot chocolate & eating decadent “English ” cakes while I do my lesson plans. Not bad, eh ?
We try to get out a few times a month for a little “touring”. Not only do we have a great time & learn more about our area but the kids get a chance to be in historic places in a natural way.
(BONUS ) I keep a running list of everywhere we go all year & present it to the homeschool inspector during my yearly inspection. He is always impressed. Knowing about your local heritage is considered one of the most important aspects of a child’s education here ( after french & math, of course !)
Everyone in our village knows us as “the Canadians”. Often when we meet people for the first time they know all about us.
Yes, I guess we seem a bit odd – we (gasp !) homeschool, both my husband & I work from home (pretty much unheard of here) & we have brought some strange traditions & ideas from America (most people think Canadians & Americans are from the same place) … like Hallowe’en & …
climbing trees !
France is such an inspiring place to live, learn & play. When we moved here, I decided that it was finally time to gather up all of my handwork ideas & resources into one neat package & share them with others who want to add creative elements to their lessons.