Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Fougeres and Combourg

Our first stop was the town of Fougeres.(I will be skipping Frenchy accent marks in my typing of these blog posts.)
This bell tower dates from 1397.  It is one of only three in Brittany and is significant because the town's merchants pooled their money to build it.  This gave the lower classes access to keeping time.  Before that, only the church and upper classes kept track of the time.

The church and its grounds were lovely on this Easter morning.

This is the view from behind the church, across the valley to the Chateau de Fougeres.

Mandatory playground break.

Coming up to the castle entrance.
This castle was a fortress built for defensive purposes. The boys loved talking about the archers who would have been posted behind those slits preparing to shoot any approaching attackers.  The first (wooden) structure built on this site was built in the eleventh century.  This stone fortress is built on top of a granite outcropping and has a partial moat around it and was used until the late 1400s when the French took it back from English control.

People must have been littler back then.

This is the view from inside the fortress, across the valley.  The church we waled from is in the upper right corner of this photo.  Charlotte, Toby, and Jake really proved they can walk the walk on this trip.

After a break for baguettes, pains au chocolate, and oranges, we headed over to Combourg.
The Chateau de Combourg was built beginning around 1025. It is still privately owned, but we took a tour with a guide inside this childhood home of Chateaubriand.  I didn't take pictures inside, but I would describe it as kinda dark and shabby.  Maybe even creepy.  Apparently, when Chateaubriand was a boy he complained to his parents of the creepiness and noises and they essentially told him to stay in his room and get used to it. He had nightmares about it into adulthood. They even had on display a mummified cat's remains that were found walled up in the wall.  (My kids' favorite part of the tour.)

The grounds were lovely though and had this awesome climbing tree.
I almost got all of the kids looking at the camera.

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