24-29 July (Tuesday to Sunday)- Family time at Craon

It has been great to spend time with the family at the Gite. The house is large, with three bedrooms, a porch where we can sit outside and braai, a large lawn, a pond with frogs and waterlilies and a small splash pool for Liam.

We had a heat wave on Wednesday and Thursday with temperatures in the high 30‘s.

Highlights of the week include:

  • seeing the gardens at Chateau-Gontier – they are on the banks of the canal and are in different geometric shapes. I saw white lavender for the first time. Some of the gardens are planted to look like tapestries or paintings.
  • walking along the Mayenne canal at Chateau-Gontier with Elsbeth while the rest of the family ride along with the bicycles.
  • canoeing on the Mayenne at Chateau-Gontier – we spent an hour and went up to the first barrage and lock.
  • Visiting the Robert Tatin Museum at Cosse-le-Vivien. This is a unique place that the artist took 21 years to create – starting at the age of 60. He wanted to create a place for all people to come and tried to express ideas about a common visual language. The outside has concrete sculptures and a fantastic structure around a pond. Inside the structure are displays of the artist’s paintings and ceramics. Kris and I had a last cycle around the area – circling back to Craon after the visit.
  • Visit to the fortified medieval town of Saint Suzanne – the only stronghold to resist William the Conqueror. We enjoyed walking around the keep, the ramparts and the old town. The old town is beautifully kept with lots of flowers in front of the houses.
  • Seeing the Erves dolmen, near Saint Suzanne – a tomb built between 4700-4000 BC. Only the large megalithic stones remain – they were originally covered by a mound of stones forming a chamber. It is difficult to imagine how Neolithic people moved these huge stones. (we will remember Elsbeth being chased by a herd of cows on the move beside the dolmen).
  • Seeing the castles at Pouancé and Chateaubriant. Pouancé on the French side and Chateaubriant on the Breton side of the border.

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