Thursday, December 31, 2009


Our first day truly here meant our first day truly out and about: here's where we wound up in the Bois des Amours (the Forrest of Loves)at the end of the day. The mysticism becomes ever more palpable: there's moss on every stone and tree, everything, every bit of nature seems alive and breathing. And maybe it's the weather, too, but the trees are gnarled and turned in totally wild ways: in the stark outlines of these gnarled trees the kids saw dragons, boats, and (?) a monkey. Here's what preceded it all: spot of grocery shopping with Iris (we were _both_ exclaiming at the cheeses and the jams), bit of French cartoons (wish I'd captured Eleanor's look of _utter_ concentration as she tried to follow), and, well-fed on breakfast hunted up by Mac and Oliver at the boulangerie, we set out. At some point, I'll figure out video and we can take a walk together. Iris had been hankering for her first ever French crêpe, so we obliged by ducking into the first warm, glowing crêperie that we saw.

The results did not disappoint.

Oliver thought pretty highly of his mousse au chocolat as well.

We then visited Notre-Dame du Roncier, the local church, complete with c. 800 miracle, famous 15th century patrons (Olivier (!!!) de Clesson and Marguerite de Rohan), really interesting stained glass windows (I saw what looked like both 15th and 19th century work), and fantastic wooden vaulting (has to be 19th century, but maybe modeled closely on the 15th century work). Like the castle, it has a rich and varied history we can't wait to uncover. Then, yes, we had to conquer the castle. Now the castle proper won't open until April, but that doesn't mean that we can't scale the ramparts and try to talk to the kids about Richelieu (who destroyed 5 of the 9 towers - yeesh! Eleanor should give _him_ a scolding!). We have kind of a three musketeers thing going, what with the house being from the 17th century. But we also want to start developing a Celtic thing, as we're planning on going to see some megaliths (not a heavy metal band) on the 1st. Award-winning Breton scholar of the French Revolution Mona Ozouf speaks of an "identité feuilletée" (quote from the morning paper!) - there are puff pastry layers to time here, as well. Well, on that delicious metaphor, good night, and see you tomorrow to wish you a Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Hey big sandwiches!

    Sounds like you guys are Frenchifying yourselves well! Keep posting blog posts about your many adventures, especially pertaining to your interactions with the natives, present and (in Eleanor's case) historical! Give 'em hell Eleanor!

    And Happy New Year's and new decade!! (yes, yes, technically, it's the last year of this decade, but now we're finally beyond the 00's). How are you guys celebrating? With champagne and snails, no doubt!

    Gina wants to know the exact consistency and taste of the early morning croissant and whether they make you say, "Huh-huh-huh-huhhhhhhhhh," when you bite into them.

    Steve wants to know -- if you're so close to the stinkin' English, do the Bretons have their own tradition of shepherd's pie, 'cause he'd really like some when we're visiting. Oh, and, is there any mass housing in Josselin? Are the banlieues there as tough as they are in Paris?

    OK, guys, keep posting and start doing some in French! I'm sure Sarkozy would love to hear about "zee American family/colonists in my Brittany village, quoi."

    love you!
    Gina and Steve