Day 12, Friday 5 July, travelling to Vannes.

Trip Start Jun 23, 2013
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Friday, July 5, 2013

Weather: Started off the same as EVERY other day - cloudy and overcast. It was not as cold as it has been with the sun finally shining at 5:00pm. It is now 6:30pm and it is sunny outside. It must have been warm as Jane ended up wearing her short sleeved polo top and no other layers!! Top temperature for today in Vannes was 23C. YAY!! Summer is here!?

We decided to eat breakfast in the hotel this morning and we observed a small 'art' tour group of Australians who were in Quimper for the week and each day they went somewhere different in order to draw, sketch, paint etc.  We came down to breakfast via the lift, but when we wished to return to our room, the lift was out of order.  How pleased we were to be on the first floor of the hotel as this meant we only had a smallish number of stairs to carry our cases down.  We started on our journey to Vannes in South-West Britanny. The front desk receptionist gave us the route to exit Quimper which sounded simple enough - WRONG!! We eventually made it on to the correct road and continued our journey to Vannes via Carnac. Carnac has a very large number of megaliths - megaliths are named from the Greek words mega ('big') and lithos ('stones'). There are still over 3000 standing,  some of whch date back to Neolithic era, between the 3rd and 5th millenia B.C. (4500 years old!) They are huge rocks in rows with some forming structures. There are a range of ideas as to their origins but scholars have interpreted the megalithic complex of Carnac as a giant astronomical observatory, while others prefer the idea of an ancient worship centre. It is an amazing site to see these huge rocks in very long rows - there are in fact currently 4 kilometres of these rocks around Carnac. The area is fenced off but during the non-Summer season you can wander through. In Summer you must go on a guied tour. This is to preserve the area around the rocks. They believe that there are still many more to be excavated. We have included a few images but more information can be found at  While looking at the stones we met an Italian family who were holidaying in their camper van. They had with them a dog that looked like a French bulldog but was in actual fact a Boston Terrier - they allowed Brad to hold the dog while Jane took a photo of it (for Claire to see!).

We also walked around the town of Carnac - another delightful small town where we enjoyed a lovely Grand Cafe au lait chaud (Coffee with hot milk with the milk being served separately). The Tourism Office was once again helpful. We drove down to the beach near Carnac and there was real sand! See the photo of how crowded the beach was in Summer, 2013! Please also note the clothing being sold during Summer. We visited the church in Carnac and it was most unique as it had a wooden ceiling in three arched parts which looked like three upturned hulls of boats. This dark wooden ceiling is completely covered in paintings which we assume tell of bibical events. There were also no small side chapels as many churches have. Pews instead of chairs were also seen here - rather unusual in many of the churches we have seen.

We decided not to take the direct route to Vannes but drove through some lovely countryside and small villages/towns. At La Trinité-sur-Mer there was an extremely large and beautiful harbour. It was also near here that we saw our very first separate bike path. As we passed through many small towns we noticed a great variety of beautiful homes. Many, even the newer ones, are built using local stone and they look very attractive.

We felt very sure that we would find our way easily to our hotel in Vannes as we had it all planned out on a real paper map as well as on the iPad! WRONG! As our hotel is a little way out of the city centre we had planned on driving around the outskirts in order to reach it but unfortunately we missed ONE turn off and found ourselves in the middle of town BUT we were still able to find our hotel without too much time being wasted. There is a free shuttle bus (every 15 minutes) to take us into the centre of town. Vannes, as with most towns/cities we have visited has an 'old' town centre which is surrounded by the old city wall. This is very well preserved here. Unfortunately the old town is not a car-free zone so there are a large number of cars still coming through very narrow and windy streets. It is located on the Golfe du Morbihan and has a narrow water way which comes right up to the old centre of town. This is filled with many pleasure boats. On either side of the waterway are wide and attractive boulevards for walking or cycling.

We ate dinner at the hotel tonight and it was excellent even though it was in the hotel.  No English on the menu and waiters who didn't speak English!  Our meals were tasty and enormous. (see photos) We think that well-done meat means on the rare side of medium for French chefs - Jane always says "non rouge" but this makes no difference. 

Going past Reception after dinner, Jane saw the predicted weather forecast for Vannes for the next few days - 28C, 29C, 30C!!! Summer is here finally!! BUT we are leaving Vannes so we hope it is the same in Chinon.

- When travelling on multi-lane roads cars always keep to the right lane and the left lane is only used for overtaking. Cars always return to the right lane immediately after overtaking.
- We overtook a number of cars again today BUT we were overtaken by a police car travelling at great speed (130+kph?) with lights flashing.

- We are most grateful that we have a compass located in our car. The display panel also gives us our kilometres travelled, average speed, petrol used per 100 kilometres etc. This compass has ensured we are always travelling in the right direction even if we are unsure of the road upon which we are travelling.

- We notice that every small town we have visited always has at least one book store of the family owned, small variety - not a large business like Dymocks etc. Great to see.
- It might be fun to write a book about public toilets as these vary so greatly.  Just recently we have noted mens toilets with urinals right next to the opening to the street.  This means that anyone passing by can see who is standing there! See a posed photo of Brad standing in front of a urinal at Carnac!

- We passed a lad riding a bicycle on a narrow road while pulling along a second bike - interesting.

- Near an 'arty' shop we noticed that the bollards nearby had been nicely decorated and were covered in knitted woollen 'socks'.

- Carnac was the second small town in which we have seen condom vending machines - great for when you are in need at any time of the day or night! Interesting for a largely Catholic country! 
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Bron j on

Oh Brad and Jane I am loving travelling through the French countryside vicariously as I eat a leisurely holiday breakfast in Melbourne's sunny but cool winter each morning. Looks like our weather is much the same? Thanks for the updates on the food, architecture, multiple wrong turns and public toilets! I hope the weather warms up for you both.

whibj on

Thanks Bron - we are enjoying our travels and new experiences! Look forward to the Loire Valley for the next four days then home. Hope your holidays are relaxing after a big one last time.

Sandra on

I hope you have informed Mr Kelly that you will not be returning and that your job is up for grabs.

Joy on

The meal looks more like that size that Vicki and Martin would be seeing in America - all those fries. Keep on enjoying yourselves and the country side.

whibj on

Sandra - would love to spend a year here BUT I think I need to keep working to afford to do it!

Joy - quite right, they were very large servings.

Arrived in Loire Valley at Chinon early afternoon and been for a leisurely walk around the town. Back to our hotel now then dinner tonight with friends of a friend from church.

robyn on

Love the pics of beautiful Vannes. What a great day. Enjoy the Loire Valley

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