It is a very long drive from the Dordogne to Brittany. Just before we left we made a change to the itinerary and scheduled a stop in Niort. This allowed time for an afternoon on the Venise Verte (Marais Poitevin). This is an area of previous marshland that was converted to farmland. There is a network of canals - 400 km in all.

We rented a classic flatboat and spend two hours on the canals beneath a covering of birch and willow trees.

Then on to Brittany, We have enjoyed Brittany from previous trips. It was also a chance to stay with our friends the Le Gouëffs. How time flies, we met them 20 years ago on one of our initial trips to France.

From Brittany we drove to the Loire Valley. We had a spectacular house - well actually two, and visited some of the best châteaux in the area. .

Of course we were able to work in a visit to an abbey with cloisters. The Royal Abbaye of Fontevraud is stunning and well worth a visit. The tombs of King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquataine, and Richard the Lionheart are there.






For more information on Brittany see our Travel Journal - Brittany, for the the Loire Valley, see our Travel Journal - Centre Region

Venise Verte

Just before we left we revised our itinerary to break the long drive from the Dordogne to Brittany into a two day event. We scheduled a stop in the town of Niort. That allowed us spend an afternoon in the area known as the Venise Verte.

The Venise Verte is former marshland that was drained through a network of canals and converted to farmland. It is one of the largest wetland marshes in Europe. The area has over 400 km of canals. There we rented a flatboat and paddled along the network of canals.

Niort is not a town that we would schedule another visit. Our hotel, however, was very charming so in the end, it was a very pleasant stop.



One of the original gates into the walled city of Vannes


Vannes has an interesting historic centre. A walled city, the old moat has been turned into scenic gardens.

Rose en Since

We spend some great time around the patio dinning table at Le Goofs. Chant al is an excellent cook, Ala in so knowledgeable with wine. What a a combination.

Ile aux MoineOur visit was great. A very special day was when Ala in and Chant al took us out on their boat to cruise around the Golfe du Marihuana. It was a beautiful sunny day.

One of the islands, Governess, of which access is not allowed, has a tomb, a megalithic monument from the Neolithic period. At the time, 3500 BC, the island was still connected to the mainland.

For lunch we stopped at the Illumines (Island of the Monks). We had a walk around the island with its old stone buildings, thatched roof houses and historical churches. A great lunch topped off the day.






Our travels to Brittany were especially good as we enjoy this area of France, and we had the opportunity to visit again with our good friends the Le Goofs. We met them 20 years ago when we took a picture of their daughter playing with a friend. The daughter has now graduated from University and married. She and her husband have just moved to Montreal! We have previously visited Le Goueffs twice and they have visited Canada. It all started with a photo.


Chateau de Chenonceau

Château Chenonceau, in the Loire Valley sits over the river and is a remarkable place to visit. This is called the Château des Dames because of the women who are linked to its history. Katherine Briçonnet had the chateau built in 1513. Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis enhanced the structure. Mrs. Dupin saved it from the destruction from the French Revolution.

I remember visiting Chenonceau on one of our earlier visits to France. Yes, I have aged!

Chateau Chenceneaux

Chateau d'Usse

The Chateau d'Ussé was rebuilt in the 1460s and finished in 1538. It is maintained that this was the castle that author Charles Perrault had in men when he wrote his work, Sleeping Beauty. Today the chateau is privately held. I still say it is more impressive from the outside. Many of the rooms are decorated with wax figures in costumes, some a little hooky, others not so bad.

Chateau Chambord

Chateau Chambord is the big one.

This chateau, which has never been completed, was build by King Francois I. It is the largest chateau in the Loire and was built as a hunting lodge. The King's Royal residences were at the Château de Blois and the Chateau d'Amboise. Everything we visit Chambord the sheer size the the elaborate architectural details are just so impressive.

Chateau D'Azay-le-Rideau


Chåteau D'Azay-le-Rideau

After Chateau Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau has one of the most scenic settings. It sits in a small lake/pond, The reflections of the chateau in the water, and the calmness the water creates are quite impressive.

Chateau Saumur

Chateau Saumur.

One of the first chateau we visited was the Chateau Saumur. Unfortunately it was not open so we could only walk around the grounds.




Our house in the Loire is actually two houses. We were located about 10 km from the town of Chinon. It was one of those places where the owners could not do enough for you. One of the pluses that we really enjoyed was the large garden with tomatoes, basil, onions, zucchini etc.

Chris Grant in the kitchen of our Loire House

With a kitchen like this, you know that Chris Grant, our chef, was very happy.


Hamlet in Loire

We would have our morning petite dejuner on the patio outside the large house. Then we would head out to tour the Loire.

Hamlet in Loire

Glenn sitting in the patio off the "little house".


The cloisters at the Abbaye de Fontevraud

Abbayes and Cloisters

We were very fortunate that the Royal Abbey Fontevraud was located very near our Loire House. The abbey, founded in 1100, became a double monastery with both monks and nuns in the same abbey.

The abbey was originally the site of the graves of King Henry II of England, wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, son King Richard I of England, their daughter Joan and others.