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  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.

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July 19 2014 7 19 /07 /July /2014 12:40

006 Sentier de découverte, Lessay

I went on yet another hike last weekend around Lessay which took me to several places of natural heritage including moors, forests, rivers and some charming little villages. To start, I had to park my car in the Fromagerie Réo parking lot and then find the signs that led to the sentiers de découverte of la Montagne. 012 Sentier de découvertede la Montagne, Lessay012a Sentier de découvertede la Montagne, Lessay012b Sentier de découvertede la Montagne, Lessay012d Sentier de découvertede la Montagne, LessayThe best part of the entire walk is through this patch of pine forest which borders the Tourbière de Mathon, a peat bog or mire. 014 Tourbière de MathonAcross the tourbière you can see the abbey of Lessay in the distance. 025 l'Ay, Lessay026 l'Ay, LessayParts of the walk take you across or along the coastal river of l’Ay which empties into the Channel only after flowing through Lessay and the great harbor of Saint-Germain-sur-Ay. 032 l'Ay, LessayOn July 29, 1944 American soldiers built a bridge over this river. 027 l'Ay, LessayThe bridge that exists here now is all that marks the spot except for a new memorial plaque which was erected here on June 7, 2014 to commemorate the D-Day landings. 033 Sentier de découvertede la Montagne, Lessay044 Moulin de Pissot, Lessay042 Moulin de Pissot, Lessay046 Moulin de Pissot, LessayOne of the places that the Manche tourism guide online says to see is the Moulin de Pissot in the village of Pissot. Unfortunately, their map and their directions are completely wrong. With a little effort on my own part before heading out, I was able to create my own map and had no problems finding the  newly restored mill. 037 near Moulin de Pissot, Lessay049 near Moulin de Pissot, Lessay049a near Moulin de Pissot, Lessay051 Route de Renneville, LessayThere are not many large mansions or castles to see along this hike but you can’t help finding some dignified farm houses along the way. 053 Lieu Dit Village Es Noels à Lessay054 Lieu Dit Village Es Noels à Lessay057 Lieu Dit Village Es Noels à LessayOn the way back, through the route de Renneville, I came across a small village made up of three or four houses which had the most appealing name: Village es Noëls which could probably mean the village of Noël or even the village at Christmas. Who knows ? I thought it was attractive. 070 Route de la Blondellerie, Lessay062 Route de la Blondellerie, Lessay071 Ancienne voie ferrée, LessayPast some more interesting houses and even a short stint through a covered hedgerow, I eventually came to the old railway line which once connected Coutances with Sottevast for over 100 years. It closed in 1984 and is now a green path between Cambernon and Rocheville (Bricquebec). 077 l'Ay, Lessay088 l'Ay, LessayAfter getting back to town and following the River Ay, I took a much needed rest and ate my lunch in the shadow of the abbey. The Abbaye de Lessay is an 11th century Benedictine abbey that once flourished in Normandy. It has a rather ironic history in that it was one of the few monasteries that managed to stay perfectly preserved throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. 079 Abbaye de Lessay081 Abbaye de LessayUnfortunately, it was completely destroyed by retreating Germans on July 11, 1944 during World War II. In 1945 the abbey church and its former monastic buildings underwent a remarkable restoration carried out under the direction of Yves-Marie Froidevaux, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments, using archived material that was preserved in Paris. In 1958, the church opened again for services. Today, the monastery buildings are privately owned and not open to visitors. Every summer, concerts are held in the abbey.

082 Abbaye de Lessay

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
May 1 2014 5 01 /05 /May /2014 12:15

P1010006 Huelgoat

Huelgoat is popular with tourists and holidaymakers due to its impressive natural setting among the vestiges of the ancient forest that once covered inland Brittany. The village lies on a lake created between the 16th and 18th centuries to supply water to local silver-lead mines by means of a 3 km (1.9 mi) leat or canal. A number of geological and prehistoric curiosities can be found by following trails in and around the village and forest. P1010004 HuelgoatOne starts the hike from the Moulin du Chaos just in front of the bridge covered in flowers. The Moulin was built in 1339 and is a national monument. P1010002 HuelgoatAmong the formations nearby are: Le Chaos de Rochers, the Chaos of Rocks, is a jumble of hundreds of large boulders below the dammed lake, into which the river vanishes. The walk among the rocks is quite impressive and it makes you wonder how all those large boulders got where they did. It is something of a local legend as many believe that they were put there by the wizard Merlin during the time of King Arthur. Others believe they were put there by fairies. P1010018 HuelgoatP1010012 HuelgoatP1010015 HuelgoatLa Roche Tremblante or Trembling Rock, is the most popular of the rocks along the trail. It is a 137-tonne boulder that is pivoted in such a way that it can be made to rock by a person pushing against one point. As you can see, I tried it and I was amazed at how little effort it took to make the large boulder move back and forth (ever so slightly)—I doubt that anyone could ever move it from its current position unless they used mechanical means.

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
May 1 2014 5 01 /05 /May /2014 11:52

P1000975 Roc'h TrevezelP1000979 Roc'h Trevezel

After spending nearly the entire day exploring the enclos paroissiaux of Brittany, I took a break from the granite churches, the ossuary’s and ornamented Calvaries that were all starting to look the same. P1000976 Roc'h TrevezelP1000980 Roc'h TrevezelP1000982 Roc'h TrevezelI took a short detour that led me to the Roc’h Trévezel which is the second highest peak of the Breton part of the Armorican Massif in the Monts d'Arrée. Just like the Ménez Kador, it reaches 384 metres (1,260 ft) in altitude. After a short climb through ferns, bracken and heather, one reaches the top where there are stunning views over the region including the St-Michel Reservoir in the south. P1000983 Roc'h TrevezelP1000986 Roc'h TrevezelP1000988 Roc'h TrevezelThere were a lot of people scrambling for a place to stand along the “dragon’s backbone” in order to take photos of the surrounding moorland. On the way down, I was surprised to see several men trying to bike up the narrow path. It seems that this is a popular biking stage during the Paris-Brest-Paris route.

P1000984 Roc'h TrevezelP1000991 Roc'h TrevezelP1000994 Roc'h TrevezelP1000996 Roc'h TrevezelP1000998 Roc'h TrevezelP1010001 Roc'h Trevezel

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
April 25 2014 6 25 /04 /April /2014 07:55

Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de Fer

A few weeks ago I took a hike near the small town of Colomby near Valognes. After reading the alluring description online, I ended up walking over ten kilometres along mostly muddy pathways and farmers’ roads. Although the walk was rather short, it was not as delightful as the website hinted. Nonetheless, I had a wonderful time and would definitely encourage people to do this hike—although I would add that it should be done only when there hasn’t been any rain. The trails are enlivened by protective hedges that separate fields and forests, small winding streams and several stops amidst small villages with stone farmhouses. Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerThe name of the circuit is “Cul de Fer” which could either be translated as railway line or ass of fire—there is no hint of either along the route. L’église Saint-Georges de ColombyOne of the first remarkable spots along the circuit was the Église-Saint-George in Colomby. It is from the 13 and 14 centuries and is purely Gothic in style. Sadly, it was closed the afternoon I was there and couldn’t see the interior. ColombyRight beside it is the town hall. Before leaving town, I stopped to admire a huge stone farmhouse called the Varangerie. La VarangerieThere are lots of buildings like this in the area. Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerLa ConseillèreLa ConseillèreLa Conseillère is just another one of those amazing stone farms along the route. It is reached through an imposing gate but something told me that I shouldn’t go much further than that. It seemed like it was a private property so I didn’t stray very far from the marked path. Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerPromenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerPromenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerTo be quite honest, it wasn’t so much a path as it was ankle deep mud. Perhaps I should have turned around and gone back to my car but something told me that this part of the route would only get better. It didn’t. There was a lot more mud to get through—much of the time I was trying to walk around it by going through fields or walking higher along the hedgerows. It wasn’t easy and my hiking shoes became caked in mud. Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerStill, there were some very nice views of the countryside and the many countless, wild primevère in bloom to admire. Le manoir des PerquesLe manoir des PerquesThis is le manoir des Perques, a beautiful stone house with a massive turret. At one time it was believed that his house was a keep along what used to be a busy road. Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerPromenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerPromenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerPromenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerAfter more hills and even more mud, I eventually came to the small village of Boudosville which is remarkable for its grouping of stone buildings like this one. Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerIt was here I met a group of friendly cows who were curious as to what I was doing on their property. Calvaire de BoudosvilleCalvaire de BoudosvilleThe small village of Boudosville is marked by a crucifix surrounded with daffodils and a few picnic benches where hikers like me could take a little break. Anciens fours à chauxNearby are the old lime kilns (fours à chaux) which produced the mortar used in building houses in the nearby area. The end of the hike brings you back into Colomby and offers stunning views of the church from a great distance.

Promenade et Randonnée Le Cul de FerL’église Saint-Georges de ColombyL’église Saint-Georges de Colomby

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
April 17 2014 5 17 /04 /April /2014 12:07

298 La Côte Des Deux Amants

In the 12th century, Marie de France, one of the earliest of women writers tells the touching legend of Caliste and Raoul the two lovers from where la cote des deux-amants gets its name. It seems that the King of Pitres did not want to give away his daughter so he decreed that her future husband would have to be strong enough to run non-stop to the top of the nearby hill with Caliste in his arms. 301 La Côte Des Deux AmantsRaoul, the son of a count, made an attempt but collapsed and died from exhaustion at the top of the hill and Caliste fell dead beside him; the two young lovers were buried on the spot and so the hill acquired their name. 308 La Côte Des Deux AmantsFrom the top of this hill overlooking the Seine, one can easily see the Écluses d’Amfrefille down below. The locks together with the Poses Dam constitute the main control of the water flow in the Lower Seine and divide the canalised stretch below Paris from the tidal section which flows into the Channel.  I couldn't help myself and I stopped the car whenever I could in order to snap some photos of the fields covered in yellow rape flowers.

324 Colza322 Colza315 Colza321 Colza

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
March 14 2014 6 14 /03 /March /2014 12:06

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7438/13124532954_05d392222f_o.jpgSo yesterday I told you all about Pontmain and the apparition of the Virgin Mary which has brought it so much fame.  What I failed to tell you was that was my first stop on my trip to the Mayenne last weekend.  I had such a wonderful time—especially since we have been having such warm and sunny weather.  It only seemed right that I should get out of the house and enjoy it as much as possible.  I’m sorry I’ve not been posting lately but I will try to make a comeback and give you all the details of my recent adventures as well as updates on trips that I took last summer but have failed to blog about.  Bear with me.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2384/13124360053_845cb90781_o.jpgAnyway, the second stop on Friday morning after visiting Pontmain was the little village of Chailland.  It is designated as one of the most beautiful villages in France (petite cité de caractère) and is famous for its rocky cliffs that surround the town and the River Ernée.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3787/13124348693_022b876820_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3757/13128798105_04c7b076a9_o.jpgDuring Easter, over 100 years ago in 1913, the citizens of Chailland erected a statue of the Virgin Mary on the highest rock above the village.  She still stands watch over the valley and is a popular destination for hikers.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2175/13124355993_a73f0d0259_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7404/13124353243_f2c54d5a8e_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7335/13124244155_0437d5d0e5_o.jpgI spent an hour climbing to the summit, winding through the public gardens blooming with daffodils and crocuses before descending in order to visit the parish church, the ancient water mill and the medieval lavoir along the river.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7439/13124281145_e67cabb9b2_o.jpg 

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
December 22 2012 7 22 /12 /December /2012 09:18

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
November 1 2012 5 01 /11 /November /2012 08:07

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8196/8141521947_0ace42bb84_b.jpgSixty kilometres south of Bordeaux is the Dune du Pilat.  At 114 meters, the highest sand dune in Europe, it is 2.7 kilometers long and 500 meters wide.  The west face slopes gently towards the Atlantic rollers, whereas the hollowed landward side to the east drops to the pines below.  It is a popular tourist attraction within the Bassin d’Arcachon with over a million visitors each year.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8112554424_fff3a9b760_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8336/8112544827_e93fc48f3d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8336/8112553990_0880152b89_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8469/8112553758_f1d941cbaa_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8327/8112553538_c6ee808a69_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8334/8112544019_16e010d451_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
March 21 2012 4 21 /03 /March /2012 22:09

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
March 19 2012 2 19 /03 /March /2012 22:02

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature