Tuesday, May 26, 2015

France 2014 : Medieval Rennes

My daughter and I spent some of last night cuddling on the couch looking through the scrapbook I had made about our recent trip to Normandy, France.  I took a lot of pictures on that trip and I realized I haven't shared many of them here.  Soo...
Most of our French holiday was spent within the confines of Normandy - not because we had set specific "rules" about where we would spend our time, but simply because there was just SO MUCH to do within this area that there was no reason to leave it!
However, one of the main places I wanted to visit was the historic city of Rouen.  However, after calculating distance and driving time, my dear hubby told me that Rouen was just too far from our home in Vire. We would spend 1/2 of our day in the car and have very little time actually enjoying the city.  I was a bit disappointed, but he told me that he'd make it up to me by finding a similar medieaval town closer by.
And the town he found was in nearby Brittany - and only an hour away.  
So here's our little tour of Rennes.  

Oh! the timber-framed buildings! They were everywhere!  Most were original and maintained their slantly door frames and over-hanging second and third floors.  

And the wood-carvings!  This one was attached to the converted church that had been turned into the town's tourist office.  
Pretty fancy, eh?

Some of these carvings were nearly 6oo years old.  They had been re-painted in the early 1900's, emphasizing the ins and outs of the carvers craft.  

After an hour of walking the historic streets, we came across a boulangerie  that seemed to sell every kind of bread under the sun.  And it was sold by weight!
Pick what you like - a small chunk or a big, pop it on the weigh scale and we'll tell you how much to pay!

We bought some bread for that nights' dinner, for breakfast the next day and several morsels to enjoy immediately, sitting
on the sidewalk outside the bakery. 
These buildings below are the most famous ones in Rennes.  Found on La Place du Champ-Jacquet, they are 16th century homes built in the traditional half-timbered style.
If you look really closely you can see that age has caused the buildings to lean very much to the left.   When the windows were replaced during modern times, the windows were made straight and upright, even though the window frames lean crookedly to the side.  It was almost dizzying to look at!

Throughout our trip around France, I tried to take many pictures of our three kids in front of historical buildings. And every time, dear sweet Camden made a grumpy face and tried to pretend he wasn't enjoy the sightseeing at all!

Don't worry - he loved every minute of it - even though the picture above gives a different indication!

This is my sister, Stephanie.  She spent one week with us in France the kids loved having her along.
By the time everyone was hungry for lunch we found our way to the city's "Thabor Gardens."  We found a lovely walled area where we could perch and eat our baguettes and fruit and enjoy the surrounding flowers. 
I love watching my 3 children interact and have deep conversations about what they've seen and done.  They really are each other's best friends and even during our three weeks of travel in France, we rarely had any negative interactions.   I'll hold these French memories especially dear - my three beautiful children, growing up together and seeing the world!
Aren't these hydrangea gorgeous?  I don't know what they do differently in France, but I had never seen such beautiful colours.  Purple, blue, fuchsia - all in the same plant!!
If you ask my youngest son what his favourite part of the Thabor Gardens was he would say "THE BIRDS!" They had a huge assortment of feathered friends in a huge aviary which fluttered around and sang lovely French  songs.  :)

Our final walk, returning us to our car, took us along the canal that runs through the centre of the historic part of Rennes. 
Looks a those buildings!
And gorgeous flowers as far as you could see!

Oh! So such sweet memories of Rennes. I would return there in a heartbeat.
Actually, our whole trip to France was so marvelous.  The kids keep asking if we can do the whole thing again.  I'd love to, but there is so much of the world that is left to be explored. 
Who knows? Maybe one day, they'll return with there own children  - and maybe take Grandma Bronwyn along for the ride!
Hugs to all,


  1. just gorgeous. I had forgotten all about the wooden buildings and all the carvings. Never been but remember talking about that type of architecture during history lessons.

    1. Try to go and see it. It really is amazing. So different form anything we have here in Canada.

  2. It looks like a fascinating town to visit, the windows on that crooked buildings did make my eyes go a bit funny though! Must be very odd to live or work in them. Thank you for taking us along on your lovely travels with you!! xx

    1. Glad you came along! I often wonder how much harder the construction worker's job is when they have to hang door and windows in such awkward spaces!

  3. I love that so much of the medieval stuff is original. There was so much damage across northern France in WWII that a lot of the architecture has had to be rebuilt. It looks the same but is little more than 50 years old. I'm glad you found the 'real thing'.

    1. Yes! Apparently a lot of the town was burned to the ground in an earlier century, so the timber-framed buildings that survived are few and far between. Glad we got to see so many of them!

  4. It looks so beautiful. I love eating fresh bread in france - it seems to taste better somehow. It's wonderful you can cherish your memories of the children enjoying your holiday. X

    1. Fresh bread is the best - and it tastes even better in France. We are hoping the pasta is just as good in Italy when we head there in July!

  5. Every where in France looks like it should be a film set. Gorgeous country. Normandy has so many fabulous places to see. xx

    1. It's unreal. In France you can walk through streets that are JUST LIKE photos found in history books. You really do step back in time.


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