PONTIVY. Pontivy was chosen by Napeoleon as a garrison town. It is a charming country town on the River Blavet with many half-timbered, corbelled and turreted houses, cobbled streets and attractive shops in the old quarter around the 16th century church of Notre Dame De La Joie. The 15th century Castle of the Dukes of Rohan with its two remaining towers are well worth a visit. There is a good variety of restuarants, cafes interesting shops and good supermarkets. Pontivy has an open air swimming pool. Market Day is Monday.

JOSSELIN. The beautifully preserved medieval castle dominates the town as it rises sheer from the river. It is well worth a visit, the doll's museum being particularly popular. From Josselin you can follow the Legend of King Arthur by travelling to the ancient wood of Broceliande in the Paimpoint Forest. You will find the magic fountain where Merlin fell under the spell of the Lady of the Lake, and discover other remnants of days gone by.

VANNES. Vannes is the heart of the "little sea", the Gulf of Morbihan, and you can visit the islands of the Gulf from here. Vannes is a bustling town but the old square around the cathedral has been carefully preserved and pedestrianised with fine gabled and half-timbered houses now occupied by boutiques and antique shops. The Chateu with its beautiful gardens has a marvellous archeological museum. Vannes aquarium is very popular, particularly its ocean reef section complete with sharks. Market days are Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

LAC DE GUERLEDAN is one of the most beautiful inland lakes in Brittany. A seven mile stretch of water in the Blavet Gorge, ideal for swimming, fishing, sailing, and other water sports. Scenic places to visit around the lake include the 19th century iron-ore smelting furnace, the enchanting ruins of Les Salles castle, Bon Repos, and the remains of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey. There are numerous picnic sites, sandy beaches, abundant walks and cyling along the tow path.

AURAY. A small pretty town on the river, Auray's main attraction is its old quarters, particularly St Goustan, with its narrow alleys and streets, lined with superbly preserved 15th century houses.The renaissance-gothic church of Saint Gildas should be visited together with St Esprit college. The Goélette Museum on the Quai Martin shows the history of St Goustan in a converted tunny fishing boat. Once a week, during July and August, there are evening performances of sea shanties and Breton songs. There is a weekly market on Mondays.

EATING OUT. Restaurants throughout France have to, by law, post their menus outside the entrance so that you can look at the choices and prices. Most restaurants will offer a choice of set price menus. It is wise to make sure that a restaurant will accept credit cards if that is how you plan to pay. Many smaller restaurants only accept cash or French cheques. Eating from a set menu is normally recommended as you will know exactly how much you have to pay and what is included. Wine, cider or water are often included with lunchtime set menus ("boisson compris" or "vin compris"). You may also see "a menu degustion" which is a selection of the region's or the chef's specialities. A little tip is to always wait for the waiter to take you to a table, even if the restaurant is empty. It is considered very bad manners to simply walk in and sit at a table.

The owners, Mark & Sharon, who live in the attached cottage are always available to provide help and advice on excursions, road travel, etc. should this be required.

© Copyright La Vieille Forge 2004 - 2009