Our walk round the Parc Floral was very pleasant. It’s a big garden: in fact they call it 24 gardens and give them all different themes, such as Stars at Night, Prehistoric Garden etc. There may be a bit of excess hype in that as some of the gardens are very small – one blink and you’ve missed it. However, the overall effect is excellent: large areas of rolling grasslands with some magnificent set pieces, such as the sizeable Le Jardin du Soleil Levant which is Japanese themed and full of little bridges, streams, oriental plants etc. We spent an enjoyable time wandering round the whole place, which is only two minutes’ walk from the gite. Being French, it has its quirky side: there are a few scenes with large teddy bears: a picnic, of course, a group of five climbing a tree with a picnic hamper and one on its own down by the river. There was also the almost obligatory philosophical section at the entrance, with quotations from an ancient Greek whose name escaes me. The management clearly had a more relaxed attitude to garden maintenance than many: a squad of dead-headers, weeders etc. could be used to advantage. But then again, I suppose their way is more natural.
Our gite is great: it’s comfortable, very quiet at the end of a cul-de-sac farm drive. The lane that goes past the gite is actually a Grande Randonee route, but seems rarely used. We have easy access to main roads and small towns for bread etc. One oddity is the kitchen bin, which is unnecessarily electronic: put your hand near it and it opens, then shuts a few a seconds later. It appears to run on batteries and seems to me – a bit of a gadget freak if there ever was one – to be a completely unwarranted departure from the conventional pedal operated system. I made a wee video of it, but it’ll cost me to upgrade this account, so you’ll need to go to my Facebook page if you want to see it in action.
Yesterday – the 13th – Sonia and I went to Fougeres. (By the way, I’m ignoring all the accents, as I can’t be ar*ed putting them in.) I generally dislike doing touristy things and visiting towns, but I must admit to liking Fougeres. An attractive town, it seems to actively welcome tourists without going overboard. The town and its gardens are interesting and quaint: the castle is magnificent. For €8.50 each, we got at least a couple of hours’ interesting wandering around and each had an audio-guide in English. At times there were multimedia displays and it was all first rate. Despite all this, perhaps the best bit was as we were buying our tickets at the start and I was chatting to the receptionist. “Departement?” she asked. “Ecosse” I replied and she apologised profusely for not realising I was foreign. When asked she confirmed she thought I was French, so that really made my day!
Today is the 14th July – a big day in the French calendar. When I was in the bread shop the other morning I asked if they’d be open today and they were, so that was fine. After I’d done my Hunter-Gatherer routine and we’d had breakfast, we went for a walk on the Cirque du Diable. It was very pleasant but didn’t live up to its name. But then the Cirque de Solitiude in Corsica was hotching with people so even it left something to be desired.
This afternoon we headed off to Rennes. Mrs M has been expressing a desire to go round a large hypermarket, so we thought the E.Leclerc on the outskirts of the city would be just the ticket. 45 minutes to get there, 3 minutes to realise it was closed for Le Quatorze Juillet and 45 minutes back.