Carnac, Locmariaquer and Josselin

Mark has wanted to visit the megaliths at Carnac for a long time, so after a quick trip to Le Pouldu on Sunday (another village Gauguin lived in, recommended by our guide book, but there really wasn’t a lot to see and the museum was closed) we decided that Carnac would be our destination on Monday. We picked the Carnac town centre aire out for an overnight stop, thinking that’d give us chance for a bit of a wander round the town later in the afternoon.

The online reviews of the Carnac aire were correct in highlighting just how uneven the spaces down the middle of the car park are due to tree roots under the tarmac. It wasn’t a problem for us though – we arrived at around 4pm and bagged one of the unaffected spaces on the edge.

We don’t often stay on these tightly packed town centre aires, but as Mark pointed out, they really don’t disappoint in terms of entertainment 😂 We were the only non-French van there, and the major only concern of the French seemed to be getting a TV signal, which the trees down the centre of the car park were doing a fine job of blocking.

The accepted technique appeared to be to arrive, fling your van “à toute vitesse” into the first available space, and have the satellite dish up and twizzling within seconds. For those unfamiliar with motorhome TV, the satellite dishes are typically motorised, lying flat against the top of the van for travel, then raising electrically and turning to automatically lock onto the satellite signal. Many of them seem to fold down automatically when the ignition is turned on – with the comical result that when someone starts shuffling their van 10cm at a time to try to get a signal, their satellite dish can fly up and down faster than a prostitute’s knickers….

I commented to Mark whilst watching one guy in a huge Pilote that it’s always amazed me how some folk can twizzle and twizzle endlessly in search of a signal. Surely after a few turns and nothing locking on, it’s time to accept that it’s just not happening and either move the van or give up and read a book instead? Maybe it’s a man thing……

Eventually the penny would drop, the ignition would go back on, and the van would screech off, Keystone Cops style, into another space (quite often, and comically, still behind the row of trees that was clearly the cause of the problem). There was also a lot of discussion going on around the car park between groups of French pensioners (with arm waving indicating the general direction of the satellite).

God help them all should two vans arrive in close succession (or one arrive whilst another was in the process of checking out all the spaces). Panic then ensued. The guy in the van below even reversed straight into the lamp post behind (narrowly missing the tree, more by good luck than good management one suspects), such was his hurry to bag the space with a new arrival already in sight and approaching fast….

(Mark snuck out later to inspect. Very luckily he’d just creased the back bumper / step).

Mark’s theory was that there must be something really good on French TV at around 6.30 on a Sunday night to cause all this mayhem. The French don’t normally seem so TV-obsessed 😵📺

Carnac was yet another attractive little town:

The Carnac stones are the largest collection of neolithic standing stones in the World – over 3000 of them.

There are three “alignments” to look at, groups of stones in rows, spread out over a distance of about 4km.

No-one really knows what the point of the stones is, but one thing’s for sure – a heck of a lot of work went into bringing the stones here and setting them up.

Spotted at Carnac: we’ve seen this van before! It was parked at Noah’s Ark (a ship setting) in Sweden when we visited last year….

We checked out his website last year: he seemed to be writing / selling quite in-depth guides to such sites (more for the serious researcher than for general interest?). Unfortunately the website doesn’t seem to be working at present for us to have another look.

From Carnac we drove a few miles West to Locmariaquer, another beautiful area on the coast, this one famous for oysters and more neolithic stones. Time to get the bicycles off the back of SOK and go for a ride round.

Today (Tuesday) started with a trip to Intermarché to use the service point, acquire a new doormat, and start stockpiling some boxes of wine to bring home. The last doormat got left behind a few days ago 😲 We didn’t spot it as we drove away as Mark had put it on a sand dune to dry out. Oops.

Then it was onward to Josselin, which turned out to be not only very pretty but also very historic, with no shortage of signs around the town telling us all about the very old (some 16th century) half-timbered buildings.

Josselin is also home to a late 14th century château:

We had a comical encounter down by the water. A rented pleasure boat was faffing around in the middle, clearly aiming to tie up alongside the floating jetty you can see in the distance in the photo above.

It was obvious that the older chap driving had no clue at all what he was doing, not even that he needed to turn around and tie up with the nose of the boat pointing into the current. The other two people on board seemed to have even less idea. Imagine our horror when they started talking to each other and we realised that they were fellow Brits 😱😱😱

A french chap, clearly the owner of one of the boats already tied up, was running up and down the jetty waving his arms. He was right to be fearful for his property: after hitting the jetty hard enough to pop a fender they then rammed it nose-on (thankfully the french chap kept his footing as the whole jetty bounced up and down dangerously). Here’s the disaster unfolding: not quite the right approach angle but plenty of throttle at this point:

After the crash, the throttle seemed to be forgotten and they now got uncomfortably close to the current taking them straight into the poor french guy’s boat.

At this point, Mark decided that it was time to intervene and scream “Go Ahead, Go Ahead”. Thankfully, direct instructions in English were heeded, crisis was thus averted and, with the aid of the long-suffering french chap, they finally got the thing tied up safely.

Once all that was over, we had chance to read the nearby sign telling us that this is the Nantes-Brest canal, started in 1811 under Napoleon to link the two major ports when Brest was blockaded by the British, the idea being that he could then use it as a resupply route between the two. “That’ll be why he was trying to wreck it then” muttered Mark, referring to our white-haired boating Brit….

On the way back to SOK through the town, we saw a sign promising free entry to the church tower. We climbed 138 dizzying steps up a narrow spiral staircase to get this view 😎:

We’ve now driven about 20 minutes from Josselin to an aire at a place called Rohan. We’re parked up in a lovely little spot right next to the canal. It’s not a bad view from the kitchen window:

Mark is keeping a careful eye out for any rented pleasure boats coming back this way 😉

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