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Report 1981: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 2 Morbihan

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 10 of 27: Rochefort-en-Terre

photo by MAW

16thC lavoir

Rochefort-En-Terre is an attractive small town which is popular with tourists who arrive in large numbers. There is a large car park on the edge of the town (€2.50 all day). There are no obvious parking restrictions in the town (unlike at Locronan) and there were a few cars parked in places. However streets are narrow and there are a lot of pedestrians so attempts to park are difficult.

The town is built on a promontory above the Guezon river and the site has been fortified since Roman times. A defensive keep was built in the 12thC and town walls in the 15thC. The only bits left are a gateway and a small section of walls and some outbuildings. These were restored by the painter Alfred Klotts and now house a small museum with some of his paintings and some furniture. We gave this a miss.

There are flowers everywhere, especially bright red geraniums. Even the old well in the square is now a flower display. Large troughs of flowers along the side of the road not only look attractive, they also make parking difficult. Houses have window boxes with more geraniums.

There is a mixture architectural styles with stone and timber frame houses along the main street with narrow cobbled alleyways and steps off. There are a number of eateries as well as a craft bakery. There are quite a few gift shops aimed at the tourists. We found a small toy shop selling beautifully made traditional wooden toys which you rarely see in the UK. There are dress shops (usually specialising in the more way out fashion) and an antique shop full of old Breton furniture and a large sign saying ‘no photographs’.

We dropped down to the 16thC lavoirs along the river. The water was diverted into the washing pools which had slate floors with slate dividers and a slate roof.

We had to wait for a christening to finish in Eglise Notre-Dame-De-La-Tronchaye. It is a huge church with a short tower with a pyramid slate roof. Entry is through the elaborately carved south porch which has a decorative window above and two carved dark red doors. There is a very simple calvary outside.

Inside it is a plain stone building with two main aisles and statues on the pillars and a carved wooden pulpit. The north aisle has a highly carved balcony at the back. There is a side chapel with font and altar. There are carved wooden seats in the choir with carved misericords. There is a large carved and painted altar to one side of the main altar and another massive altar in the south aisle. The stained glass windows are modern.

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