Thatch and Stone Against Time

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Thatched Roof Breton Farmhouse, Marzan, France

Thatched Roof Breton Farmhouse, Marzan, France

Thatched roof houses are somewhat rare in Brittany. These natural materials are dull and gray. But brightly painted shutters and flowers brighten them.

We saw this old house near a small village called Marzan along the Vilaine River. It is at the very southern edge of the Morbihan département of Brittany.

The Vilaine River is the next river north of the more famous Loire River, and they are not very far apart when they enter the Atlantic. Between them is the large Parc Naturel Regional de Briere. This park is mostly marshland and is a source for thatch. Within the park there are villages with groups of thatched roof houses. Marzan is outside the park, but close by.

Brittany is remarkable for its stone buildings and walls. It also has many Neolithic stone monuments and standing stones. Some of the stones mark burial sites, but others are less well understood.

We found that drives through the back farm roads of Brittany were very rewarding. One afternoon after exploring villages and chateaux we found ourselves on a narrow lane across a farm field near the Vilaine. We drove along the field until we found another lane that went down to the river. We ended up at a very small picnic area with a boat launch and pier. There was a sailboat tied up at the pier and as the sun was setting we watched them fish for their dinner. They looked like they lived on the boat. We had brought food with us so we had a pleasant picnic and enjoyed the quiet setting on the riverbank. Following the light through the countryside can lead to unexpected adventures.  Photo: 1/320 s at f/4

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