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Fusion of Breton/Italian architectural style in Clisson….

Fusion of Breton/Italian architectural  style in Clisson….

If you like the ‘punting at Coulon’ then try Clisson, it really is one of those little gems that can easily take your breath away…. a small ‘taste of Italy’ combined with that easy grace that some chic French villages seem to have… Home of the Muscadet wine and an inspiring fusion of Italian and Breton architecture, it’s well worth a detour!

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Having left the elegance of the Loire Chateaus well behind us as we headed west towards Nantes and the Atlantic Ocean. Deciding to enjoy some of the treasures of the Loire Atlantique region, we simply had to visit Clisson for not only does it have interesting mills(Moulin), a sumptuous Italian designed church, hidden alleyways and secret bridges… it also has that wonderful 11th century castle – the Chateau de Clisson.
The town enjoys a wonderfully rich history but first we needed to find some accommodation. This was soon found at the easily accessible Camping Vallee de Clisson, which enjoys a small but tranquil location close to the woods and river. The campsite offered free wifi, children games (including table tennis, petanque and a glorious boulder to climb all over… its dappled sunshine, small glades and outdoor ‘al fresco’ areas were in good use as we entered around 7pm.
With breakfast finished by 9am, we packed up and headed into the old part of Clisson… not one for access via motorhomes.. so best to park outside where possible and walk/bike in… the old town is split by a beautiful river complete with its own weir and roman inspired bridge… all leading to the steep steps to the castle.

The town’s earliest records shows the castle was first built on the orders of Geoffrey Martel in 1058. Its humble wooden origins soon gave way to an almost impregnable stone fortress for the Clisson family that lasted well over 700 years until over 80% of the old town was burnt to the ground shortly after the French revolution (1793) by the militant Republicans.

Yet the castle soon provided the building blocks for the re-birth of the town.. before it was bought by the sculptor Francois Frederic Lemot in 1807. Its intended use from this day forwards was that of a roman ruin, to match the elegant Italian church and the sculptors new neo-classical home, Domaine de la Garonne Lemot (complete with a sculptors garden to match Oslo)

We’d been very fortunate to have picked a weekend that also saw recreations of life in the region in the 11th/12th century. With both girls enthralled by the tented village that included cooking, tapestry and arrow making demonstrations.. whilst the ‘Hastingers’ provided some very realistic 11th century combat complete with swords, lances and shields!

The stunning ruins sit imperiously over the small town below, but there are plenty of places to grab a croissant or ice cream and to watch the varying degrees of success by the many kayakers who try to descend the weir… suffice to say we saw our fair share of hilarious incidents.. until a poor chap lost his glasses after a fairly spectacular capsize… reminding us all of the Eidfjord ‘Go Pro’ incident

Thankfully we have restocked the ‘camera cupboard’ and we move on to enjoy the blissfully serene Gironde near Talmont sur Gironde… having met up with Catherine’s parents, we hope to enjoy some time out of the van at a site overlooking the Gironde near Mortagne sur Gironde… with the temperature set to sky rocket into the high 30’s… it looks like our new Go Pro might just get some use in the gite’s swimming pool!!!!


so where did we park the bus for the night?

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Ever wanted to pack your bags, just jump in a motorhome and go off and explore Europe as a family? Well, that’s exactly what my family has done since September 2015. Visiting 35 European countries, travelling over 54,000 miles and grabbing over 450 family experiences on the way… enjoying Bobsleigh in Norway, Climbing into Mt Etna in Sicily or Kayaking the River Dordogne.

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