Maché to Hédé, via St Perreux

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Other than a feral cat yowling in the early hours, this was a very picturesque spot, and there’s pleasant walking along the lake. The next day we headed north-westerly, deliberately sticking to the D roads, and effectively taking a more direct route across the marshlands of this region.

We stopped for an onboard lunch at a high point overlooking the marsh area, then continued on, crossing the Loire at St Nazaire, with the objective of overnighting at a riverside Park4night at Rieux, a little South of Redon. Although we’d stayed there once previously, we discovered that motorhomes are now prohibited.

Armed with Park4night I set a route to several other possibilities. Number two came up trumps, in a small carpark overlooking the lovely river at St Perreux. Before turning in for the night, I dragged Sophie out for a walk along the river as far as the Nantes-Brest Canal. With only a few well behaved fishermen at St Perreux, it was a great find and a very quiet night.

Next day we visited an old haunt of ours, Rochefort en Terre. This bijou village is very authentic and a real delight to the eyes. It had clearly been a while since we’d been here because it now costs €5 to park a motorhome, irrespective of whether you’re planning to overnight or not. Being midweek, off-season, and given our modest length, we took advantage of a loophole that enabled us to fit in a parking space on the approach hill to the town, where there is no overt motorhome prohibition, and where we happily paid €2, which gave us 5 hours, after taking into account the free two hour lunch period.

We took advantage of our extended stay. Firstly, we’d decided to try a different restaurant than the one we’ve only ever used previously. So we strolled up the main street, doing our research of the various establishments as we went. After all that, the conclusion was we would in fact return to our old favourite, Les Ardoisieres, which makes the corner as you first enter the town from the East, and is an excellent outside eating venue, with their food, in our experience, always tasting great.

Although we’ve visited Rochefort many times in the past, on this occasion we discovered two new areas. Firstly, the beautiful chateau grounds are now open and free, and are a must-see, and provide great views over the quirky ancient rooftops and leaning chimneys. Then, after lunch, we found the old lavoir, and some lovely old buildings beyond.

Sophie’d come up with a clever eating plan today. We’d have just two courses at the restaurant, then after a little after lunch stroll we’d head to the creperie with the outside terrace with views, for desserts and coffee. Sophie’s not a great coffee drinker, so ordered a kir Breton instead, on the pretext that we’d share it. To be fair I probably did drink the lion’s share in the end. The plan was a success, and perhaps a model we should repeat.

After Rochefort, we dropped in at a particular favourite of mine, La Gacily. We used to visit it regularly in the past, with the main draw being that the town, come Spring and Summer, has always had a really impressive outside photographic exhibition spread out over various parts. In addition to this, there are a broad range of artists and craftsmen’s workshops/shops, covering all the major disciplines, such as artists, glass-blowers, metal-workers, leather, soap, wood, etc.

With our aim to be at Hédé by the next day, we set course, with a few wild card Park4nights en route. Two were down very narrow lanes, and another, although lakeside, was too close to urban development for our taste. So we actually ended up in probably our favourite nearest to home spot at Hédé, some 45 minutes South of St Malo.

The Park4night is a very generous and quiet carpark that serves “Les Onzes Ecluses”, on the Canal d’Ille et Rance, so very handy for some lovely walks, or cycle rides. One draw of this area is the Genty House restaurant, nearer to the town of Hédé proper, where their midweek set menus are excellent value, and food superb. They also speak great English too.

After a second night at Hédé we were heading up the road to Dinan, to sample the medieval town’s great cuisine.

*** Just to mention that our blogs can be up to a few weeks behind reality, as we’re always in catch-up mode ***

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