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Backwater Tours:

Tour d'indulgence Français 2019

The Loire & Brittany

To leave the shores of England and take to the roads in France with the Brexit banned from all conversations was a real treat. Brittany Ferries landed us in France and made our way to the magnificent Chateau d’Artigny, (not easy to spell or say!). The massive palatial hotel was built as a home for the Coty family, of perfume fame in 1912. Clearly, no expense spared. Its good to see where some of the cost of an expensive perfume has been invested.

A small army of employees and contractors are employed in looking after the place. On our second day there we witnessed the transformation of the formal gardens at the front of the Chateau by a team of gardeners, planting the  ‘parterre’ with colourful plants. This back-breaking feat was achieved during the day while we were engaged in sampling the local wine.

A coach took the assembled company of twenty-eight firstly to the Chateau Chenonceau which has a chequered history. The Chateau is built straddling the river. Along with the coach came a young lady who’s local and historical knowledge of the region seemed to know no bounds.

After the Chateau down to the serious business of tasting wine. The first of two stops was the caves Duhard, who specialised in white wines in particular Vouvray. Lunch was enjoyed in the caves. An almost religious event in France. Everything stops for lunch.

The next excitement was to test our taste buds to the limit. The smell, then the taste of flavoured water was the warm up to tasting a whole series of delicious wines. Each group was marked, and winners were chosen, who were presented with a couple of bottles. It took until we were in Brittany to get them opened! Thank goodness for the coach back to the Chateau.

Saturday 25th May saw all the cars take part in a Tulip run stopping at Chateau et Fleurs, Chateau de Pray and the magnificent gardens at Villandry. The day ended with a dinner in the grandeur of the ‘Salon Royal’ at Chateau d’Artigny.

 

Sunday 26th May saw a lot of packing and paying bills before we headed North to, Finistere, which found us arriving at the Grand Hotel des Bains. This delightful hotel was a complete contrast to the chateau. It had been modernised in a very sympathetic New England style with comfortable bedrooms, and a location second to none. Right on its own beach in this tiny fishing village called Locquirec. The visit here was excellent. A place to visit with or without a classic car.

Two tulip runs were organised perfectly as we have come to expect from Lyn and Paul, who always manage to find excellent places to stop, and eat.

The second route found us eating lunch in the infamous Hotel du Lac in Huelgoat. No this is not the Booker Prize winner Hotel in the book of the same name by Anita Brookner, her Hotel Du Lac was on the shores of Lake Geneva. Unless you knew that it was a chance to dream that perhaps this was that ‘Hotel Du Lac’. What they did do was to serve up an excellent lunch, French style.

After lunch, a stroll to the magnificent stones on the edge of the lake. This jumble of huge rocks which are a prehistoric site. If you perchance find yourself here, go, and have a look at the stones. A mysterious and atmospheric gorge.

Back at the hotel in Locquirec, all was not well with one of our number. His petrol pump had stopped working. Thanks to the foresight of Jonathan Mitchell who seemed to have an endless supply of parts for E-types, a new petrol pump was provided. An interesting thought, how many men does it take to change an e-type fuel pump?

The answer is one – James Turnbull, complete with Jaguar overalls, but it needed four onlookers for advice and helpful comments.

A great time was had by all, thanks to the excellent planning of Paul and Lyn. Bring on the next one, please!

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