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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Summer 2022 issue

2022 - A French Odyssey - Three Britons in Brittany

In May 2021, the wonderful St George’s fundraisers ran a silent auction. One of the lots was a 4-night stay at a gîte in Brittany, and I was lucky enough to win that prize. The holiday was kindly offered by Andy and Paula Graham, who have owned that property for a few years and have now both moved out to France to live there. We paid for an extra night to make more of a week of it.

The te, known as Maroux Vian, is situated about 2 miles from the small town of Callac, in the north-west corner of Brittany. It is quite a rural part of the country, and quite secluded, but very picturesque. Derek, Sonja and I got the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, and drove across to our destination from there. On arrival, we were warmly greeted by Paula and Andy, who showed us around the site, and also by one of their cats, Sooty, who had taken a liking to a bed in our cottage and had gone up there for an afternoon snooze!

On our first full day, a Tuesday, we took a trip to La Vallée des Saints – a scenic hilltop site where there are several hundred statues of Breton saints. The intention is to have 1,000 when all is completed. These are statues by a variety of different sculptors, of many saints we had never even heard of, but the overall impression is very striking.

After looking round the cathedral and the city centre, we had lunch in a charming café, and Sonja got to have the mussels she had been craving all week. In fact, we did fairly well out of the holiday in terms of food Brie, Camembert, crêpes, croissants, cordon bleu, croque monsiers and madames, and even a meal from a genuine British fish & chip van at Callac market. It’s amazing where you find those …..

Since it was our last night there, Andy had suggested that Friday evening should be marked by having a barbecue. So after a final dip in the gîtes very useful hot-tub – which we used most evenings; a very nice way to ease one’s feet after a day of travelling around, and to soak up the last of the sun’s influence – we gathered round their barbecue with a variety of food provided by everyone.

It was a lovely way to round off our stay. Andy and Paula are great fun, and very welcoming hosts. I know that one or two other members of St George’s have been to stay with them in Brittany, and they are always happy to have any others who wish to go and visit for a nice break.

For anyone who is interested, look up “Maroux Vian” on any of those travel websites, or find Andy or Paula directly on Facebook or through your church contacts. We can guarantee that you would be in for a great time.

Some of the statues – and the view – at

La Vallée des Saints.

The following day, we went to Lannion, to visit the market. This is one of the largest markets in the region, and there was certainly plenty there to fulfil most tastes. We even ran into the Grahams and their dog, Chelsea, as we were walking round the town. It is clearly a popular market!

Since we were near the northern coast of France at this point, we decided to head to the coast to see if we could find some beaches and, ideally, some ice cream. Much to our delight, both were accomplished, and even the weather smiled on us.

Ice creams by the seaside! How very French of us

Brittany is not really a wine-producing region of France – they concentrate more on cider, which we did sample on more than one occasion – so a proposed trip to any nearby vineyards wasn’t to be. On the Thursday, therefore, we went to a biscuit factory instead, about half an hours drive away.

On Friday, we took our longest trip of the week and visited Quimper, about an hour away. Quimper is famous for its architecture, and it is certainly not an empty claim. Some of it is quite remarkable. The cathedral in particular is extremely impressive.

Quimper’s famous twin-spired cathedral

Lunch at a French bistro.Derek tried

moulesfor the first time!

Yes, even I did some


Iain Renfrew