St Mayeux Bretagne France

St Mayeux Bretagne France is a true Breton village


The village of St Mayeux, is  found in department 22 of France, Bretagne, in the region of Côtes d’Armor. It is a quiet, charming and peaceful Breton village with a 16th century church. The village has some larger villages/towns within easy driving distance of around 10 – 15 Km (10 – 15 minutes away) with Corlay to the north, and Mur de Bretagne and Pontivy to the south.

Église St-Mayeux
Église St-Mayeux

St-Mayeux is ideally placed if you would like to get to know more of this interesting part of Bretagne. The countryside is used for both buoef and vegetable production. The area around  St-Mayeux is very interesting and the people of the village are extremely helpful. There is a lot to be discovered in this region. The coast is a 45 minutes drive away, where you will find a beautiful coastline and quaint harbours.
St Mayeux is an average size village. You can obtain all the essential goods needed to make every day village life easy and pleasant. There is a Viveco supermarket run by Angelique, that has a Bar and Cafe serving food and drinks, you can order your bread and croissants for the next day.
The First world War Memorial at St Mayeux
The First world War Memorial at St Mayeux

The Post Office and the Mairie is adjacent to the church. The nearest large supermarket is at Saint Nicolas du Pélém. This has a 24-hour petrol station that accepts most credit cards and is about 18 Km away; also you can find an Intermarche in Mur de Bretagne. Pontivy  and St Brieuc are the main towns with all specialized shops, bars and café 35 minutes drive away.
Menhirs stones.
The village church is rumoured to have been built from the stone taken from the Abbaye de Bon Repos, although some villagers believe that it was only when the church was in need of repair that matching stone was found at the Abbaye and used to repair the church also the church bell is though to have come from the Abbaye. An interesting feature of the village is its menhirs, or standing stones, which are a phenomena of this region of France.The standing stones of St Mayeux are well worth visiting, it is located on the rue du Menhir.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Images of St Mayeux


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Images from the surounding area


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Living in France the best move

Living in France the best move

Moving to France

The-Rhone-at-Tain-l'Hermatage
Riverside Boat moorings at Tain-l’Hermitage

We were down in the Ardèche on our Euro 2013 adventure, staying at Tain-l’Hermitage. We had been there for a couple of nights and as it was Mrs K’s birthday we decided to go for a meal in town. As we walked down to the main restaurant area I noticed that most if not all of the café/bars had music monitors on tall stands, lined up on the road outside. I said to Mrs K that it might get a bit noisy later in the evening. As we walked on down towards the bridge which crosses the Rhône we stumbled upon a large square with lots of tables set outside the café/bars, and a stage set up for live performances. At this point I turned to Mrs K and said “It’s going to get very loud tonight”. We decided that we would return to our motor home, as the music started to get going and any thought of eating out was forgotten, returning past the cafés with each one playing a different song. I had not realized that it was a Friday night and that’s when all the younger people have fun. If we had been 30 years younger we would have enjoyed every minute of the atmosphere, but not now: we just enjoy a tranquil walk, quiet drink and a nice meal. Goes with getting older. We were staying alongside the Rhône on a camp site in an absolutely wonderful spot, with the river tour boats moored up across from the vineyard which is grown on a terraced hillside on the opposite side to the camp site. As the evening moved on the music got louder with each café/bar trying to outdo the other. They were still playing music at 3 o’clock the next morning. With the sun rising at 4:30 it was a short night for sleep. Still, the kids had a good time.

Vineyard-at-Tain
The vineyard on the Rhone at Tain-l’Hermitage

We decided that the time had come to move on. We had talked about moving to France when we retired and I had been on the internet looking at properties. We had seen a house in Bretagne near Corlay that we were interested in, so we planned a route and set out for Corlay. It was too far to travel in one day so we would stop wherever we fancied. The Ardèche is mountainous and the temperature changes very considerably. We stopped at a camp site in the middle of nowhere, with fairly basic washing facilities but quite adequate for our needs. We had gone from shorts and a tee shirt to jeans and a good pullover within hours. After the previous evening we were in bed by about 8 pm. We set off for Corlay early the next day and arrived about 2 pm. We had not seen the property we were looking for and it was very unlikely that we would as the immobilaire only gave an approximation for the location. Still, the area around Corlay looked good. It’s not a large village and we were soon at a road junction with a decision to make.

 
Directly opposite was an immobilaire office, so we decided to have a drink and take a look at what was for sale. It was Sunday so the office was closed but we looked in the window and after ten minutes or so a car pulled into the large parking area and a man got out. He came over to me and started to speak in French, so I explained in my limited knowledge of the language that I was sorry but I could only speak and understand a little French: “Je parle un peu Français ” to which he said “oh you’re English”.  “Oui” I replied.”Can I help you? What are you looking for?”  “We’re just looking.” ” Well that’s OK come in “. Now France does not work on Sundays and for us to stop outside an immobilaire and for him to come by and stop just at that moment in time was very fortuitous for the both of us. In we went to the office and forty minutes later we are off to look at two properties. I can honestly say I didn’t want to look at either but we were on our way. The first had a hectare of land and would have needed a lot of money to make it liveable.  I was adamant I did not want to view the second property, but the agent said “Come on. It’s on the way back to the office. What have you got to lose?” so off we went. We had particularly wanted a Bretagne style house with the stone corbelling around the doorways and windows, but when we pulled up outside this house we could see it was not traditional at all. It was set just outside the village with nothing around but countryside. The house was a bit neglected but structurally in pretty good condition.

Patio-view
The view looking south

We had a look around the house and found it had just what we wanted: lots of space, isolated but within walking distance to a village and countryside all around with two-thirds of an acre of land. It was just right for us. We told the agent we were interested and that we would be in touch with him if we decided to make an offer, but as we were only looking, if somebody else was interested then he should let them go ahead. We continued on with our adventure visiting the surrounding area to what could turn out to be our new home.  But we couldn’t get the house out of our minds. The agent had gone fishing and had caught two big ‘uns.
We felt that Bretagne was very similar in a lot of ways to where we lived in England. Obviously it is very different with the rolling countryside and its way of life, but it just felt like we fitted in. The weather pattern is similar but a bit warmer being further south. We decided that we would buy the property if we could sell our home in England. As things have a way of falling into place if it’s supposed to happen, we became the new owners in December 2013.
 
 
 
 

 

Images of our Euro 2013 Adventure


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Christmas – New Year 2014 – 2015

Christmas – New Year 2014 – 2015

Home For Christmas

We recently purchased a trailer in the UK, but before doing so we had look on the AngloInfo Brittany website to see if anybody was selling one, as this site has a classified ads section and is also quite informative (as long as you don’t take all the advice given as correct – you need to filter the opinions offered and then make up your own mind about the subject, as we all have our own agenda!).
We saw an advert which turned out to be an English person now living in France trying to offload a trailer without the necessary registration documents. Also, it wasn’t quite as described in the ad. As always, “Buyer beware”. This chap got very annoyed with us when, after inspecting the trailer, we pulled out of the purchase, referring to us as “time wasters” when he put the trailer up for sale again. When the next viewer pulled out he was livid, and putting it up for sale for a third time he referred to them as “yet another time waster” and said in the ad that he was “not prepared to wait around. If you want the trailer, bring the cash and take it away”. In the end he sounded pretty desperate but he needed to look at what he was trying to sell. We discovered that in France you cannot by law hand over more than 300 Euros in cash for any bill or transaction. Any more than that and you have to pay by cheque. Also, trailers which can carry 500 kg require a Carte Grise certificate. We hadn’t known that when we first looked at the trailer, and our friends made us aware of the need for this certificate and of the cash aspect. If the trailer had been as described in the ad we might have bought it, but it had one or two problems and our friends saved us again.

We spotted the trailer we ended up buying on eBay and it has turned out to be a very good buy. We bought it from a Polish guy who imports them; well, he actually returns home to Poland and buys the trailer, loads it up with booze and brings it back to the UK. He then puts an advert on eBay to sell the trailer and drinks the booze while he’s waiting! Looks slim for someone who drinks a lot!

For our homeward trip for Christmas and New Year, we loaded up the trailer with some oak flooring that we are going to lay in the lounge area. There was room left to get the rest of the things we wanted to take home and we had much more room in the car. Mrs K and Kinnie were able to stretch out and sit together on the rear seats. The journey home seemed to pass by quickly. We arrived in the early hours and soon it felt like we hadn’t been away. The bird feeders needed refilling and it would be a day or two before the birds were back feeding. On Christmas day we had twelve different species of birds visit the garden which was absolutely wonderful to see. Back in the summer I’d bought a satellite receiver and dish from Aldi. I didn’t pay a lot for the satellite system but it worked fairly well. The HD receiver gave a brilliant picture but the dish was disappointing. The fixings were of poor quality and, as we live on the side of a valley, the wind at times can be strong and moves the dish. I’d bought a better dish over with us and soon had it fixed onto the wall bracket and aligned to the English transmitting satellite. There are loads of channels, some in HD. We don’t watch a lot of TV, but without it I feel cut off, especially as we don’t have an internet connection at home yet. I like to keep up with what’s happening in the world.

Half way through our Christmas break I was sitting in the kitchen, looking out of the window watching the birds feeding on the seed that had fallen onto the patio. Looking at the patio stonework I realised that it was really covered in a lot of dirt and that there were areas where moss was growing and starting to spread. What it needed was to be jet washed. I decided to do it in two stages as it was cold and it’s a big area. I’d wash half one day and the rest the next. Now that it’s all been washed – what a difference! It’s made it looks so much bigger. The down side is that now it’s clean it has highlighted areas that require repairing, but that will need to be done when the weather is better. The upside is, that’s another couple of jobs off the list.

Christmas passed with us doing very little except reading, eating, drinking and sleeping; it must be our age. Mrs K said, “Come on, we had planned to get a lot done”, but with us not getting up till nine-ish, then a slow breakfast and a trip into the village for our baguette and croissant, it was lunchtime before we were anywhere near ready to do any work. The previous owners had an agreement with a local supermarket to display an advertising board on the boundary for a small annual fee. We had contacted them shortly after we became the owners to ask them to remove the advert. We’d had no reply from them so it was coming down. As always, it’s never that simple, but after an hour or so it was down, and it should turn out to be a good mucking up board when we next mix up some cement. We tidied the garden over the next few days so our compost frames are now full to the brim. We made a trip to the Déchetterie to get rid of all the recycling material and rubbish we had accumulated, and things were starting to feel a lot better. I had planned to organise my tools and get them in some sort of order, but that slipped by the wayside. Another job that I didn’t get round to was working on the patio balustrades which I had intended to finish rubbing down and getting painted ready for re-locating back onto the patio boundary. It’s quite a drop in some places and I’d like to stop anybody accidentally falling over the sides.

We were heading towards New Year’s eve, and we had tickets for the fancy dress party being held in the village hall. The theme was “Pirates” and Mrs K had sorted out our outfits. I wasn’t looking forward to dressing up for the party, but it turned out to be a very good evening and we really did enjoy it. We met a lot of new people and were made to feel part of the village community. New Year already! Where did the last year go? We have now owned the house for a year and, looking back, we have achieved a great deal in what was a short time. The last year seems to have just shot by, just like our time here this Christmas. We will be on our way back to the UK in a couple of days, but it’s been a lovely festive break.

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Getting our furniture to France

Getting our furniture to France

When we realized…

…that we were going to be unable to move our furniture over to France, when we completed on the purchase of our French property. The decision to move everything into storage was going to be a stage by stage operation. As I have very limited use of my right hand, moving anything with weight and size is awkward, but it’s got to be done and so “just get on with it” and do the best you can; and how long it was going to take, was just something we were going to have to live with.
We found storage that was local. I had a Ford Transit van and over a period of about four weeks’ of hard work, with the packing and loading of the van, then shipping it up to the lockup then unloading, it was quite a logistical task. I had the house almost cleared by the Friday prior to completion of the house sale on the Monday.
The lockup was full to capacity. I had hired a lockup that was the same cubic area of a 7.5 ton van so I knew that what was in the lockup would also fit into the van.
I did a lot of research into hiring a 7.5 ton van. I posted a topic onto the AngloInfo website asking for advice on the subject with regards to the legal side of driving on the French mainland. I received conflicting advice, some saying “You won’t have a problem”, some saying “You can’t do that, unless you have this and that”, which didn’t give me a lot of confidence. I decided to contact the French Embassy in London, hoping to get clarification on the issue, but the auto-generated response to my email was “look on our Forum”, so there was no answer there! I decided to contact the hire company, with the thought that the insurance underwriters would not insure a vehicle if it and the driver did not meet all of the legal requirements to drive in France. I was told that if I had C1 on my UK licence I was legal to drive in France, contrary to what I had previously been told, i.e. that I needed an HGV2, and that if I didn’t have an HGV2 I was going to get arrested.
We decided to shift all the furniture over on the 21st of February and return to the UK on the 23rd. We were going to load the van on the Thursday, drive up to Redhill and spent the night there, then drive to the freight terminal of the Eurotunnel at Ashford on the Friday. That was the plan anyway. After loading the van on the Thursday, we called into Asda supermarket to get some last minute bits and pieces before driving to Redhill. As we were about to set off I asked Mrs K if she had the car keys which also had all of our other keys on. “No, you’ve got them” came the reply. After about 45 minutes we came to the conclusion I had left them in the car at the van hire company. Mrs K said, “Well, we have all we need, so lets just go to France.” A freight booking allows you to turn up 24 hours before or after your booking time, so it was off to France.
We arrived at the terminal and within 15 minutes we were on the shuttle. Not having crossed using the freight side of the shuttle before, we settled down and got some sandwiches out. “First time?” a guy asked. “Yes”, I replied. “Well, you need to get into that van and he will take you to the driver’s carriage that you’ll cross in, then he’ll bring you back to your van when we get to France.” Glad someone knew what was going on! “Cheers mate.” We got our stuff together and off we went. Some of the lorry drivers looked a bit in need of some TLC – they looked a bit rough and ready, and some hadn’t seen a shower since they had left home. It wasn’t long before we were driving down the French motorways. We had been up since 6 o’clock that morning and were feeling a bit rough, so I said to Mrs K that I’d try and get to the other side of Caen so we could take a break. I estimated it would be about another 3 hours drive. The van had absolutely no power in it loaded up. On the straights it was fine, but any kind of incline and it was hopeless. Northern France, until you get Caen, is hilly and it took us a lot longer than 3 hours to reach Caen, but we got there around 2:30 am. Pulling over into an Aire, we were ready for a break. When you look at a cab on a lorry they look, to me at least, fairly roomy, but they are certainly not. Trying to get some sleep was just a waste of time and it got very cold, so after about 2 hours I said to Mrs K, “Come on, let’s see how far we can get before we need to stop again.” I topped up with diesel and away we went. We were only 3 hours from home and the roads are pretty flat once you get Brittany in comparison to Normandy.
We arrived home completely worn out, cold and in need of sleep/ Mrs K soon had a cup of tea made and we had some reclining garden chairs in easy reach in the van. With the electric fire, central heating on and some blankets we got comfortable in the kitchen and were soon asleep.
For comfort garden chairs are fine on a sunny day on the patio after a beer or two, but after a six hundred kilometre journey they soon become restricting so, after a few hours sleep, we were up, showered and ready to start unloading. Having all my tools and the garage equipment loaded onto the van last made it very easy to unload and store into the cave area of the house.Moving It took us a good few hours to get it all stowed away, but in doing this it allowed us to get to the most important items and sought after furniture: the bed and the bedding. I soon had the bed together, and I think that once you have that done it gives you the feeling that you can relax, knowing that you have somewhere to sleep.
Mrs K was calling out that dinner was almost ready and that I needed to get myself cleaned up. Not long after we were ready for bed and glad to see the end of what had been a very tiring 48 hours. The van was about 40% empty when we’d finished the previous day and the remaining items were the boxes that seem to be never ending. Once we’d started moving them into the house – and we were fortunate with the weather as it was dry, very sunny and turned out to be a warm spring weekend – we had great fun moving in. The couple that we had become friendly with, Robin and Laura, were returning from their holiday in Guernsey on the Saturday, after visiting their son and grandchildren and had offered to help us move the large pieces of furniture into the house. They turned up right on time just as we were moving the last of the boxes, with just the settees, armchair and fridge freezer to do. The van was quickly completely empty and all the furniture moved in by about 2:30pm on the Saturday. We were so grateful for their help. No sooner had they turned up then they were gone again to their own home to unpack from their holiday break. Lovely people.
Unloading the van was the easy part; unpacking the boxes and moving the contents to their rooms, as anybody that has moved will know, that’s another thing altogether. We just moved the boxes from here to there, and as we would be back the next weekend for a couple of weeks, we would unpack them then.
We left for our return journey at 3:00 am the next morning. The drive back was so much easier with no load, and we knew what to do once we arrived at the freight terminal in Sangatte. It was straight onto the train and into the driver’s carriage. 45 minutes later we were on the M20 heading towards Chelmsford to return the truck and pick up our car – with the keys that I had left behind on the Thursday morning. Another part of our life’s jigsaw successfully completed.

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