In this fourth and final installment of my journey in France, I would like to talk about the lovely town of Josselin. Probably my favorite place during all of the driving around in France at this time. I felt charmed by this town mostly because of the castle that lays on a rocky base next to a canal. We also got to see the inside with a short guided tour and I observed my first fully equipped old-timey library. That was the highlight of my day as I love books and everything connected to them. And I always dreamed and still do about living in a castle, in the 19th century when puffy dresses were still a thing.
I would not mind being dropped in the roaring 20s either. The dances, the music, and the overall glitz and glam speak to me. But a little bit further in history is where I really want to go to. Find me in the time when chivalry was not dead! Make me a lady and let me read all the books of great writers, in time when they actually lived.
Don't mind me, I might have read too much Dickens and am still on cloud nine about David Copperfield. That does not mean that what I am gushing about is not what speaks to me!
I have seen much bigger castles before. In the same France but in a different area. This place, however, was not massive but it was endlessly alluring. I could not quite put my finger on it but I felt majestically here. Like it was a castle I belonged in. Next to the full-size portraits of kings and noblemen that are no longer, I felt like I was swept away, to a distant time in the past. And even though the tour was presented in French (it was the last available guided expedition of the day) I had no moment when I was bored.
I marveled at all the personal touches. The engraved names, letters, and slogans. The huge halls and intricate detailing. The family that had held the castle for generations. Its history of countless battles, trials, and tribulations. The injustices and happy moments it had been a part of. The full glory that will never be restored but still echoes in the walls...
As a child, I never thought of who these magical places belonged to. As I grew up I assumed that the government had control over all the royal and grand buildings. Only recently, when I glanced upon a TV series about Compulsive cleaners (yes, I am very satisfied when I see things being cleaned. By others.) I found out that castles and noble houses often still belong to families that have ruled over them for years and years. It not only surprised me quite profoundly but also gives me hope to own my own castle one day in the future. It has always been a dream.
We, of course, did some other things on this last day with Kubby. She would leave the following day, for London, so we made a plan to go visit Nik and say our goodbyes. Funny thing is, even though we did that, I and Jonas returned to Josselin the day after, to pre-celebrate my names day and finally have some snails. We ran into Nik and Katie both, out for dinner with their family. I think it was a kind of goodbye dinner for them and we just caught them for the last ten or so minutes there.
You already saw my snail picture in the last post but in case you missed it, here are the links to all of my previous France posts:
We also had some mussels in France. In fact, it was the most common plate they offered and you could find it everywhere. I had them twice, once in a white wine sauce and once in onions. The second dish was the best as it had a little sweetened taste. And, overall, I would most definitely recommend them. But I would not suggest for you to get fresh orange juice. They serve you just a bit of it, with water on the side. I had forgotten that even though it had also happened in my childhood when I had visited France.
My favorite restaurant is on the right of the picture. You can see the tables just a bit
Josselin is quite a nice town to walk in. It is not big, on the contrary, its small-town charm is positively radiant. There are many narrow streets and the castle walls take up a lot of space. They also provide the place with that general vibe of noblemen and knights, ladies and songs. The big castle garden is a nice addition. There are no flowers rather than shaped bushes and greens everywhere. It is the perfect spot to have a picnic in or host a wedding, if you can convince the owners to let you do that.
Parking was free in town. The tour, for how short it was, was a little pricey(It was around 9 euro per person) but I do not regret going on it as I love everything old and historical. It fascinates me. Also, do not leave your belongings behind. Even a book, in English. It will get stolen. One was taken away when Jonas left it behind. Overall, there was a little more dishonesty here than in Germany. I would say it was more of a free spirit but also annoying manners. Like trying to sneak on the bus without paying, I hadn't seen that since my childhood. It has happened in my own country. There was also another incident besides the book but I do not recall it anymore.
My France trip made me want to calm down from planning. I did way too much of it during it and the next big trip I go on, I want to be relaxed and have a simply good time. Plane on, off, vacation, food, sleep, adventures. Then home. That being said, I love traveling and even though I do not deal well with stressful situations, I would still repeat all of it. And the only thing I would change on this trip? Spending a little more time in the wedding event!
You may have noticed that the photos have been taken by a couple of different cameras. I did not always carry around the huge professional thing. Sometimes my borrowed phone took the snaps, sometimes Kubby did the work. It was very nice to see the view from the inside of the castle grounds. What you do not see in the picture where I sit on the ledge is that the drop down is quite impressive. The castle is built on a base of rocks to be as impenetrable as possible. You can find the image in one of my previous posts. The part II of the series, where I talk about Vannes. Oh well, I will post it here as well so you do not have to fuss over it.
In the image, it does not look like much but I would say the rocks are at least 15 meters high and only then the castle starts. It is a massive building so the rock base looks a little unimpressive in the picture but I guarantee that it was a great sight to behold in real life.
I would definitely recommend Josselin as a tourist destination if you are in the West part of France but aren't close to the ocean. Vannes, the closest coastal city is not far from to Josselin. Rennes, the closest big city, is not far from Josselin. Various hiking trails are not far from Josselin. And the food is amazing there. And that last argument right there is what would seal the deal for me anytime! Oh, and vegans and vegetarians be warned, they are not big here on meatless dishes. Their substitute for your meat will be French fries with salad on the side. And I am not kidding, that is what @KubbyElizabeth got.
The picture from the previous post
Overall, I have only happy things to say about Josselin. It was the part of the trip when I was already getting burned out and tired but it was amazing nonetheless. I made a lot of pictures here and many pictures were taken of me. That yellow dress was always my favorite. And it has become big on me over the years but I love it very much and I wear it every time I travel to a warm place.
I do not know, I think it is the oldest garment of mine that I still love. I got it at a time when my life was quite dark still and I did not wear it that much then. But with my clods clearing up and me changing my circumstances, this piece of garment became something dear. And I know such an attachment to one thing is curious but I just love the dress and there is nothing else to it. Except that I think that I should have more yellow in my closet.
So now, at the end of this post, let me drag you in some more of these photos. Many more of my yellow dress and endless amount of Josselin castle.
Always living in a fairytale