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Voysey House,
Barley Mow Passage
London W4 4GF
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8742 3355

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Brittany - Megaliths to Monet

    • Brittany’s landscapes captured and cultivated: gardens, châteaux and historic towns.
    • Beautiful Belle-Ile, with an optional coastal walk.
    • The lecturer is Caroline Holmes, a garden historian with close family ties to Brittany.
    • Some of the finest prehistoric sites in Europe.
    • The inspiration for colonies of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists.
A Fishing Village In Brittany, Etching 1909.
A fishing village in Brittany, etching 1909.

The landscapes of Brittany are variously dramatic, fertile and rugged, framed by jagged coasts or broad sands. The granite bedrock can be seen carved into poignant sixteenth-century churchyard calvaries and piled high in Quimper’s two spires. The wealth of stone tools that have been found confirm the early agricultural skills of prehistoric Bretons. Armorica stems from Ar Mor, literally land of the sea, to distinguish Brittany’s coasts from the forested interior, Ar Goat, that sheltered wolves, boar and deer as well as Druidic rites.

Over the centuries the fruits of its sea, fields, orchards and gardens fed their bodies and souls with a robust simplicity. Large tracts remained remote from and almost untouched by metropolitan France. In the late nineteenth century avant-garde artists came to see Brittany as an inspirational rural idyll and flocked from Europe, America and Australia.

It was already popular when in 1888 Paul Sérusier, Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin formed the School of Pont-Aven. Nearby, Monet painted the wild seas and rocks off Belle-Ile and met the critic who was to become his lifelong friend and biographer, Gustave Geffroy. Australian Impressionist John Peter Russell married Marianna Antoinetta Mattiocco, Rodin’s favourite model, and in 1889 built a house at Port Goulphar where they entertained Sisley, Matisse and numerous other artists. In 1894 Sarah Bernhardt took up summer residence in the Fort; her guest list was to include Edward VII.

This tour presents a broad sweep of history, prehistory, art and landscape. It is led by a garden historian and art historian who has close family ties to Brittany.

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As you can tell, I had a marvellous time, with indelible memories of the 'Bretagne' channel crossing, the Carnac area of the megaliths, and the Jardin La Boulaye outstanding, but many others as well, not to mention the food and the wine. 
The Castel Clara is divine. 
Exquisitely presented, artistry on a plate.
 Lecturer and tour manager were superb leaders, working deftly together to assure everything went smoothly. Both professional and friendly, we appreciated their sense of humour and knowledge.
The lecturer, tour manager and office staff were highly professional in all aspects, they gave 100%. Any potential hitches were met with good humour and "Plan Bs" to cope if necessary. Local guides needed to be translated in most cases - your team met with this with aplomb. 

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