We had already twice visited the little Breton town of Josselin. The first visit was on a journey northward from Poitier, passing by, it struck us as attractive, so we stopped and looked around. We remembered it a year later while journeying south from St Malo, so marked it out for a rather deviated stop for a coffee.

So we were already familiar with the town and area. Another attraction is its central situation for visits to the rest of Brittany, and other parts of France. The distance by road from our Dorset home can be a little over ninety miles if the Weymouth/St. Malo route is used. Driving down from Cherbourg doubles the road distance

Much of rural France appears to be inhabited by older people, as the young ones prefer the bright lights of the larger cities. As the locals prefer modern properties in any case, the result being that there (was) a ready supply of houses in very rural situations for purchase as either a second home by French or English urbanites, or often in the case of the latter, as the main and permanent home. Farmhouses are almost always indistinguishable from other habitations in France, the group on the left belong to the farm, ours is the individual on the right. We gain much benefit from our neighbours well kept lawns and garden.

The picture was taken soon after we took possession of the property.

Below is a longer shot taken from the Josselin to Pontivy road (D764).

The photograph below was taken in October 2005

And the next one same month, but four years later.

Above: in October 2001

Right: October 2005

Upstairs in March 2005
Same room in April 2006

Main bedroom now.

A much photogaphed picture - the Chateau at Josselin. The river is the O'uest, used nowadays by pleasure craft. It was canalized by Napoleon for traffic between Brest and Nantes - the guide books tell us that the British tended to raid French boats using the sea off the south Brittany coast, so he ordered an inland route to be built as an alternative. Quite some undertaking, because the total length is said to be 45O miles.

Josselin itself has a population of around 2,8OO, but serves as the centre for many more people who reside in the surrounding rural area. It has developed itself as a noted tourist town, and partly for this reason, has many bars and eating places. Other shops cater for most human needs - three pharmacies for example, at least three selling bread and cakes being another. What one cannot find in the town, one of the two supermarkets on the edge will surely provide. The same area also has two large hardware suppliers, plus a builders merchant on our side of the town. If there is anything that still cannot be found - a hire shop being one example, then one only has to journey to Ploermel, a rather larger town just eight miles further away.

Notes on work.

Above our main living room is another large room - termed a 'grenier' in French, presumably its main use was for grain storage. It has a slightly sloping floor, but despite this we felt good use could be made of it. Our first job was to render the walls with a cement, sand, plaster mix. Hard work, but as these walls were constructed of loose morter and rubble stone, they tended to drop dust etc. The floor would have leaked heat from the living room, so better floor covering was needed, this not good in grit and dusty conditions. Worse though was that there was a huge void above, right to the roof in fact, which itself was not insulated. As this was such a large area - 6.5 by 4.4 metres, we'd puzzled how the ceiling could be constructed. The solution we came to was to bolt two large timbers to either side of existing timbers which were the main roof support. We were thus able make use of 2.45 metre lengths of tongued and grooved to run from the walls to these central beams.

To help cover and insulate the walls, we found the French DIY stores were selling plastic wall liners, designed for insulation, but these panels also made really excellent looking coverings. In October 2005, the work on this being virtually completed, certainly very litttle heat should escape this area - and therefore the house. Worth mentioning that we had covered the T & G ceiling with 100MM thick insulation material, and this capped with heavy plastic sheeting.

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