Thursday, 14 August 2008

An Unexpected Surprise !

Have you ever driven passed a signpost many, many times, and each time you pass, you think to yourself ' I must go down there and have a look !' - but somehow, you never do ? Well, today we did go down one of those roads , and what a lovely surprise !!

Because of my problems with 'the chest' (!), our cycling along the Nantes-Brest Canal has been on hold, but is was such a lovely day today that we decided to at least drive out and have a little recce on how to get to our next starting point, and this took us down the road to L'Abbaye de Timadeuc.

Founded in 1841, the Abbey is set within a few hundred metres of the Canal just outside a town called Brehan, some 15 minutes drive away from home. It is now a Hertitage Site and houses an antique library of some importance .

Sitting in the most beautiful grounds, it is also home to a group of Trappist monks and is (part) open to the Public .

There is a small reception area for visitors and we were greeted by the most delighful Father with a beautiful smile who was thrilled to discover that we weren't French so he could practice his English on us - "Welcome !!" (When we left, his only other English words were 'Bye Bye !" - how wonderful !!) He patiently explained to me that there was an audio/visual room available where we could watch a film of the day to day life at the Abbey, and was very apologetic that it was all in French , which was very sweet of him but we are, after all in France !

My French accent is appalling (!!) but I do understand the language very well, so we spent the best part of an hour watching the video, and I can only say that the filming inside the Abbey was amazing ,allowing us to see the stained glass windows, the architecture, some of the traditions and also the way that the monks live and work .

The main speciality of Timadeuc is a soft cheese, similar to Port Salut, but finished off with a good dollop of walnut liquer and when you open the wrapping the smell of walnuts is almost overpowering - tastes good too !!!

Why DOES Blogger turn these pics around ???

Pain D'Epices (Spiced Bread) is also way up among the favourites, a delicious gooey bread/ cake concoction of wheat & rye flour, honey, star anise, cinnamon, coriander, clove & nutmeg. So, no prizes for guessing that bread & cheese is on the menu tomorrow !!

There are also jams , preserves, fruit 'pate' (a kind of fruit 'paste' rolled in sugar) and various other products available in the small shop, all made from scratch by the monks .

The community also has a world wide reputation for Gregorian Chants recordings and a great selection of CDs were available. The one thing that really came across, other than the feeling of absolute peace & calmness within the building, was that everyone had a job to do either in the grounds, maintaining the buildings, in the sewing room (!) or making the lovely cheeses !

A further point of interest is that Timadeuc was very active during WWII, working with the French Resistance in the area. In spite of their way of life, patriotism was seemingly more important and ,the monks not only helped the Resistance recover supplies dropped into the area by the Allies, but also stored them in their cellars. At the end of the War the French Resistance Medal was awarded to the whole community !

So, what started out as an ordinary drive out for half an hour turned into a very pleasant visit to a very special place !
Tomorrow is a National Holiday and if the sun shines on us we are hoping to take a picnic to Lac de Guerledan , the largest lake in Brittany - you know it is just so good to be able to get out for a few hours after these last few weeks !!!

1 comment:

Gina said...

What a wonderful find. I loved the pics.
It's going to be nice here today aswell so we are off into the Beacons for the day
Love and hugs Gina xxx