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For those who only admire Brittany for its beaches, this manor is likely to change your perspective. The air that sweeps across these lands (which are just a short distance from the coast) is softened by the spray of the sea and time flows to the gentle rhythm of a winding river. Here, the stone is warm and nature blossoms away from the wildness of the coast. These walls of this manor have lived through four centuries. Behind them lies soft lime hues, large fireplaces and a cozy atmosphere that emanates from each room giving the whole property an undeniable charm. If you feel the sea calling to you, you need only to take the Rance Valley through Dinan which leads straight to the city of Malou where you can truly take in the beauty of the coast.
This is a house that I inherited. My father, who is of Bulgarian origin, came to France as a child. He studied sculpture at the Beaux-Arts in Paris where he met his friend Georges Delahaie who introduced him to northern Brittany. Enchanted by the beauty of the building, he bought La Motte in 1962 and saved it from the hands of a second-hand dealer who wanted to buy in order to sell it in "loose stones".
The main house was built in the 16th and 17th centuries and the outhouse was added a century later. Both are in shell limestone, a sand-colored rock, derived from sediments left fifteen million years ago by the sea of faluns which separated the continent from the island of Armorique. Softer, and therefore easier to carve than granite (but used for door and window frames) the deposits are found south of Dinan, in the faluns region which encompasses the communes of Tréfumel, Le Quiou, Saint-Juvat and Plouasne. This limestone is either used in its natural state (known as "fine sand") and used to manufacture lime mortar, or in cut "stone gauge" and used for construction.
The meanders of the Rance river form a loop that encloses an old castle mound, as demonstrated by the name and topography of the place. This architectural ensemble is indicative of the influence the rich rural houses had (in particular those of canvas traders which brought about the regional culture of hemp and flax) on properties built by the minor nobility. The land register of 1833 indicates several other properties to the north which are no longer there, but were probably once part of the manor's farm. All that remains of the old hamlet is a well, an oven and, a little further up the Rance, a mill.
A stay in a family home that offers a mix of tradition and modernity. Surrounded by fields and facing south, La Motte overlooks the Rance river where two islands planted with beautiful trees are home to deer, ducks and herons. Although there was no water or electricity until 2004, the property has now been fully restored and offers all the amenities needed for a pleasant holiday: a large kitchen, a utilities room and beautiful rooms to enjoy with family or friends around a big table or a fire. It can accommodate up to fourteen people.
First on the list are the villages near Saint-Juvat and Tréfumel. About ten kilometers away is Léhon, a small city built on the banks of the Rance with the ancient Abbey of Saint-Magloire. A little further on is the medieval city of Dinan, fortified by Vauban. The charming port offers the chance to travel up the Rance to Saint-Malo (with its rich malouinières and parks) enjoy a thalasso, an excursion to Jersey or Guernsey, or visit the sculpted rocks of Rothéneuf, Fort la Latte and Cap Fréhel. Lovers of the seaside will be delighted by the seaside resorts of Saint-Lunaire, Saint-Jacut or Saint-Cast. When passing through Normandy, and therefore by the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, I always stop to buy seafood at "La perle des grèves" in Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes. If I have time, I make a stop at "La Table du Marais", an excellent La Fresnais restaurant that offers seasonal cuisine made exclusively with local products. Closer to the house, "La Vieille Auberge" in Tréfumel is simple, hearty and very reasonably priced. Truckers and craftsmen alike love to meet there for lunch. At the farm shop in Plumaudan, Bertrand Valéry offers poultry, a butcher's shop and a local delicatessen of high quality at producer prices. Coulombel Poultry in Saint-Maden makes food to order. Finally, in Saint-Pern (home to the Petites Sœurs des Pauvres) "La Ferme du Pressoir" offers the best black pudding I have ever tried, organic charcuterie and many other farm products on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
1500 € - 2800 € per week
On the ground floor of the house are the entrance, a large dining room with a table for ten to twelve people, a sitting area in front of a large fireplace, a second living room with a fireplace, a large kitchen with another table, a utility room and a toilet. On the first floor is a large bedroom with a double bed, two single beds and a bathroom with a shower and adjoining toilet, along with another room with a double bed, bathroom and toilet. On the second floor are two bedrooms with double beds (one of which has a toilet) and a bedroom with a double bed and a single bed. The bathroom is shared between the three bedrooms as well as the independent toilet.