The Abbaye at Bon Repos
l'Abbaye de Bon Repos
Just a 3 km cycle down the canal towpath from us is the Abbey at Bon Repos. When we first arrived in Brittany 27 years ago this was a complete ruin with even full grown trees springing up inside. In the last 15 years a third of it has been completely restored leaving the rest 'preserved' in a state of ruin, but very much tidied up and in a stunning setting.
Part of the Abbey dates from the 12c but the main part is much more recent from the XVIIIc. There are guided walks through the Abbey, but it's just a gorgeous spot to visit and have a picnic. Not only that but there are frequent expositions of art and the like as well as a monthly meet of the local classic car club (that I run...).
Bon Repos itself
Bon Repos is more than just the Abbey, there is also the weir and lock of the canal and hard by a couple of delightful bars and restaurants. In the Abbey grounds there is a fossil/mineral shop which is excellent and every Sunday there is a large 'organic' farmers-market which draws people from miles around, many who just cycle down the canal, or bike along the V1 Velodyssay route which joins the canal at this point.
The Abbey overlooks the canal and the Forest of Quenican – a large, ancient, deciduous forest full of walks where you can get away from it all and frequently see wildlife you'll rarely see elsewhere (wild boar for example!). Behind the Abbay the land rises to a ridge where you find the stunning megalithic tombs at Liscuis – just a short hike away.
Son et Lumiere
The Abbey at Bon Repos is the home of the most magnificent Son-et-Lumiere which takes place right through the first week of August. It's hard to describe adequately, but a cast of hundreds, knights in armour, jousting competitions and the burning of an entire village make it into probably the most spectacular Son-et-Lumiere show in Brittany. Most of the extras are local people and it's very much a community event watched by thousands of people every year. If you happen to be here that week it's an absolute 'must-see' and afterwards you can (if you wish) walk the 3 kms back to the campsite along the canal towpath along with many of the local spectators – wonderful!