A parking lot in a small town. I’m two years back in time. It’s early 2011. The motor home is in its place. Our motor home. We’ve been for a week on the road, looking for a home. No, not a holiday home, but a ‘real’ home. We have taken an interest in Brittany. But where do you start? The peninsula is less than 250 kilometers long and about 150 kilometers wide. Brittany makes up 6% of the French territory, it’s about the size of Belgium. As I am originally Dutch, I know how large Belgium is. Rather large.
But now we are in Brittany, Josselin to be precisely. A town located on the banks of the river Oust. The history of this city is closely linked to that of the castle that dominates the town. Built in the flamboyant Gothic style, the castle reflects the architectural style form the feudal period and the Renaissance. The fort, founded in the 11th century, is still inhabited by the descendants of the founders, the Rohan family. The gardens have been designed by Achille Duchesne, a landscape architect who also designed the Vaux-le-Vicomte gardens.
And so here we are. We have a lot to think about. The impressions of the environment. The houses we’ve visited with several real estate agents. Silently we drink our wine and eat the French cheeses. From within the motor home we see all the old houses of Josselin. ‘Josselin…’, I whisper. ‘So beautiful.’ In a book I read that the town is named after Josselin De Porhoët, viscount of Rennes-Bretagne, born around 1040. He used to live in the castle of Josselin. I see him walking across the street, near the house with that crooked facade, Josselin… or God. Indeed, the name comes from the Germanic ‘Gaut’, the most important God of the Goths, Germanic people who played a major role in the downfall of the Western Roman Empire. ‘Another piece of Camenbert?’, my boyfriend asks. I am back in the present. God disappears, but Josselin remains.
We now have lived in Brittany for about 1,5 years, near Mauron. Our old farm is only a 25 km drive from Josselin. Visiting Josselin is still one of my favorite trips. When friends or family come to visit us, I always convince them to go to Josselin. Together. Because every time the town does surprise me again. And them, as they stroll through the narrow streets of the medieval St. Croix district. Yes, they are also impressed by Josselin, God or Gaut.