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Josselin is a beautiful medieval town in Brittany set on the river Oust.
Josselin boasts a beautiful château, a bustling town square with restaurants, cafes and a busy Saturday market. Combine those with a warm and welcoming Bed & Breakfast with a family room on the top floor and you have the perfect place to visit for a couple of nights with kids.
Josselin sits around 80km west of Rennes in Brittany, North West France and was our first stop in France on our 6 night trip round Brittany at the end of August.
We took the first ferry from Portsmouth to Caen at 8am on Friday morning, arrived into Caen at 3pm and drove straight to Josselin, arriving into this pretty little French town at 6pm to find dancing had already started.
Our first job was to find our accommodation for the evening Le 14 Saint-Michel. This guest house was just off the town square and picture perfect for our first stop in Brittany. With just 5 rooms, a walled garden with space to play and a very welcoming host it was a welcome site to behold after a long day travelling.
We were shown up to our family area, to call it a room would be misleading, as it was considerably larger. We had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a toilet and a rather large hall too. The rooms were simple but stylish with some lovely shuttered windows looking out towards the town at the front and the garden at the back.
There was plenty of towels, tea and coffee and biscuits to help ourselves to and space for the kids to play. The bathroom had lovely toiletries, a huge powerful shower and lovely tiles that I wished I’d taken a photo of!
However we didn’t stay in the room long as the kids wanted to be outside and had spotted the balls in the garden, so we wandered downstairs to sit in the sun before heading out for dinner. We were even treated to a lovely glass of wine and juice for the girls.
That evening we ate dinner at Le Bistrot in the centre of Josselin. The place is lively and fun to spend time in and the waiters attentive and thankfully spoke enough English for us to get by with our terrible French.
The kids ate pizza and we ate from the good value set menu – not understanding what we were ordering but assuming we would enjoy it! Which we did!
It was a fairly late night but we had had a lovely evening so wandered the five minutes back to the guest house where the girls collapsed into their own bedroom and we could fall asleep in our own room.
In the morning we were sad to realise that we would have to leave the little haven of Le 14 St-Michel and head off but first it was time for breakfast. This breakfast was one of our favourites the whole week with crepes that just kept coming, fresh bread, home made jams and strong coffee. All served with a smile and warm conversation.
Once we had packed up our bags and popped them into the car we wandered through the bustling market just outside the guest house down towards The Château de Josselin.
It took us an hour or so to do this as the girls continually stopped at stalls, watching people make things and intrigued by the large queues at the in their words ‘stinky cheese stall’. They also had some cute bracelets made with their names on.
The Château de Josselin is only accessible if you take a guided tour and as the English guided tour wasn’t until 2pm we decided not to wait and just to wander around the gardens. There was a treasure trail around the gardens that we should have been given a sheet to do, but didn’t realise this til the end. This didn’t hamper our enjoyment at all but perhaps worth checking out what there is if you’re visiting.
At Castles and Chateaux’s the girls always try and work out who would have lived there and when, and what the people would have been like. We also spent some time playing games in the gardens.
Had we had longer I would have liked to stay for the guided tour as there is a doll museum, which was opened in 1984 in the old stable block. The collection was started in the 19th century by the current owner’s great grandmother and now counts around 3,000 dolls and 2,000 other items including children’s toys and books. The museum puts on a different exhibition each summer.
It would also have been fun to hire a boat for an hour or two on the Nantes-Brest canal which runs through Josselin and offers plenty of opportunities to get away from it all.
It was now time to head onto Vannes.
We stayed in Josselin as guests of Visit Brittany but all views and opinions on our time there are our own.
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