Home > Travel Stories > Exploring the north-west France

Exploring the north-west France

I am visiting Western France, around the Fougères area, with my girlfriend. Fougères is a town in Brittany that is known for its magnificent castle, Europe’s largest fortress. Arriving here from Addis Ababa feels like stepping into another world. Everything is so tidy, orderly and the number and variety of historic buildings is so overwhelming. Wandering through the narrow medieval streets of the town, I find numerous architectural gems, all within walking distance of each other.


The town’s tourist brochure says that the medieval castle was first built just after 1000 AD in this part of the Nançon river valley to defend the frontiers of Brittany from Norman invasion. The castle was built on a rocky headland emerging from a marsh, sheltered by hills, and had a moat surrounding it. The visual and sound effects illustrate both the historic events of the period 1000-1500, and everyday life in the castle, which was built to defend the dutchy of Brittany. It was the first, 11th century feudal keep and it was built in wood. With 13 towers and enclosing five acres, it was situated where the borders of three separate kingdoms met. It was a major & favorable trading post.


Walking is the only way to enjoy the city as the roads are very narrow. I walked the cobble-stone streets admiring lots of medieval homes of all different styles. Situated on the edge of a 1700 hectare forest, Fougères combines the advantages of a modern town with a gentle way of life much appreciated by its residents.



If the Castle and is beautiful surroundings are the pride of the region, Fougères is also anchored in the present notably with its economic plans like the recent set up of BioAgroPolis, a European research and innovation centre for food hygiene standards, nutrition and animal health. A cultural and sporting facilities make up a dynamic fabric of associations which enable the organization of many events and shows.

The town is home to the oldest Belfry in Brittany, many religious buildings, picturesque streets and sites.

The Church of St Leonard, with its northern side, looking on to the town, is the most richly decorated. Narrow avenues are lined with homes painted in a variety of colors.









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  1. August 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Oh U must be lucky. visiting France and Germany is my long ambition. Hope one day, when the right day comes, . . . . wow wow France a very beautiful city.

  2. Rediet
    August 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Nice one Arefe! Do people live in this town at all? I dont see anyone on the streets. Hope you are enjoying.

    • August 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Yeah, it is very calm and the fact that it is now summer means that also people have left for vacation for some other places. We have the town for ourselves. (ke tinsh magenne gar!)

  3. August 8, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Ethiopia is one of my african ‘white spots’ – yet! Could I interest you into taking a peek at Norway? On my blog you may find close to 2000 photos from Norway – most of them in ‘full screen’ and new ones coming every week. . .
    Please enjoy!

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