23 kms by bike to discover the richness of the wooded country of Combourg, Ille et Vilaine, Brittany
By taking the tour by bike no 3, offered by the tourist office, you will be charmed by the patrimonial buildings which will be revealed at the end of a lane.
At the beginning of the 11th century, Ginguene, archbishop of Dol, built the first castle
on the site it is now, the reason being to strengthen the west side of his domain. His brother Rivallon occupied the castle to protect the lands and the surrounding area of the church of Dol.
The seigniory passed down through the families until Rene-Auguste de Chateaubriand,
the father of the famous author, bought it thanks to a fortune obtained by his activity of the equipment of ships in St Malo.
Even though the castle was built in stages, it is perfectly homogeneous and the beautiful lines of the machicoulis “ Breton”(in the form of reversed triangles) shows
that they were preoccupied by the aesthetic side:
This church was re-constructed in 1902 by Arthur Regnault on the base of the roman walls of the old church dating from the 11th century. Only the opening with the specifications of the first Armorican churches (the bars and engraved stones with a cross) exists from the old construction. A lot of funeral flagstones cover a part of the floor of the church; this privileged position, close to the alter assured that the privileged person’s soul was welcomed in eternity, while the other church goers were buried in the surrounding churchyard.
This castle, gracious and elegant, was built in a traditional Gothic style “living area and bedroom” which was normal in the 14th century to the end of the 16th century. The loopholes of the turrets suggest a construction at the end of the 15th century.
This lovely building is remarkable by its quality and its sculptured decoration which foreshadows the richness of the architecture of the renaissance of the Loire Valley. The building is in fact the witness of the exceptional precocity of Breton building sites in the 1500’s.
After the abandon of a special cemetery open from 1630 to 1638 for the burial of a hundred or so children, victims of the bubonic plague (the black death), the cross was erected on the site where it is now, in a meadow opposite the castle. Also called “the Cross of the Innocent”, it was engraved with the silhouette of the baby Jesus crucified, which is in memory of the original place of it’s erection.
In the 11th century, the monks of the Abbey of Dol established themselves in this place, and grew vines and cereal, built a private chapel, consecrated to Marie, then in the 12th century, a little village which disappeared at the end of the 14th century.
Flowered village, Dingé is proud of its heritage of old stone buildings built in granite, but also of it’s wonderful, natural heritage: “The Rigole du Boulet”, also called “The Overflow”, 17 km long, dug by hand to fill the canal d’ Ille et Rance from the Boulet lake.
In a field at the entry of the property (private, forbidden to enter), we can see a megalith which dates from 2500 years before JC. It is crossed by a slash which the legend attributes to the cord which the devil used to carry it, and is topped by a cross from the 9th century (the time of Charlemagne) in granite, on which two faces are crudely carved in relief.
This manor, which cannot be visited, is the most touching for the people of Combourg and presents all the attributes of a manor house from the old times:
This big building dating from Louis 13th, has never been finished, which can be seen by the stone wall on the left, without doubt a building similar to the existing one should have completed the symmetry of the building of the main house, inspired by the French architectural fashion at the beginning of the 17th century. The shadow of the pretty woman of Tremaudan, which awoke the first sensual emotions of Chateaubriand, seems to house him.
“We are particularly joined with the Tremaudan family, a husband, a very beautiful wife, a very natural sister and many children. This family lives in a manor which shows its nobility only by its dovecot…..” Memories from out of the tomb.
During the old period, the right to have a pigeon loft was only for the nobility. It had 14 rows of 40 nesting boxes, so a possibility of about 600 couples of pigeons.
Mass was celebrated twice a week. The armorial bell, dates from 1620, is before this foundation.
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