The Gateway to the Château de La Coudraie, Brittany

I’ve been exploring Brittany for the last couple of weeks, and on this visit I ventured further west into the region called Finistère. With its wild coastline, ancient monuments and extensive woodlands, Finistère is an area filled with magic. As I drove along a quiet, tree-lined country lane on my way to the weekly market in Pont l’Abbé, I happened upon a little bit of that magic, in the form of a huge, ancient and rather strange gateway.

The impressive gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

The impressive gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

The gateway, which was obviously once rather smart, but is now covered in moss, lichen and vines, is formed of eight monumental pillars. Each pillar is highly decorated with elaborate carvings, including images of helmeted knights, proud lions and grimacing faces, and topped with a classical urn.

A grimacing face on the gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

A grimacing face on the gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

Small flights of steps flank the main gate on each side, although they don’t look like they have been used much in the last few years.

Overgrown steps on the gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

Overgrown steps on the gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

I was tempted to explore further, but a battered old sign just past the gateway informed me in no uncertain terms that the land was strictly privée. I could only stare down the long avenue which disappeared into the shadowy forest beyond, and wonder…

A helmeted knight on the gateway to on the gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

A helmeted knight on the gateway to on the gateway to the Château de La Coudraie

Since my discovery of this magical gateway, I have found out that it belongs to the Château de La Coudraie, a grand 19th Century house that stands at the heart of a centuries-old estate. The château certainly looks terribly elegant, but in my opinion this overgrown, moss-covered gateway is much more interesting, and definitely more magical.

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6 Responses to “The Gateway to the Château de La Coudraie, Brittany”

  1. For some reason, this put me instantly in mind of the gates Eleanor passes in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. I’m not even sure why; in both locale and description they’re very different, but the echo is there for me. She spins an amazing, fairy-tale, and quite magical alternate life for herself in the time it takes her to drive by them.

  2. That looks really interesting, what a lovely find 🙂

  3. That truly is a magical place! The moss-covered steps up to the gateway, especially. How beautiful!

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