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February 10, 2019

France: Brittany, Josselin

Château de Josselin

Mostly we coast hopped as we toured Brittany in August of 2018. Brittany has a long shoreline, more than a 1000 miles in length. It’s quite easy to just visit the region’s idyllic seaside communes. But as we learned exploring Brittany’s interior is a worthy goal too.

On our road trip we only ventured into the Brittany’s interior a couple of times. One of our forays inland came after we stayed in the commune of Paimpol along the north coast. From Paimpol we drove about two hours to the village of Josselin.

A village of 2,400 people, Josselin sits along a pleasant stretch of the River Oust. Overlooking the gentle river valley is Josselin’s impressive castle. The château is the commune’s singular can’t miss sight.

The spire of Basilique Notre-Dame du Roncier in Josselin

The Oust River

The Château de Josselin is the current residence of Josselin de Rohan, fourteenth Duke of Rohan. Josselin de Rohan was president of the region of Brittany from 1998 to 2004. His private home is open most days for tourist visits; for a fee visitors are led through the inside while the guide explains the details and history of the castle.

The interior of the château is similar to some of the other lived-in castles we have visited. It is a bit dark and dowdy. Unlike the more typical “museum” châteaux the furnishings are laid out for more practical living. Though it may not be as attractive as a château configured just for tourists, it is nevertheless informative. A tour inside Château de Josselin provides a glimpse of how the aristocracy in France lived in the middle of the 20th Century. It contrasts the interiors of the Loire Valley châteaux, which tend to reflect the pre-French Revolution styles. You’ll have to take my word on that; as Château de Josselin is a private residence; no picture taking was allowed on the inside.

Château de Josselin viewed from the river.

There’s more to Josselin than its château: The central church is interesting and the old town with its intact medieval street plan is appealing. Josselin’s riverside paths along the Oust are pleasant to stroll in the evening.

Most visitors arrive in Josselin by car but some come by boat. Indeed Josselin is a popular stop for hire boaters traveling the Oust. We spend much of our year cruising the inland waterways of France. The River Oust near Josselin is about as good as France’s waterways get.

It was a sound decision to turn away from the coast and venture inland to see Josselin. But it left us wondering: What had we missed in the interior of Brittany?

A hire boat cruises the Oust.

A lock on the Oust

Josselin’s town hall

The château and the river


  1. Beautiful photos!!!

    Comment by gregsitaly — February 11, 2019 @ 5:46 pm

    • Thanks.

      Comment by anotherheader — February 11, 2019 @ 8:00 pm

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