2017 E5 walk, day 21: Chapelle Saint-Maudan to Josselin

Section 5, Day 21
Chapelle Saint-Maudan
low 33 °F
high 53 °F
42,330 steps
16.7 miles

Returning down from Arné to the trail and canal, I passed a farm, and a bizarre siren-like noise started up. It got louder and more chaotic until I finally realized I was hearing a flock of geese raising the alarm.

The GR 37 mostly stayed on the slopes above the canal. The first settlement I passed was the hamlet of Griffet, which looked typical enough that I took a picture of it.

A paved one-lane road curves away to the right, from northeast to east.  In the foreground to the left is a two-story stone building with an asymmetric peaked roof and a low addition on the side; a low hedge is against the building, and tall grass between the hedge and road.  An empty plowed field is on the right side of the road.  Beyond the field is another stone building, perhaps a house.  Straight ahead, at the curve of the road, is another house.  Power lines run overhead, and the sky is grey.
At Griffet’s crossroad, looking back the way I came.

After Griffet, the trail returned to the canal, where it stayed (more or less) for the rest of the day. I passed the usual collection of churches and chapels, along with a stand selling free-range chicken eggs 6/€1.50.

Looking to the southeast, the paved trail curves to the left, following the bank of the canal to its right.  Shortly ahead, the canal forks.  The island in the center is covered with trees, and the tip of the island has a rectangular sign, white with a red border, and a black arrow pointing to the left fork.  Trees also line the near and far canal banks.
A sign directs boats towards the lock to the left of the island, not the waterfall to the right.

The trail approached the town of Josselin, where I stayed for the night. The Château de Josselin, dating back to the early 1500s, was perched right above the trail and canal on the south side of town.

A massive stone foundation leaps up from a paved road to the east, atop which thrusts a castle wall with three round towers and a handful of small windows.  The wall to the near side is significantly shorter, but still daunting.  In front of the road, grass covers a short, steep slope down to the barely-visible canal.
The château completely dominated the view from the canal, drawing my eye no matter where I tried to look.

I was perhaps a little over-excited to stay in a lockkeeper’s house which was operated by the town as a gîte d’étape. I walked up into town to check in at the mairie (town hall), and then back down to the house.

A stone lockkeeper’s house, similar to others we’ve recently seen, opens directly on a paved walkway to the east-northeast.  A few small bushes grow immediately in front, while a wisteria vine climbs between the roofline and the door and windows.
The lockkeeper’s house where I stayed for the night.

It was every bit as charming as I’d hoped. The ground floor had a small kitchen and a large room which might once have been for livestock or something, but which had been turned into a salle commune (communal hall).

A long, low hall, paved with small hexagonal tiles, stretches away.  The walls are stone; ceiling beams are exposed, and the wooden ceiling is the upper story’s floor.  At the far end, a wooden stair curves upstairs, with a bicycle parked underneath, and chairs stacked on the other side.  Simple tables are lined up down the length of the hall.  Bright sunlight pours in through the windows on the left- and right-hand walls.
Salle commune (“common hall”).

The upstairs had narrow, low-ceilinged hallways with uneven, creaky floors, through which I could see the ground floor, along with a half dozen rooms crammed with twin beds. I loved it.

Looking down a hallway, we feel the need to duck our head, even just looking at the photo:  The ceiling slopes down to the right at a 45° angle, perhaps 6½′ high at the left, down to no more than 3′ high at the right.  A small skylight at torso height lets in light.  The walls and ceiling are pale blue; the floor is dark wood planks, imperfectly joined.  A doorway is visible on the left wall, and another at the far end of the hall, perhaps 15′ away.
Upstairs hallway. Look how low the ceiling is!

Having access to a kitchen that had adequate cookware, I made dinner: Josselin proper is kind of perched on a hill; I walked up into town and down the other side to a supermarket, got some chicken, carrots, garlic, red wine, bread, and butter, and sautéed up a … let’s call it halfway decent dinner. A young woman and a teenager were cycling from the Brest area, and we shared the kitchen and some bread at dinner; they confirmed what I had previously observed, that Bretons enjoy their butter.

Map of the day’s route.