The Pigeon Cote
Pigeonniers of France: Brittany
Day 16: Area between Rennes and Nantes
Dovecote of Grand Fougeray
The dovecote of Grand Fougeray, as it turned out, was to be our last dovecote visited in Brittany proper and is on the quick trip map because of its unique nesthole construction, being made of woodwork rather than of stone as part of the wall. Because of this, it is suspected that the original tower was defensive only and did not house a dovecote, with the wooden nestholes being retrofitted at some later date. While this may well be true, the nestholes are still of antiquity and wooden nest boxes have been found in early 16th century dovecotes in Great Britain. Either way, it is huge and impressing, even though this tower is only a small part of the remains of the castle keep.. The old castle of Fougeray at one time was protected by nine such towers, and was one of the most important castles of High Brittany. This also explains why the dovecote is so much taller than one would expect of a dovecote
It is sign posted Tour De Guesclin from the town center, and as can be seen from the photograph is one huge tower. It is located within a small public park which is open to the public, but unfortunately the monument itself is not always open to the public and such was to be our misfortune. Having a coffee and enjoying the view of the tower from the restaurant located adjacent to the park made for a pleasant outing.
Dovecote of Le Petite Haie
At this point in our journey we left Brittany proper and entered Pays de Loire where we located the dovecote of Le Petite Haie
This manor has a rather small, squat dovecote, constructed of proportionally small schist stones. The roof cover is a rather very low sloping pepper plantation style covered with slates. Even though is is very short, the dovecote is divided into two parts, and the ground floor was used as a baker's oven which reportedly was still in use in the last century. The dovecote is on private property and concrete wall abutting the structure is very obtrusive.
It is sign posted out of Grand Auverne, but as one would expect, is much closer to Le Grande Haie. Go out of La Grande Haie village east on the D111 where you will see a sign post for manor. The Manor buildings face road. You may park on the road and walk along it to the left, when facing the manor and you will find the dovecote and the unceremonious concrete wall.
Other dovecotes in the area reported by Dr. Jean Auffret in Colombiers et Pigeonniers en Bretagne Profonde are noted below. We have provided small thumbnail images from the book to help you identify them. More detail on these dovecotes and larger images are in the book, which we highly recommend for any enthusiast. And of course, if you have any information on any of these or others you know of in the area that you would like to share, we would love to post it.
The dovecote of Du Relais Du Grand Pont Veix a Conquereuil is enhanced by its environment than that of its own accord. However, it is certainly not uninteresting and as several dovecotes of the area was used for more than a dovecote alone. The ground floor has been fitted for a saddlery of the horses housed on the property with only the upper floor allotted to the pigeons. The buildings are of 15th century and are classified as historic buildings. The first occupants of the site were monks of the abbey of Redon who set up shop here to accommodate the pilgrims who circulated between Nantes and Rennes. By1479, ownership had changed hands and the property was in possession of Mr. Geoffroy Godus.
The lovely city of Nantes