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Frequently asked questions at Vaux
Chas Cook, owner at Vaux, gives you some advice on tackle;
What Tackle Should I Bring?
We have compiled this list as a guide only as experienced anglers will obviously have their own favourite tackle items & methods;
- Reels - the single most important factor is the quality of the fishing reel. You should bring with you the best you can be afford, with a smooth clutch mechanism and incorporating as much line capacity as possible. Bait runners are not a necessity
- Rod Pod System - because we have platforms and hard banks it can be difficult to get single banksticks into the ground.
- Carp leaders (if used) - Minimum 25lb nylon. Leaders must be capable of being safely used with either inline leads (see below) or safety clips, whichever is used
- Leads – we recommend Fox In-line flat pear combi-leads, 2½oz through to 5oz
- Rig foam, PVA bags and Funnel Web systems are all successfully employed at Vaux
- Hooks – we recommend Teflon coated, Long Shank 10, Wide Gape, B 6 and 10, barbed and barbless
If there's anything else you want to know just Email me (my Email details are supplied with the Directions Sheet when you book) or you can contact me via the Angling Lines Forum.
Best Regards, Chas Cook
Are There Any Interesting Places To Visit?
Josie Cook lists her favourite local places;
Le Mont St Michel with its surrounding quicksands, where a few Benedictine monks still live in the abbey, is unmissable. The abbey is at the top of an island hill reached by 360 massive granite steps, from where the views are sensational; its open cloisters appear to be suspended in mid-air. It was once a state prison and supplies were hauled up by human treadmill which can still be seen. There is a small museum and the fairy tale streets at the bottom of the mount are a medieval timewarp.
In the heart of the towns and villages around Fougères, traditions withstand the passing of time. Here, in the vast expanses of beech trees, pines and spruces, you can breathe in the legends and the mysteries of trees and stones… men have been inscribing their history in this land of wood and water, granite and quartz for more than five thousand years.
Fougères was founded somewhere around the year 1000 on a rocky outcrop in a basin between marshland and the River Nançon, and today, its history can still be seen in its monuments, architecture and traditions. The town is renowned for a number of specialities, from glassmaking to shoes and drapery. Very beautiful views can be enjoyed on the road along the Couesnon where there are a number of mills, the remaining vestiges of the old system that once ran along the river. At Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier stands the fortress which is a permanent reminder of the defeat of Brittany on 28th July 1488, when the Breton army was completely devastated by the Royalist army.
Further to the north, you will find Louvigné-du-Désert, which has long boasted of being the capital of granite and still has a number of working quarries.
Other places to explore are Bazouges-la-Pérouse, the Artist village, and the nineteenth century Château de Ballue, the Villecartier forest, the Parc Floral du Chatêllier (floral gardens), the paths and alleys of Château de Bonnefontaine at Antrain-sur-Couesnon. Events are organised throughout the year, and in Dompierre-du-Chemin, throughout the summer, storytellers and musicians entertain. The natural surroundings are also conducive to leisure activities such as rock climbing and hiking, especially in the Coglais area. In Fougères forest there is horse riding and swimming in the forest lake during the summer months, pedaloes on another lake; the whole area beautiful for walks, picnics, cycling.
Dinard with beaches and bays which you can reach on foot along the coastal pathways carved out of the cliff face; find the small bay with the rocky islands you can swim out to; move on to St-Enogat, a picturesque, authentic small seaside village, the main fishing village of the area before Dinard took over A tour of the magnificent aristocratic villas of Dinard built overlooking the sea offers a fascinating insight into the architecture of seaside resorts at the end of the nineteenth century. Visitors will admire the profusion of styles inspired by Italian villas, Yorkshire cottages and Louis XIII lodges. Once upon a time, certain of these villas were the scene of the clamour of parties and high society receptions, but today they are admired for their quaint Belle Epoque charm and the exotic gardens which surround them. Be sure to stop off at homes such as the Empress Eugènie’s villa, the house of the Black Prince, the Grand Hotel and the Queen Hortense villa, which belonged to a Russian prince.
Let the sea spray be your guide for a pleasant walk along the coast by the foot of the cliffs, all the way to the nearby resort of Saint Lunaire. Enjoy a stroll along the "Clair-de-Lune" promenade dotted with picturesque villas, then breathe in the fresh air on the "Pointe du Moulinet" headland and contemplate the spectacular view over the bay of St Malo. Further to the west, if you set out from the ‘Ecluse’ beach, you will arrive at the "Promenade de la Malouine", cradled by the murmuring of the waves upon the rocks. Or take a cruise along the Valley of the River Rance or follow the arrows along the scenic route by car St Malo is a time-honoured citadel built on the rocky coastline, standing defiantly before the sea with its opulent ship-owner villas overhanging the old walled town. Visitors invariably enjoy a walk around the city walls, from where they have a magnificent panoramic view of the ocean and the Channel Islands on the horizon. One thing not to be missed is Saint Malo Castle which houses the History museum and is an excellent source of information about the town.
Or you can simply wander through the picturesque streets and taste the joys of being on holiday on a terrace or in a cosy crêperie. Visit the Aquarium or simply stand on the sea wall and marvel at the different shades of colour and contrasts created between the sea and sky or wander the beaches. The spectacular spring tides reveal a landscape of small islands and reefs at low tide. Walk out to the National Fort at this time of the year, designed by the military architect Vauban, and to the Petit-Bé and Grand Bé islands where the tomb of Chateaubriand, the author, seems to jut out over the ocean.
Or take a boat trip around the Bay of Saint Malo to Cancale For lovers of wide open spaces and fresh air, the best way to explore the exceptional site of Cancale is to follow the cliff path, known as the “sentier des douaniers”, which winds along the coast. This 11 km long route will lead you to the port of la Houle on the "Pointe du Grouin" headland, opposite Landes island, a classified ornithological reserve. From the cliffs, you will see incredible views over the Mont Saint Michel Bay with the picturesque fishing port of La Houle down below and the fishermen’s houses packed tightly together against the cliff. Climb aboard the Cancalaise for a trip out to sea and experience the way yesterday’s sea fishermen worked, or wander along the wharf and enjoy the fish market when the boats come in.
Oyster lovers will be in their element at the end of the port of La Houle on the ‘Administrateur Thomas’ quayside. Here, the stalls are filled to overflowing with baskets of freshly harvested “flat and cupped” oysters, direct from the producer. Try them just as they are or with a little lemon juice on the terrace of one of the many restaurants in the port, or sit by the oyster market looking out to sea and enjoy the friendly and lively mood around you. Cancale holds a national award as a “site of exceptional taste” and its environmental quality has been a source of inspiration for the finest chefs in the region, attracting lovers of fine food everywhere.
Other attractions are the lovely view from the church tower; the museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, where you can relive the history of the town and its Terre-Neuvas fishing campaigns, and learn about its various traditional customs; and the Marine Farm, where you can find out everything there is to know about oyster production.
Dol-de-Bretagne is one of the most ancient cities in Brittany, with medieval charm and its picturesque small streets. In the Middle Ages, NominoÈ turned the town into a flourishing religious capital for Brittany and in later years, the construction of its cathedral became a symbol of the town’s power and importance for a considerable length of time. The heart of Dol-de-Bretagne is the enchanting medieval district which so inspired Victor Hugo. Both sides of the unevenly cobblestoned Grande Rue des Stuarts (Stuart Avenue) are lined with pretty half timbered and pillared houses and the area is full of impressive medieval residences, such as the Logis de la Croix Verte, the Maison de la Guillotière and the Porche ý Pain. Visit the Historical Museum and the Douves (Moat) promenade, which opens out onto a view of the Bay.
Saint Samson Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the gems of Norman Gothic art in Brittany. A stone building of harmonious proportions, its nave measures 100 metres long and 20 metres high and its choir houses the oldest stained glass window in Brittany, dating back to the thirteenth century. From the square in front of the cathedral walk along the GR 34 towards the Mont-Dol and explore the marshes. This natural headland, which ends 65 metres above sea level, was once an island in the middle of the water at the time when Dol-de-Bretagne was still on the coast! The plain is green and highly fertile and has its own stock of legends and unusual features. At the top of the Mont-Dol, Saint Michel and Satan are said to have fought an epic battle, leaving the devilís claw mark on the granite rock. Further on, legend has it that when the 9.5-metre high Champ Dolent menhir (standing stone) has finally disappeared - it sinks 1 cm further down into the ground with each passing year - the end of the world will be nigh. Landal Castle, with its moats and five towers is also a sight worth seeing when you explore the marshland
Combourg castle, a medieval fortress, is an authentic fortified castle bought in the eighteenth century by the father of F.R. de Châteaubriand. Enjoy a lovely walk through the greenery around the Tranquil Lake at the foot of the castle and carry on into the undergrowth along the recently traced out literary footpath. The old town is interlaced with old medieval streets and examples of pretty sixteenth century timber framed houses. Make sure you stop off at the Maison des Princes or at the Lantern House, a beautiful granite residence. The sculpted recesses with statues that can be seen on the front of certain old houses are another of the town’s architectural whims. These features have all contributed to the historical charm which has resulted in Combourg being classified as a ‘Petite Cité de Caractère’ (Small Town with Special Character).
For history, architecture, literature and nature around Combourg walk the Route Chateaubriand, which winds its way through past castles and remarkable landmarks, particularly the Ch’teau de Bourbansais and its gardens, which are listed as a Historical Monument, the Ch’teau de la Ballue, whose gardens are a haven full of beautiful plants and leisure parks such as Cobac Park at Lanhèlin (which in 2000 received a trophy at the Haute Bretagne Ille-et-Vilaine Tourism awards) and Zooloisirs at Quèbriac Avranches was the old Gallo-Roman capital of the region for 3 centuries, before the incursions of the Saxons, then the Franks in 786 a.d. Visit the remains of the old town walls dating from the 10th Century, the remains of the late 15th century former Bishop's Palace, which now houses the town museum where you can see the collection of manuscripts of Mont St. Michel.
The Patton Memorial, a monument erected to commemorate the American breakthrough at Avranches in 1944, is on a one acre plot donated by the French people to the United States. Mortain combines history and stunning natural beauty. The city of Count Robert, brother of William the Conqueror, it was besieged several times through the centuries. More recently, the town was the departure point for the fierce German counter attack against the Allies in August 1944. Mortain dominates the wooded gorges of the river Cance which, with its tributary the Cancon, creates the most beautiful waterfalls in Western France. From the summit of the hill, one of the highest points in Normandy, one has a panoramic view from the Domfront region to the bay of Mont St. Michel. The area is very popular with climbers.
The Bayeux Tapestry in the ‘Centre Guillaume Le Conquerant’, between Cherbourg and Caen, is not a ‘fusty bore’. It is 231 ft long and has been described as ‘the greatest cartoon strip ever made’. It is a stunning story, it is a wonder that the tapestry itself has survived and you can listen to a taped English commentary as you walk the length of it. And afterwards try the crepes in one of the creperies, especially with Calvados drizzled on top.
South West of Bayeux is Balleroy, a small but exquisite chateau designed in 1631 by a 33-year old genius architect, Francois Mansart. It was bought in 1970 by the late Malcolm S Forbes, the American tycoon whose motto was ‘ He who dies with the most toys wins’ and his favourite toys were hot-air ballons. The stable block at the chateau is now an eccentric ballooning museum.
Cerisy-La-Foret, a stunning 11th century abbey, which is a short drive from the Balleroy chateau – unforgettable with its creamy stone and soaring vaults.
Take a picnic to Suisse Normandie (so-called Swiss because of its craggy hills) which is an area along the gorge of the river Orne between Putnages and Thury Harcourt.
Granville on the coast north of Avranches, where it is a pleasure to wander the old town and its beautiful beaches; and there are many other glorious beaches along the coasts of Brittany and Normandy, which are never crowded.
And here’s a few more possibilities - Parc de Loisirs (water park) at l’Ange Michel and the Grande Lac with the leisure area and Barrage de Vézins on the River Sélune; The American Cemetery near St James; town Markets can be charming & intriguing - St Hilaire du Harcouët on a Wednesday is probably the largest in the region.
As you can see, there’s plenty to see! If there's anything else you want to know just Email me (my Email details are supplied with the Directions Sheet when you book) or you can contact me via the Angling Lines Forum.
Best Regards, Josie Cook