The great thing about friends visiting us in Loire Atlantique is that it gives us an opportunity of going to places we thought we knew well and getting a lovely surprise
On this occasion we took some friends to La Gacilly on the way from Rennes airport and found that a lot of changes have taken place. The streets are still beautiful and cobbled with all the usual artisans doing their thing and the annual photographic exhibiton is in full swing with incredible photos lining the streets and walls of the town but the area around the bridge is undergoing a complete renovation.
The tourist office is now in a new building, beautifully built with stone and slate walls in keeping with the old buildings around it, it has a new shop selling locally crafted items and a large exhibition floor above it which this year has a contemporary textiles display from 4th June to 26th September and then an exhibition of contemporary ceramics and earthenware design from 16th October to 31st December.
Outside between the tourist office and the river there is a spectacular exhibit of African tribal people – very simply made but incredibly effective and just a bit spooky I think. While we were there last Friday, there was a lot of activity constructing the new pedestrian bridge which will link the area outside the tourist office with what was the Vegetarium. Now this wonderfully ivy covered building which belongs to the Yves Rocher empire of natural cosmetics will house a café, una Yves Rocher shop and an exhibition space which this year will focus on celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. Yves Rocher have also opened an Eco-Hotel Spa in La Gacilly (not for the penny pinching) with 29 rooms, a restaurant, spa and a conference centre. You can pamper yourself with treatments at their spa without having to stay at the hotel, prices start at 40€ for 30 mins to 115€ for a 2hr session. There is also a Yves Rocher garden which can be visited for free just outside La gacilly on the road going through the town to Rennes.
Our last guests were so taken with La Gacilly that after visiting it alone, they then took their parents back for a look and stayed a whole day. Kate is an avid quilter and you can read what she thought of it on her own blog.