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France, Kerlouan, Travel

Finding Little Meneham: an old French Hamlet

Saturday was a slow day. We rolled out of bed, had a quick breakfast (baguettes of course), and began to plan our day. We decided to start with a morning cycle to get a sense of the town and to explore a local jewel: the hamlet of Meneham.

I hopped on my bicycle, refamiliarised myself with the gears, and we set off. It was one of those perfect days. There was a fresh breeze, but apparently, there is always a fresh breeze here. We sailed along the coastline to reach a little hamlet now turned museum, called Meneham.

A taste of the history

I am currently in the far north-west of France, in a ‘department’ (province) called Britanny. Kerlouan lies in the furthest west region, called Finistère – meaning ‘the end of the world’.

I feel like I’m at the edge of the world.

Kerlouan is a commune with a medieval history. Its coastline is rich with granite intrusions that stick out of the landscape like a sore thumb. Large, granite boulders protrude from the ocean and scatter among the farmlands. Located along this rocky coast, is the little hamlet of Meneham. This collection of structures was erected in the 17th Century and has been flawlessly preserved.

Marc and I parked our bikes and spent some time exploring all the houses. Up until recently, Marc’s uncle had lived in one of these houses, and he recalls making a fire in a fireplace that now sits behind glass.

The little village of Meneham.

We even visited a bunker that would have been frequented during attacks in World War I and II. It was strange for me. In South Africa, you feel so far away from the war torn European history. But standing on the beach facing the UK, that history seems too close.

The Little Chapel at Meneham

It is a charming collection of houses. There is even a chapel squeezed in between two large granite boulders, next to a stone sentry house.It is called Chapelle Pol and is well camouflaged in the grey landscape.

The chapel dwarfed by the rocks.

The chapel dwarfed by the rocks.

Everything about this little hamlet was cute and quaint. The buildings were made for much smaller peoples. The doorways hang low, and I can imagine my brother would be sore from knocking his head on all the beams. Something about the style of these cottages made me think of McGregor, my home town. The cute, A-frame thatch-

Something about the style of these cottages made me think of McGregor, my home town. The cute, A-frame thatch-roofed cottages were cosy. I could imagine residents huddling by the fireside in winter, bracing against the chill of the northern wind. They would have been dining on fresh fish caught from the Atlantic Ocean and vegetables grown in the fields.  These two industries are still very vital to the survival of Kerlouan.

The is a quiet charm that lies along this coastal region. I cannot wait to explore more.

By Soninke Combrinck, August 12, 2017

Soninke Combrinck

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Hi, I'm Soninke
My name is Soninke, but I am more affectionately known as 'Sunny'. I am a food obsessed, coffee loving travel bug who wants to save the world. Tag along on my journey as I try to navigate this crazy thing called life.
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