Don’t get me wrong. Arles is lovely. Old stone, big river, huge history. And surprisingly tourist-free, thanks to the nearby beaches. Definitely go to Arles, it’s (almost) un-destination territory and fabulous for photography. But, if you’re in search of old stone, nice river and high photographic interest, Brittany has a lesser known proposition that’s deep into undestination territory. And it has pancakes. What’s not to like?
La Gacilly lies in the South Eastern corner of Brittany (therefore close to France, some locals might say 😉 ) You can locate it on the un-destinations map for France.
On first inspection, it might look like just any other charming stone village of the area. And the area has many. A charming village like so many others, then. With the added bonus of a nice river.
A charming little stone village with a nice river. And this …
And if that’s not enough (where is your soul ;^) ?) there are two additional reasons to visit.
One I will mention in passing, but it does relate to this post and website: La Gacilly is the birthplace of Yves Rocher, the French affordable cosmetics superhero. The shop is lovely, the restaurant even better (yes, I know, I talk about food too much). But … wait.
The second, and most important reason for braving the local weather and unavoidable obesity (did I mention the food is glorious?), is that La Gacilly hosts what is a surprisingly amazing photographic exhibition all through summer.
When I say amazing …
Imagine my surprise turning a corner to find myself face to face with a wall size version of Danila Tkachecnko’s extraordinary photographs of ex USSR Restricted Areas. I regret that it’s so bad to be regretful, as otherwise I’d forever regret being blown out of the weeds at an auction when a triptych of his photographs was on offer. (whimper).
It gets better. A whole street was devoted to this young man who, to my eyes, is very talented and meaningful.
But that’s not all. The greatest aspect of this village-wide event is that it’s indoors, outdoors, on public walls, in the forest … everywhere. Did I mention … totally free?
Again, Arles is very nice. But this is better. More unexpected, more everywhere, more free. There, I said it.
You get from one exhibit area to the next via little lanes such as this :
And end up facing this.
Now, a disclaimer. And here, Yves Rocher comes back to the fore. Some of the show is sponsored. That might put some people off. YR sponsors a whoe section in the forest next to the factory shop. Meaning the topics are mostly environmental and mostly related to the YR foundation. Still, the photographs are good and interesting and all the sponsorship entails is a few lines on the explanatory panels to the side. No biggie for such a wonderful free show.
In other words, you come for this
And end up staying for this
(all pics on this page made with my Samsung Galaxy S9, ‘caus my camera was out of battery. What else is new ? 😉 )
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