Manoir de Kérazan is between Pont l’Abbé and Loctudy. It has had a chequered history with many different owners. It passed to the Astor family in the 19thC who turned it into a luxury home with a fine collection of paintings and pottery.
It is a lovely 16thC building that was extended in the 18thC with large dormer windows and a new roof. Later an 18thC wing with outbuildings was added. The main staircase is in a circular turret with conical roof.
We were given an English summary to the rooms and left to wander at our own speed. Photographs were allowed, but no flash.
The kitchen is in the 16thC part of the house and contains a large open fireplace and recessed wall cupboards used for storage. The walls were so thick the room always stayed cool. It is furnished with typical Breton furniture including a large cupboard with a decorative pattern of nails. The number of nails reflected the affluence of the family.
Up the beautiful wooden spiral stairway on the first floor, are the bedrooms belonging to M and Mme Astor. One bedroom has an en suite bathroom with water heated by a boiler in the bedroom. (There is no lift so these rooms would be inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair.)
Back downstairs there is a large drawing room with grey paneling with gold details. There is an alabaster clock, decorative Chinoisserie box, crystal chandeliers and two mirrors which give multiple reflections of the chandelier.
The dining room ceiling had been painted by friends of the Astors. The hunting scenes on the walls were designed to whet the appetite. Beyond is a large billiard room with blue green painted paneling from the time of Louis XV which had been installed in the 19thC. The mouldings at the top are intertwined to resemble rams horns which are a traditional motif from the area.
There is a small smoking room with card table and 19thC voyeuse chair designed to sit and watch the card players. Beyond is Madam Astor’s drawing room with 19thC pink paneling, Louis XVI writing desk and chairs with green tapestry upholstery. Beyond is the study/library from the second half of the 19thC.
The Chapel is now used as a display room for works by Alfred Beau who worked in the Parquier Factory in Quimper. There is a selection of his plates and well as a faïence cello. It took him six attempts to get it right. It has no strings and has never been played.
We walked round to the farm at the back of the house where there are a few animals. The farmhouse is not open. There is a large barn with examples of farm machinery including potato planters and lifters, wagons and sleds.
The grounds are pleasant with trees and grass. There is a small stream with a rock garden. The small kitchen garden had a selection of herbs, leeks, carrots, marrows, french marigolds and many different varieties of mint. There is an underground fountain and a large lavoir with steps leading down to the two pools.
There is a douves seches (dry moat) across the roadway inside the main gate. These were common in the 17thC as they were cheaper than a moat with water. They are also called ‘Wolf’s Leap’ as the distance can only just be managed by a wolf in one leap.
This was a good visit and we enjoyed it.
A longer report covering our week in Guengat can be read here: www.slowtrav.com/tr/tripreport.asp?tripid=1980&index=0
Our pictures are here: http://wasleys.org.uk/france/brittany_11/aa_wk1/13/index.html