Manoir de Kernault is a lovely 15thC building which had been modified to meet 18thC requirements. We had read about this on the internet where it was described as “remarkable example of the evolution of a rural mansion” and were intrigued. We didn’t know about the exhibition. Apparently the house is now used for different exhibitions which run for several months. This isn't mentioned on the English version of their web site – you have to follow the link (Les Actualités) on the French version. a The MAnoir is off the usual tourist beat and we made a special trip to visit, waiting 30 minutes in the car park for the Manoir to open.
It had a large and impressive granary. There was a loud speaker outside connected to the exhibition “Colours of Sound” which runs all year. ‘Humm’ we thought. There was a large flowing wooden sculpture looping round the end of the granary, obscuring the building – definitely a bad sign. There were bits of paper stuck on the walls. At first we assumed these were part of an architectural survey. We later found out they were connected with the exhibition in the manoir.
There was a small ticket office with smaller shop selling a few books and postcards in what would have been the steward’s house.
The manoir is a delightful building with pale stone walls and a slate roof with dormer windows and tall chimneys. Our spirits rose as we walked towards it.
There was a large and impressive Seigneurial Hall with large carved fireplace and three large tapestries on the walls. These had been found in the attics and rehung.
Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to see any of these easily as there was a huge cube in the centre of the room with a picture of Yann Paranthoen (who's he?), assorted modern chairs, loud speakers and ear phones hanging from wires.
We found this throughout the rest of the building, even in the cellars so it is impossible to enjoy the architecture.
The servants slept in a room above the cellars and it is possible to see the blocked off doorway to the privy. The kitchen had a large fireplace, with a small wall oven for cakes and pastries. There was a large stone dish warmer under the window.
A small chapel was built at the end of the house. There was a small window into the bedroom so the lord of the manor could attend mass and not mingle with the servants. There was also an inside doorway so he didn’t have to go outside to get to the chapel.
We understand Yann Pananthoen had been a famous broadcaster on French radio. Over his career he had taped country sounds and this was an exhibition based on his work. OK, we are heathens and don’t appreciate this sort of thing which we find pretentious and self indulgent…. He had no connection with the area and we felt it detracted from the building.
As we left the woman in the ticket office pointed out that there were more recordings we could listen too. We thanked her and declined gracefully with our reasons.
We had been expecting great things of this place and were terribly disappointed. The exhibition was intrusive and ruined the feel of the place. We went for a walk towards the pond and there were even outside speakers following us there – so much for enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside…
It is possible to see the outside of the manoir through the large wrought iron gates and take pictures of the outside without having to pay to go in.
web site: http://tinyurl.com/63lz98m