A haughty castle
Built in the 15th century on the site of an earlier medieval fort, the stern Gothic castle of La Roche-Jagu was much larger originally. The one main wing left standing has severe good looks. There are few openings of any sort on the side dominating the river, reflecting its defensive role. However, a staggering line of 19 chimneys in a row adds a decorative flourish along the crest of the building. The façade on the other side is much lighter and more charming, with a fair number of windows, plus an eccentric tower perched up high.
Refurbished inside and out
The building has undergone major restoration work since the Côtes d’Armor county council took it over and began putting on events here. The grand hall on the ground floor was where functions were traditionally held; exhibitions today focus on themes to do with Côtes d’Armor, for instance the county’s hidden treasures, or its maritime riches. The grounds have been beautifully replanted, and awarded the status of Jardin Remarquable. A wonderful new terrace looks down on the dramatic, densely wooded banks of the Trieux from on high.
From aristocrats to washerwomen
Just upstream, at flower-smothered riverside Pontrieux, it isn’t aristocratic architecture that’s highlighted, but the exceptional number of wash houses beside the Trieux. The washerwomen of yesteryear must surely have made this one of the very cleanest little towns in Brittany. There are also many boathouses, and you can embark on a mini river cruise and a modern marina has opened on the north side of town. Nearby, a good number of craftspeople have set up shop and in the charming centre, the intriguingly named Maison de la Tour Eiffel stands out; a timber-frame extravaganza housing tourist office and exhibition space in the heart of this lovely Petite Cité de Caractère.