There was a 28 euro toll on the drive to Nantes but we were there for the opening weekend of the “Voyage to Nantes.” The first thing we found in Nantes was a demonstration for the reunification of Brittany. I wouldn’t normally include this here, but I was able to video a remarkable musical event:


While the Musee des Beaux Arts was closed for renovation, they hosted a show of work by Fernand Leger in the Chapelle de l’oratoire:

Adieu New York by Fernand Léger,1946
La feuille verte by Fernand Leger,  1945
La joconde aux clés by Fernand Léger, 1930

Included in the exhibit was a photo from 1942 showing the artists that participated in the "Artists in Exile" show in NYC. Sitting there right next to Leger, Marc Chagel, Piet Mondrian, Jacques Lipchitz, Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy, was our new friend Ossip Zadkine (second from left, with pipe):


Then we found some of the public art that was the Voyage. At the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany we found this piece by Chapel Hill artist, Patrick Dougherty:

Enseignes rue du chateau by Patrick Dougherty
Also outside was this piece by Aida Makoto:

The Non-Thinker by Aida Makoto

Inside the castle was another piece of his:

Jumble of 100 flowers by Aida Makato, 1965

Also in the castle was an exhibition of all things Samurai.

Le Lieu Unique

At Le Lieu Unique (a former biscuit factory) and now an art center, there were a couple of shows, including:

Memoria by Anne & Patrick Porier

Then we found more of the Voyage to Nantes:

Resolution des Forces en Presence by Vincent Mauger
Aire de Jeux by Kinya Maruyama
Bateau-Lavoir by Francois Delaroziere

This colorful installation was done at the Theatre Graslin by Elsa Tomkowiak:

 Elsa Tomkowiak at Theatre Graslin

Then there was the Villa Ocupada where twenty artists from all over Europe and Latin America come together for one month and make a remarkable transformation:

 Fefe Talavera


Young Jules Verne and Captain Nemo were done by Elisabeth Cibot in 2005. Nantes is Verne’s birthplace.

Here are a couple more:

L'Epave by Paul Auban, 1926
 Lunar Tree by Mrzyk & Moriceau

We found another beautifully carved carousel:

And the great Elephant, which may be art:

Here are a few more shots from the Isle of Nantes:

La Fabrique
Batiment B
Le Balapapa by Pierre-Yves Arcile & Benoit Moreira
Les Mues by Huang Yong Ping
Huit Chevaux de Leonard de Vinci Dechirant un Porte-Avons by Huang Yong Ping, 2004
Les Anneaux by Daniel Buren & Patrick Bouchain

While I find many of the storefronts to be works of Art, La Cigale (which means “cicada”) is truly a masterpiece:

The Voyage to Nantes includes artworks all along the Loire River to Saint Nazaire. We found only this one in Saint Nazaire, viewed from the top of a former German submarine base:

Suite de Triangles by Felice Varini, 2007.

But also this:

 Le Voyage de la Sirene by Federica Matta, 2001

We were able to find this monument sculpted by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1917, as the 87th Infantry Division Memorial:

87th Infantry Division Memorial by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1917

And we found a couple more along the way:
by Jean-Paul Moscovino, 1995

Our next destination was the Gulf of Morbihan. The largest city there is Vannes, where we found the Musee de Beaux Arts called La Cohoe. Outside and inside were these pieces by Alain Krili:

There was a variety of artworks:

Les Pataugeuses by Joseph-Felix Boucho
works by Genevieve Asse

Then we drove north to the Domaine de Kerguehennec near Bignac. It was raining pretty hard, but not enough to prevent us from exploring the grounds, looking for sculptures. Here are a few we found:

Au bout by Rainer Gross, 2011
Sentier de Charme by Giuseppe Penone, 1986
 Sept colonnes à Stéphane Mallarmé, 1967-71


Inside the chateau was a tribute to the Fondation Maeght. There were paintings by a wide variety of artists from Eduardo Chilida to Pierre Alechinsky. Photos not allowed but here are a few I found online:

Collage by Eduardo Chillida, 1969
Le partage des eaux by Pierre Alechinsky, 1991
Sans titre by Bram Van Velde, 1966

It was still raining when we hiked out.

The region around the Gulf of Morbihan is rich with Neolithic sites; dolmen and menhirs. While not strictly Art, we visited quite a few.

Tumulus du Rocher Kernours, Le Bono
Dolmen du Mane Rethual
Dolmen des Pierres Plates, Locmariaque
Tumulus du Mane er Hroech

We also took a trip to Le Pouldu and Pont Aven. It seems Paul Gauguin went to paint in Le Pouldu in 1889.  And stayed here:

These are some of the views.

On the way to Pont Aven, we came across this yard in Riec-sur-Belon:

Pont Aven is the place we had always associated with Paul Gauguin, as well as hundreds of artists that had been going there since the 1860’s. It is a beautiful place filled with rivers, streams and mill-runs providing many scenes to paint:

 And over 60 galleries:

Then up through the Bois d’Amor to the Tremelo, known as the chapel of the yellow Christ which inspired Gauguin’s painting The Yellow Christ. There were also many interesting carved features:

Back in Arradon, we walked into town for a free concert. The first act was called Ventilator – The Band That Burns.  They were quite entertaining.

Here are a couple of videos: video 1, video 2video 3, video 4

Then we were off to Rennes. With no art festivals, we did not really know what to expect from Rennes, but we were not disappointed. On our first walk around we found an interesting exhibition at the base of a waterfall in a beautiful park:

Jardin du Thabor
Chantiers d’Art was images of ten works about water by women artists, mounted for display.

Anne-Francoise Taillard
 Eliane Belot

There was, as usual, Art everywhere:

 We took a bus to the north of the city to F.R.A.C. Bretagne, one of the regional contemporary Art centers:

Alignement du XXI e siècle by Aurelie Nemours
Rennes-Montparnasse by Jacques Villegle, 1987
Courant d'espair, vertical by Harald Klingelholler, 1995

Back in town, we soon found L'Cree Center for Contemporary Art.  It was really just a room off the the old market building, but had an interesting display of plexiglass sculptures by Amalia Pica:

And a video she made for the Venice Biennial:

The Musee des Beaux Arts was the biggest surprise, with paintings by La Tour, Picasso, Gauguin and more.  And some unusual placements:

 Le Reniement de saint Pierre by George de la Tour
Baigneuse a Dinard by Pablo Picasso, 1928
Vase de fleurs by Paul Gauguin, 1878
(center) Le grand casque by Yves Laloy, 1951-52

La Nona Ora by Maurizio Cattelan, 1999

Here are a few scenes from around town:

Isabelle Brisset

We went to Rennes for the Tombees de la Nuit which was presenting, that evening, the Nofit State Circus from Scotland:

It was a very physical display, unlike your usual circus.  The audience stood and was moved around to be close to the action.

We left Rennes the next morning and soon found a dolman along the way:

La Roche de Fees

We were heading to Laval, an old city.  On the way we found these in St. Berthevin:

Allegorialle by Del'Aune

 Laval is home of the Musee de l'Art Naif in the Vieux Chateaux.  Outside were some sculptures:

by Robert Buron
 Beatrice de Gavre

We learned that Laval was the birthplace of Henri Rousseau:

 La Douanier Rousseau by Del'Aune

Inside was a variety of primitive art from Rousseau:

Le pont de Grenelle by Henri Rousseau, 1892
Paysage by Henri Rousseau, 1905

To work by other French and international artists:

Les Baigneuses by Josip Generalie, 1967
 Les centaures by Petar Grgec, 1977
 Bouquet d'arbres by Antun Bahunek, 1971

View of the River Mayenne from the chateau.

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