The gites are situated in the grounds of the Manoir de Kerdeven which was built around the middle of the 16th century. There is an oak tree outside the 'Doyle' 'gite that is around 500 years old. The restored gites themselves were former farm buildings; 'Verne' was once the stables of the manoir. The Manoir de Kerdeven itself was constructed around 1557; some say that there was once a 2km tunnel connecting the manoir to a farm over the hills. The tunnel was supposedly dug out during the French Revolution to provide a safe hiding place or quick escape route. These stories are given credence by the crest above the Gothic doorway where the family Coat of Arms was said to have been effaced by peasants in revolt. In later years Kerdeven became a farm until the last family left around the 1950. Sometime after this a fire damaged much of the property and the previous owners discovered the deserted house in 1992 in a very sorry state and restored it. I, as one of the current owners, saw the house in 2016 when it was put up for sale. I fell in love with the house, gites and grounds immediately and we bought it.
While the current building is called The Manoir de Kerdeven that is not strictly true, the manoir was originally a hunting lodge believed to have been owned by the Ducs de Rohan in the 16th century.
In the mid 19th century Kerdeven Manor belonged to the Le Borgne family. In 1540 this manor belonged to Henry de Quenec'hquivillic (later to be known as Quenach de Quivillic). The family name comes from that of their original estate, which means "woodcock knoll"
The de Quenec'hquivillic family were among the oldest Breton "nobles of the sword" (the senior class of French nobility). During the Hundred Years' War they fought alongside the Breton knight and French military commander Bertrand du Guesclin (1320-1380) – nicknamed "The Eagle of Brittany" and "The Black Dog of Brocéliande". Later, the family were close confidants of Duchess Anne of Brittany (1477-1514), queen consort of France.
A few years later, Kerdeven manor was owned by Plezon de Mur who held it from Henry's son, Jean de Quenec'hquivillic, who was succeeded in 1575 by Tanguy de Quenec'hquivillic. In 1640 Kerdeven was owned by François Le Bouteiller, lord of Saint-Pretan, and by Marie de Coëtlogon.*
Seigneurerie de Guémené (Louis Galles, 1868), via www.infobretagne.com
Kerdeven is around a 5 minute drive both from Rostrenen and Plouguernevel. Rostrenen is the larger of the two and here you will find bars, restaurants, and a few shops. Plouguernevel has bakeries, a pharmacy and a bar. There are also three supermarkets nearby.
Kerdeven is an area of natural beauty that offers peace and tranquillity for visitors. Despite the rural setting it is still within easy reach of many tourist attractions such as the Forges des Salles, a renovated and restored village from the 18th - 19th century, and the Abbaye de Bon Repos. The 12th-century Cistercian abbey hosts regular exhibitions, a weekly farmers’ market and a spectacular son et lumière in August. The Abbaye is well suited for those who enjoy walking and cycling. Forests, lakes, rivers and the beautiful Nantes to Brest canal are within close proximity. There are excellent rambling routes on easy to find tracks through the woods and countryside. In particular the Nantes to Brest canal is very popular with walkers and cyclists. Nearby there are opportunities for golfing and horse riding, while the beaches of the north, south and, west coasts are all within an hours drive.
Near Kerdeven is the beautiful Lac de Guerledan, it is roughly a 15 minute drive away and it is well worth a visit for its lovely views. At the lake you will find safe sandy beaches, tennis courts, restaurants, mini golf and a children's play area. Canoes, dinghies and pedaloes are available for hire and a floating restaurant offers a leisurely cruise around the lake.
Brittany itself is steeped in history, its standing stones form a circle around it and there is a 'Route de la Pierre' which follows them.
The Abbaye de Bon Repos, which is just a few minutes drive away, can provide a good half days enjoyment as you explore its history. Each summer the Abbaye is the venue of a Son et Lumiere that is very much worth a visit. Outside its gates there is a Sunday morning market that sells craft and artisanal items, the Abbaye also has a restaurant.
As you journey around this region of the Cotes d'Armor you will see the Nantes to Brest canal several times. It winds its way across Brittany and along the way you will see ancient locks and lock keepers cottages, many of which have been renovated and made into homes once more. The canal itself was built under the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte in order to transport supplies to his troops without running the gauntlet of the British fleet. The local jails were emptied to supply man power for this task and sadly many died as a result of the work.
Further afield are places such as St Brieuc, Concarneau, Quimper, and Lorrient all of which are just over an hours drive away.
The beautiful Lac de Guerlédan, one of the largest artificial lakes in Brittany, is around a 15minute drive away. Nautical sports enthusiasts will enjoy this place as you can go, water skiing, or paddle canoes, or hire pedal boats. It is also the point of embarkation for a cruise aboard the "Duke of Guerlédan" to discover the lake. There are lovely beaches here too and an opportunity for swimming.