My favourite place: Mark Stoyle

In the October 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine, Mark Stoyle selects Brittany in France as his favourite historical destination. History Extra caught up with him to find out more...

Q: When did you last travel to Brittany and why were you there?

I last visited Brittany in July this year, when my wife and I stopped off to look at some more of Morlaix’s old houses on the first leg of our summer holiday. I was delighted to find that one of them bore the date 1625: the year of Charles I and Henrietta Maria’s wedding!

 

Q: Why do you love the location?

I love Brittany because of its beautiful countryside, its splendid architecture and its proudly distinctive people, whose determination to defend their traditional culture has ensured that today, as for centuries before, Brittany remains, in many ways, a separate country, ‘between France and England’.

 

Q: What top 3 sights would you recommend people visit while they are there, and why?

The three places which I would most recommend people to see while they are visiting Brittany are: Treguier, on the northern coast, for its cathedral; Vannes, in Morbihan, for its late medieval domestic architecture: and Guerande, a little further south, for its stunning circuit of town-walls and gates.

 

Q: During what period of its history would you most wanted to have visited Plovdiv and why?

I would love to have visited Brittany during the late 1540s, so that I could have asked local people what they thought about the violent protests against religious change which were occurring in Devon and Cornwall at this time - protests in which a number of Bretons took part.

 

Q: Where else in the world would you most like to visit and why?

The other two places in the world I would most like to visit are Rome and Tokyo; the first for its architecture and archaeology, and the second because I have always felt it to represent the epitome of both modernity and ‘otherness’.   

 

Next month, Arthur Cotterell visits Bali in Indonesia. Share your tips for would-be travellers on Twitter or Facebook.

You can read Mark's feature on Brittany in the October 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine – on sale from 10 September.

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