How to imagine that some lost villages in the middle of nowhere could attract so many tourists! How do they do? The magic of tourism and event planning!
La Gacilly was once a lost village in the middle of the Brittany (France). Nothing was really happening there. And one day, an inhabitant has created the famous cosmetic brand “Yves Rocher”. He built a fabric and planted fields of medicinal plants. His goal was to make the village survive. And it worked.
Since then, lot happened! Yves Rocher family opened an ecohotel “La Grée des Landes” on the top of a hill next to the village. He created a foundation for the environment protection, a restaurant in the village….
The village became a handicraft centre. They are about 30 artist’s boutiques in the centre…. painters, ceramists, wood sculptors… They organize each year a major event , the Photo Festival of the Gacilly. It is the biggest outdoor festival of this kind in France. They create huge picture panels which are integrated into nature and on the houses of the village. Each year they choose a new theme linked to the environment and culture. This festival is a real delight! I experienced it last year and I was absolutely surprise by the result. This is one of the few festivals of this kind in Europe (although it is becoming a phenomenon)
Webpage of the event http://www.festivalphoto-lagacilly.com
Other events are taking place all year around: handicraft markets, exhibitions, concerts… The village has even an art gallery and library next to the tourist office. This calendar and all activities in the neighbourhood allow the destination to live almost all year around.
I cannot recommend more this destination for a short gateway!
The village has even its British inhabitants! I found a nice little tearoom owned by Britons where you can eat homemade British cakes . (It is exotic for France, I have to say!)
Ps: I will publish an article very soon on the hotel. Here is the webpage: http://www.lagreedeslandes.com/
Webpage of the destination: http://www.paysdelagacilly.com/index.htm