Vue de la Rance Chambre d'hôtes & Gites
Vue de la Rance was originally built as a hotel in the 1880s, a time of great prosperity in France at the start of the “Belle Époque”. In 1879, the railway first came to La Hisse and the village became very popular with tourists from Brittany and beyond. Visitors would alight from the trains and enjoy the amenities of numerous coffee houses, bars, patisseries and hotels. The river was a very popular attraction and steamers left for excursions along the Rance valley.
The Belle Époque came to a close with the First World War and La Hisse declined as a popular tourist destination. Affordable motoring and cheap flights later led people to seek out the sunshine of southern France or overseas for their holidays.
A chateau stood next to Vue de la Rance and during the Second World War was used by German troops who protected the strategically important Chatelier bridge below. Following the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944, advancing American troops fired shells at the chateau from La Vicomte sur Rance. Some shells hit Vue de la Rance and the marks left in the rear brickwork can still be seen.
The view of the Rance itself changed in the 1960s, when the barrage was constructed near Dinard to generate electricity using one of the world’s biggest tidal ranges. The ecology of the river changed and beaches which previously existed disappeared.
Tourism to the area declined and Vue de la Rance became a private house. Its condition deteriorated until 2000 when it was completely renovated as a Chambre d’Hote to meet the needs of modern tourists who increasingly come to Brittany to experience its natural beauty and rich cultural traditions.
Tourists who visited in the 1880s would certainly still recognise the spectacular views over the Rance estuary, but there the similarity ends. Today’s growing number of visitors are more likely to arrive by car or bike rather than the train (which still calls at La Hisse Halt). En suite bathrooms, colour television and wifi might have been unthinkable to the first visitors but now they are basic expectations.
Vue de la Rance has a long history and will keep moving forward with the times.