In 2015 we visited the Vallée de la Vilaine, the focal point of a new and ambitious project to promote this large region. After an initial exploratory visit of the area we met with the architecture collective Bureau Cosmique and together came up with a format for our fieldwork, the pilot project Traversées et escales, Journeys and stopovers, as a way of embellishing the landscaping study undertaken by Agence Ter.
These “journeys” were designed as itineraries guided by those who were already familiar with the region, along the paths linking the different towns and villages to the Vilaine river. The “stopovers” were events open to the public, occasions to share current knowledge and bring together the contributions of stakeholders and local residents. They were organised around an exploration hub hosting different representations of the Vallée de la Vilaine: photographs, maps, documentary materials and a stunning 8 metre long mural designed by MioSHe. Each stopover took place in a different part of the Valley: a local community centre, a barn, a former dentistry school and a geodesic dome near a lake. At each stopover artists were invited to lead participatory workshops: walking and writing workshops, sensory walks, storytelling workshops and treasure hunts for children. Gradually a portrait of the Valley began to take shape, composed of different visions and perceptions – a complex image with which the landscape architects could work and which helped them develop their early designs.