Christmas in Quimperlé and Pont Aven!

Well doing my rounds in lovely Brittany. The show of today was Quimperlé and later Pont Aven. I have written on these places outside of the Christmas season back in 2015 and 2014, respectively, and have other posts here in search. The visit was on Dec 21st but due to internet connection problems I am posting today, oh yes storms rains and all goes down here. temps in the 40’sF or 5-10C and gray rainy cold.

The towns of Quimperlé we like and been there on weekends but going during the weekday is another story, a bit down. No Christmas chalets or hardly decorations, and just walk around town for some pictures.

The tourist office is here: http://www.quimperle-terreoceane.com/en/

We drove of course only about 55  kms or about 35 miles from our house. All along the N165 to exit Quimperlé. We arrive at Place St Michel, parked for free and walk the beat.

We saw again the nice Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption right on the square , a nice nativity set was on ,yes.  The Church as begun in 1373, rebuilt in the 15C  in Flamboyant Gothic style.  It has the oldest sculpted  beams in Brittany dating from 1430! Then ,we walk by the Chapelle de Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs or Ursulines dating from the 17C  with a panoramic view of the city and now hosting cultural events in the city, and still imposing. And got to see the huge renovations going on at the Frémeur Hôpital and Chapelle de Saint Eutrope dating from the 14C.  The ground floor (1st) was the women floor, then upstairs the men, the attic was reserved for contagious patients , and a chapel on each floor.  The hospital is the last medieval one in the west of France, and was used until 1976. You can go down to the quays of the river Laîta or  the route of Saint James of Compostella. we did took a ride by the train station or gare, nice to know it is walking distance to all the above.

Having been here before, and not much Christmas activity going on, we had time to continue the journey into lovely Pont-Aven, the home of painters. This we did on the route D778.

The tourist office here is at : http://www.pontaven.com/L-Office-du-Tourisme

Once parked on a side street for free not far from the bridge or pont de Pont Aven, we came around to take another look at one of our favorite here the Chapelle de Trémalo, it is believe due to a dating on the door that the chapel was built around 1550. It was frequented by the artist painters who visited and lived in Pont Aven. The river Aven, has a unique toilet right hanging over the river, a quaint unusual place to visit while in town ::)  Right across the street you have the quaint romantic nice promenade Xavier Grall; a wonderful laberinth of trails along the river giving you an allure of old and just perfect for a family walk.

Nothing about Christmas chalet or motifs here but we finally saw the museum rebuilt. I have come here many years ago on the old property of Villa Julia (the museum de Pont Aven) and then it went into a long postponed prolonged period of renovation until finally open recently. We finally went inside the new one; a bit disappointed that it has been rebuilt in a contemporary modern look without any trace of its old turn of the century allure. Anyway, this is the place where the painters of the School of Pont Aven met, and the Nabis and the initial Americans and then the rest with its resident master Paul Gauguin.

The Villa Julia was for Julia Guillou who was a servants in the Hôtel des Voyageurs, after the death of the owner in 1871 she borrowed money from the residents  to buy the hotel.  She welcome all and had a good inside on the artists who visited the town, when she passed away in 1927 a huge crowd came in even from Paris.  The founders of the School of Pont Aven who to paint the beautiful country around and inside Pont Aven staying at this hotel since 1888 and at the nearby Pension Gloanec ; artists such as Paul Gauguin, Charles Filiger, Meijer de Haan, Claude-Emile Schuffeneker, Armand Seguin, and Wladyslaw Slewinski. 

The Americans came here first by 1850 and then the British, Australians, Scandinavians, Irish, and Dutch followed.

After 1888 the artists came in to be known as Nabis, such as Sérusier, Roussel, Vuillard, Lacombe and Filiger under the advice of Paul Gauguin, did painted here a lot.  All of this is shown in the museum with films, drawings and paintings from the artists. There is a temporary collection in the upper floor that the room itself is very nice. The plain Julia room is richly decorated in wood carving of the times. The museum is worth a detour for the art lover in all of us.

More on the museum here: http://www.museepontaven.fr/en/

And short of Christmas chalet we came home for the warm cozy of our house and some goodies to eat and drink. Stay tune the best is yet to come. Merry Christmas to all.

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