Archive for October 23rd, 2018

October 23, 2018

This is Guingamp in the Côtes d’Armor!

And so Brittany, yes Bretagne oh well it is locally Breizh. So many things to see in my Brittany now, and you know my blog on the rest of France, no wonder is No 1 most visited country in the world! according to the UN WTO. Oh yes United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Let me tell you a bit more on my Brittany by going again north of me to the historical Guingamp in dept 22 Côtes d’Armor. I admit , been here briefly passing by on way to Lannion , and once just walking around the city center with the family a while back, but is still another place to see. And see I must come back soon.

Guingamp is located 110 km east of Brest and 130 km west of Rennes. Saint-Brieuc, the prefecture, is 32 km to the east. Guingamp is crossed by the Trieux river. The Breton name of the city is Gwengamp, probably from Gwenn “white” or “blessed” figuratively, and Kamp (Latin campus) “field”. The etymological sense would therefore be white field.


The N12 road , the old royal road from Paris to Brittany now the main road passing by it and it goes all the way to Fougéres where I connect with Paris lately. The Gare de Guingamp train station is located on the Paris-Montparnasse-Brest line, their secondary network lines, the line at Carhaix and the line at Paimpol, allow to reach Carhaix and Paimpol.

A bit of history I like

The excavations in the castle of Guingamp have highlighted the three castles built successively on the same site. A first castle, built around 1030 on a circular feudal clod, was surrounded by a ditch with a depth of 5 meters dug into the rock. The buildings were wooden, as were the rectangular tower-gates resting on six poles that defended the entrance. A second castle, built in stone, was erected in the 12C. Its enclosure wall is polygonal; The angles are reinforced with buttresses, according to a model then very common in the country of Plantagenet. A third castle was built in the middle of the 15C, with square planes with imposing circular towers at the four angles, adapted to the artillery of the time. This third castle remained unfinished: the tensions existing between the Duchy of Brittany and the Kingdom of France oblige Duke François II of Brittany to favor the castles located in the east at the borders of his duchy.

Guingamp is quoted for having participated in the revolt of the Red Caps (bonnet rouge) or revolt of the stamped paper which occurred in 1675 against the King for high taxes. At Guingamp, under the French revolution, no execution is to be noted. On the other hand, crops were catastrophic and market supplies are often meagre. No guillotine, no chouannerie. On the other hand, the active participation of locals in the wars of Vendée, on the Republican side (revolutionaries). Guingamp was released on August 7, 1944 by the maquisards of Plésidy-Saint-Connan, resistance fighters. A Museum of Resistance in Argot opened in 2014 in Saint-Connan in order to recall the actions of this heroes.

Things to see

Château de Pierre II (Guingamp) is a former fortified castle, from the beginning of the 11C, the castle was also part of the defensive belt of the city ramparts built in 1446 by Jean de Beuves for Pierre II (Peter), were also present and drew the outlines of the city in the 15C.


The jewel and a must to be seen is the Basilica of Bon Secours (Our Lady of Good help) built from the 11C to the 16C. In 1093, the Earl of Guingamp, Étienne inherited the county of Penthièvre on the death of his elder brother, Geoffroy. It gives the city and its surroundings a large lot. Inside the walls, the old chapel of the castle quickly becomes a respected and influential parish. In the 12C, the church known today as Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours bears the successive words of St. Peter and St. Paul before bearing the name of the Church of the Blessed Mary of Guingamp, a place of Marian pilgrimage. Some of the details of it are:

The tour Pointue : the Tower is located in the center of the basilica. High of 57 meters, it is surmounted by an octagonal granite spire at the end of which one can distinguish a rooster perched on its cross in wrought iron 3 meters high and admiring the view.

 A Renaissance tower is located on the south side of the western façade of the basilica. It was erected in the 16C, allowing visitors to admire the Renaissance style. The clock tower is located on the north side of the western façade. It is the oldest part of the church after Romanesque substructions. The Notre-Dame portal is located on the north façade of the basilica. The Sainte-Jeanne portal is located on the northern façade of the basilica and opens onto the north transept. The Porte au Duc( Duke) is located on the south facade of the basilica.   The chapel of the baptismal font is located south of the Western portal The Chapel of Blessed Charles of Blois dates from the 13C. It is located at the point of the clock tower, north of the western gate. This chapel is the oldest part of the basilica after Romanesque substructions. The Chapel of the Virgin is located to the north of the basilica. The chapel of the deceased, formerly Chapel of La Chapelle Saint-Jacques(St James), is located near the Porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. It was, until 1621, the place where the city community was meeting. Trinity or Chapelle de Saint-Denis, is located on the north side of the basilica; the Treasury Chapel is located immediately south of the porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is located in the eastern part of the southern lower-side of the basilica. Formerly called the Chapel of the Virgin, it was garnished in 1860 with a white marble altar. The north of the nave is the Gothic part of the 13C while the south corresponds to the Renaissance part of the 15-16C. The choir of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is surrounded by four large pillars offering each to the eyes of the discerning visitors, heads of Énigmatic characters. In the past, this part of the church contained a coffin in the form of a armorised tomb of the Le Brun family with above a stone pyramid. A marble slab with a wooden cornice bore an inscription which indicated that Jacques Le Brun had been governor of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours in 1656. Today, one is surprised by a small statue at the turn of the south-west pillar representing a young man dressed in a robe, holding a fleur de Lys in his right hand and leaning on what looks like an axe: it is Saint Joseph.

At the ambulatory level, the tracery of the windows are flamboyant in style. This peculiar form of Gothic affection lanceolate imitating flames and succeeds in Radiant Gothic. The carved foliage of the capitals, the corolled pellets of the fallout and the old statues are also impressive to the visitors. The apse of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours dates from the 15C.   The bedside represents the end of the nave behind the great altar. Originally flat and composed of three large windows, it was between 1462 and 1484, replaced by a polygonal apse after a donation from the rector of Tréveneuc . The majestic organ of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is located on the south side, in the chapel Santiago. In the course of his history has underwent several restorations. The presbytery is located near the western Gate, southwest of the basilica.

 Saint Croix Abbey . Founded around 1135 is a foundation for the regular canons of St. Augustine in Brittany, established in 1134 by Count Étienne de Penthièvre for canons from the Abbaye Saint-Victor in Paris.  The abbey was founded by Count Étienne I of Penthièvre and his wife Havoise of Blois known as Guingamp.

Fountain of the Plomée at the top of the Place du Centre, at the crossroads of rue Notre Dame and rue Henry Kerfant . The term Plomée comes from the Breton word plomenn meaning “pump, fountain ” and locally “source “. The fountain was built in the 15C. In 1588, it was transferred to the top of the square and became ornamental. It was renovated in 1743 .

Chateau des Salles (castle of the rooms) built in the 15C. It had a major redevelopment at the beginning of the 17C. It’s closed to the public. The building was erected at the entrance of the city coming from the alley of the Marquis.   The tower on the side is a former 16C dovecote.

Old prison Style “Pennsylvanian” (18C) was built between 1836 and 1841 according to the model “Pennsylvanian , and is located at 4, rue Auguste Pavia. It was disused in 1951 and property of the city since 1992. The prison worked as joint penitentiary establishment between 1841 and 1931, when it officially closed. However, the prison underwent a new activity between 1941 and 1952, and 1 400 persons were again imprisoned for common law offences.

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Guingamp heritage by friends of the city

Tourist office of Guingamp

Tourist office of dept Côtes d’Armor

There you another wonder of our beautiful Brittany in seldom seen Côtes d’Armor up north. Guingamp is nice and deserves more time even by me! They do have a nice football/soccer team ::)

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




October 23, 2018

The rose in Perros Guirec-Ploumanac’h!

So back at you from my north Brittany heaven; indeed all seems beautiful around me, and I notice feel lucky to be here. Again I have to thanks for my dear late wife Martine for showing me her country since 1989 and to be part of it since 2000!

I have written before but need to tell you must tell you again about this beautiful magical Breton area of Perros Guirec and its side kick Ploumanac’h way up in Bretagne nord! Let me try to be brief and plenty of links for information and a teaser to come on over folks!

Perros-Guirec is a town in the Dept 22 of Côtes D’Armor in the region of Brittany. It is 78 km from Saint Brieuc, 175 km from Rennes and 524 km from Paris. And 162 km from my town! Perros is a Breton toponym composed of Penn, meaning “bout, end” and Roz, “coastal promontory”. Guirec is the Anthroponyme from the holy founder of the place, Saint Guirec, in modern Breton, the name of the town is Perroz-Gireg. Locally we only talk about Perros. The town has two emblems: The Puffin, a small sea bird with a colorful beak whose largest colony in France breeds in the Sept-Îles, and the hydrangea flower particularly present in the city and the gardens of the private individuals. Perros-Guirec mainly lives in tourism. During the summer, the city takes on another dimension both in activities (sports, cultural and economic) and in population (which multiplies by about 8). It is known as a family resort with a few fine sandy beaches (Trestraou and Trestrignel) and its coastline is partly composed of pink granite blocks with impressive shapes (the pink granite coast)

The town has three main beaches. Trestraou’s is sunny. There are the casino and the Convention Center, where exhibitions are often held. It is from this beach that you will embark to visit the Sept-Îles (seven islands) that surround it, among which Rouzic Island (the island of birds), uninhabited, but where resident gulls and Bassan birds are. The beach of Trestrignel is more beaten by the winds. Quite wild, which makes its charm, it is like cashed at the bottom of a coast, and is bordered by the point of the castle, rocky headland from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the islands, especially on the island Tomé (which is not part of Sept-Îles). The beach of Saint-Guirec is situated in the village of Ploumanac’h, along the Sentiers du Douaniers (customs trail). It is therefore an easy stopover for any hiker in the summer. Facing it on the small island of Costaérès stands the castle of Costaérès. The port of the city is equipped with a swimming pool and welcomes both fishermen and boaters. A water retention basin adjacent to the river basin, Linkin, formerly the Basin de Chasse , has been transformed into a nautical activity area (school or touristic), depending on the season.


Things to see, my favorites, again there are plenty of things to see and do around here!

The House of Maurice Denis, painter Nabi and impressionist above the beach of Trestrignel. Built in 1894 . The name of the city   “Silencio” is an allusion to the Spanish origins of the actress who made her built, Marcelle Josset. It was in 1908 that the painter Maurice Denis acquired it. During WWII the house was occupied by the Nazis who partially deteriorated it. Unique here one I came to see the museum in Saint-Germain-en- Laye ( Yvelines 78).

Christian Gad and Daniel Chhe Sculpture Park: Located between the La Clarté and Ploumanac’h (at the entrance of the latter), this park contains numerous granite sculptures, including those of Pierre Székely who made numerous stays in Perros-Guirrec in the years 1980-90 to carve the granite Rose. Very nicely city life where locals mingle freely and nice, bonjour is the norm!

Perros Guirec

Church of St. James, the church was dedicated to Saint James because the city was a place of passage for the road to Santiago de Compostela, for pilgrims from Great Britain; There are also some scallop shells engraved at the front pieces of the doors. The pardon of St. James is celebrated on the last Sunday of July.


Notre-Dame de La Clarté Chapel .This chapel was built in 1445 following a vow made by the Marquis of Barac’h, who was saved from a shipwreck. On the mound adjoining this chapel, a Grand Mass is celebrated every year in honour of Notre-Dame-de-la-Clarté on 15 August.


Oratory of Saint-Guirec, on the beach of the same name in Ploumanac’h this oratory, accessible only at low tide, protects a statue of the saint. An ancestral custom is for young girls to prick a pin in the nose of the statue; The pin that holds is a good omen of marriage. This custom has put the nose of the original wooden statue in trouble; The present statue is granite, but its nose has suffered much, less because of the young girls than tourists who perpetuate the tradition.

The cove of Pors Kamor; The shelter and the boat of the SNSM President Toutain (SNS 098); the volunteer life savers organisation in France that also serve as lifegurad on the beaches. The natural harbor of Ploumanac’h, one of the most protected on the north coast of Brittany. Two tidal mills (an ice mill and a wheat mill) separate the port from the Traouïero valley. The valley of the Traouïero, a double valley (the great and the small Traouïero), leading into the harbor of Ploumanac’h, which was said to be so inaccessible that it served as a refuge for brigands. The wonderful beaches of Trestraou, Trestrignel and Saint-Guirec; as well as Bastille. The port of Perros-Guirec, at the harbor (lower part of the town of Perros);

perros guirec

perros guirec

The Sept-Îles, archipelago of small islands off Perros, the most important is the island of the monks with its lighthouse and its fort; Riouzig Island (Rouzic) is one of the largest ornithological reserves in France of seabirds (Sept-Îles nature Reserve); Off the coast of pink granite, between Perros-Guirec and Trégastel, is the Sept-Iles archipelago (Rouzic Island, Malban Island, Bono Island, Monks Island, Flat Island, Costans, deer), Undisputed kingdom of sea birds.

conservatory of the Sept-ïles official

The quarries of pink granite, near the small village of La Clarté, entrance to Ploumanac’h from where are extracted the granite blocks of such special color.

conservatory on granite rose Ploumanac’h

perros guirec

perros guirec

perros guirec

Can’t be here without visiting next door Ploumanac’h, gorgeous and once elected the preferred village of the French on a National TV contest!

Ploumanac’h is a district of the town of Perros Guirec as above, and located just 3 km from the city center of Perros-Guirec. By car, only you can get to it by the road D788 between Perros-Guirec and Trégastel which a road lower of the district of the La Clarté and the Sémaphore Lighthouse Station.  The name Ploumanac’h originates from the deformation of the Breton Poull Manac’h, meaning “the mare of the monk” tradition wants Saint Guirec to have landed on the Ploumanac’h coast in the 7C, a later oratory commemorating this arrival was built.

Some additional things to see here are

The Chapelle Saint-Guirec: In the 16C the monks of the abbey of Bégard built a stone building. This primitive edifice was restored in the 18-19C. It was enlarged for the first time at the beginning of the 20C, and again in 1948: Two transepts were added to the original nave. This chapel of sailors houses, among others, a Christ on the Cross, a Saint Julien in a Roman soldier’s outfit, of the 15C, a Pietà and a San Sebastian, of the 16C, a Saint Yves and a painting representing the arrival of Saint Guirec in Ploumanac’h.

The pointe du Skewell (tip of Skewell)  is one of the most advanced rocky spurs of the natural site of Ploumanac’h. In this place, the swell is particularly strong. When the sea is agitated, the surge of waves becomes impressive.  The Sentier des Douaniers (customs trail) from Saint-Guirec through the Skewell is part of the site of Ploumanac’h. To the east, before leaving Ploumanac’h and the natural site, is discovered the Pors-Rolland beach bordered by huge boulders including the tip of the Chateau du Diable ( Castle of the devil).


A large natural site protected by the Conservatory of the Littoral and the town of Perros-Guirec impress by its clusters of pink granite, some of which reach twenty meters high.. One of the most beautiful walks in the area is the  Sentier des Douaniers (customs trail) which is located between the Trestraou beach and the port of Ploumanac’h and which crosses this natural space. The Sentier des Douaniers, on the protected site of the Landes of Ploumanac’h, borders the famous pink granite coast, eroded for nearly 300 million years, which offers a supernatural landscape of granite chaos with unusual shapes, stretching for nearly 9 km. The coastal heaths consisting of many heaths and edges represent an outstanding heritage. You can discover in the course of your walk a flora and fauna remarkable and very diversified. The Coast Guard maintains a site of more than 80 hectares.

Rose Granite coast official site




A wonderful place for a weekend with the family and more, very well prize so reserve in advance for lodgings. Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Perros Guirec

Official North Brittany on water activities

Tourism of Brittany on the seven islands

Tourist office of Brittany on the Granite Rose Coast

Again is a wonderful coastal area and I am sure you will love it. Anything else let me know. Remember these names Perros Guirec and Ploumanac’h.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!!

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