Archive for October 28th, 2018

October 28, 2018

Never enough of Vannes!!!

Ok so this weekend was quiet in my front, just cold is setting in we had wind chill of 1C this afternoon and now it is 6C, cold and will continue like this next week. We have November coming with lots of dates including the 100 of World War One or the Great War with lots of celebrations. Me by end of month will be in Asia, more of this then.

The trip was mostly of errands but most were in the capital city of Vannes, in the Morbihan Breton dept 56. I work ,also, not far from city center in the countryside in a castle ruins of 1504 ::) HQ now.

The day Saturday went on as usual with a regular trip to EasyCash so my boys can sell some of their old stuff from books, dvd, cd, video games etc, the cash collected there they turn it into new games at Micromania all in Vannes.

We continue into our wonderful Saturday morning market in old town Vannes mainly done around the place du poids public and place des Lices. We loaded on cheeses of different types, and fruits fresh and dry as well including some mangos from Brazil! And believe for the first time took some photos of what happened after the market close;;;;


As we had time and parked on the streets of a side road near Le Port harbor marina we did our usual walk around the old town  ,always lovely to do.




While walking we got hungry so we decided to re visit an old favorite. It used to be called Cat Way when came into the area and later change to Le Gambetta. Well nice folks, but the service was slow beyond regular French time, and the food well the pizzas were not well cook on the edges. I did better ordering fish soup and a nems greens salad. All wash down with Heineken and Affligem beers, finishing with the popular cafe gourmand (coffee and small varied cakes); all came out to 25.50€ per person.  The resto brasserie is here on Yelp one of my recomm in my blogroll bottom of my front page. Yelp on Le Gambetta Vannes



We did some additional walks and decided to get some good chow at La Trinitaine store in Place des Lices, grabbing traditional Breton fish soup, and tuna terrines for a late night munch.  This is our favorite Breton tradition goodies store here. More info: La Trinitaine Vannes


The port area is always very nice and lively with good ambiance here so we took additional walks around Le  Port harbor marina.






Once done , we headed home to do our groceries just past the expressway N165 into our favorite hypermarket of E Leclerc. This is huge and practically you can buy all here, althought we prefered to only get the grocery basics and leave the food for especialized stores that offers the best of France and the world.


Of course, coming home to our town, we could not past by without the omnipresent baguette bread in our favorite bakery Boulangerie Delumeau at rue de la Gare to get our Breizh breads, done with traditional Breton flours and a two point ends!


And, then we can say we were loaded for the weekend. Unfortunately my team Real Madrid had a lousy game and were beaten badly by the unname but we can’t win them all to continue be the best in history! Tonight there is the Classic football/soccer match with Marseille vs PSG=Paris St Germain from Marseille Velodrome stadium. 21h French time.

And that is all for now , will continue update on the beauties of my Brittany in the comig days. You all have a wonderful Sunday and best of next week. Enjoy the pictures!!!

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

October 28, 2018

The unmistakable Sizun, parish enclosure!

And continuing my lovely ride in my beautiful Brittany  I take back to our neighbor Finistére dept 29 of Brittany ,and the historical Calvary and parish enclosure town of Sizun.


The winter is here with temps drastically fallen to 7C and wind chill of 1C today in my neck of the woods, anyway we did go out. Now back to Sizun, one of the jewels of our region and a must to see , for not only the religious meaning but the wonderful architecture, and historical value in it. We love it.

Sizun is located north of the Monts d’Arrée ;name as a green station and part of the regional Armorique natural park. The name is quoted for the first time in 1173 in the Charter of the foundation of the Abbey of Daoulas under the name of Sizan and Plouecisun, the spelling being then variable over time. The etymology of the name Sizun is incertaine: As for Cape Sizun, it is perhaps the sense of rock imbedded in the Celtic language, alluding to the rocky ridges of the mountains of Monts d’Arrée . To the north of the mountains of Monts d’Arrée, the section of Saint-Cadou, even having a part of the North Slope, ranging from 382 meters above sea level to the top of the Ménez Kador, whose western side therefore belongs to the town’s territory and which was long regarded as the highest peak of Brittany before being overtaken by the Roc’h Ruz located in the territory of the town of Plounéour-Ménez and 80 meters to the northwest of the territory in the downstream part of the valley of the Élorn. The town is crossed by the Élorn river, formerly called Dourdun or Dourdu, whose source is located in the northern part of the Tuchen Kador, and two of its tributaries: the Stain on its right bank, the brook of Kan an Ôd on its left bank. This river, long rich in salmons, flows into the harbor of Brest, the dam of the Drennec created for the water needs of the city of Brest and the other towns of northern Finistère which led to the creation of the Lake of Drennec, straddling the towns of Sizun and Commana.

A bit of history I like

An ancient Roman road, whose plot coincided roughly with the current route Brasparts-Saint-Rivoal-Sizun passed through Saint-Cadou. The name Saint-Cadou probably originates from Saint Cadoc or Cadmael, founder of the Welsh Abbey of Llancarfan, in the 6C. According to a version of his life, he would have withdrawn as a hermit in Belz (Morbihan 56) where the Chapel of Saint-Cado preserves the hermit’s stone bed.. About twenty chapels are dedicated to this saint in western Brittany. The chapel is built between 1650 and 1663. The Chapel de la Tréve (truce) of Saint-Cadou is erected in the branch of the Church of Sizun in 1748 with the agreement of the Rector ( priest) of Sizun, who demands, however, as a primitive rector that the parishioners of Saint-Cadou come to Sizun for their Easter; It is then described as follows: There are three altars: on the high altar, we see the statues of Saint Cadou, Saint Joachim, Saint Joseph and the Holy Virgin, St. Anne and Saint Margaret

Located on the route of the N164 going from Landerneau to Angers (actually Ancenis), and which itself resumed the route of the old Roman road, Loc-Ildut housed an important post relay, which already existed in part in 1812 the other buildings dating from 1831 and 1845. The whole is currently in ruins. The first Chapel of Loc-Ildut, built in the 12C by the Earl of Leon, was of Gothic architecture. The current chapel dates from 1653, 1677 and 1727, but has undergone multiple re-use and successive additions. Very degraded, it was almost sold in 1930, but it was gradually restored since 1960.

Vicar at Sizun, and another Vicar in the  parish, both refractory priests (against the French revolution dictum of negating on their faith for taking on the Constitution of France), and the sister of the first , who had hidden them in Plouguin, were guillotined on 15 October 1794 in Brest.

Sizun was part of the parishes which, from the 16C to the 19C, owed much of their prosperity to the making of flax and hemp, which allowed the funding of the parish enclosure and the ascent of a true peasant aristocracy, the ” Juloded ”

The monument to the Fallen of Sizun bears 127 names of soldiers who died for France during WWI and 25 people who died for France during WWII and that of Saint-Cadou the names of 45 soldiers who died for France during WWI.

Albert David Rothschild, of Jewish origin, son of Brestois traders, took refuge in Sizun during the Occupation. Aged thirty years, loving fishing and perfectly assimilated to the young people of the area, he did not hide, despite his wearing of the yellow star. He entered the network of resistance Justice of Morlaix, animated in the canton of Sizun by François Manac’h and Lucien Messager. Albert Rothschild was arrested and led to the Feldkommandantur of Sizun and severely beaten. His tortured body was found, his hands tied in the back, under a pile of coal in the schoolyard, following the liberation of Sizun.

Things to see; a must here and worth alone coming is the parish enclosure.


The Arc de Triomphe (b.1585-1588), whose full-scale reproduction was exhibited in 1989 in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris during the commemoration ceremonies of the bicentennial of the French revolution, is a monument representative of the Breton Renaissance.


The Chapelle-Ossuary (b.1585) whose facade is adorned with the caryatids statues of the Twelve Apostles; It now houses a museum of popular art and traditions showing bed-clos, clock, costumes, embroidery; A woman with bare breasts is represented just under the Twelve Apostles and they are surmounted by a series of figurines, two of which represent squatting women who display their vulvas (this illustrates that at the time of its construction the ancient cults Pre-Christian fertility and its organs still mingled with Christianity) .


The Church of St. Suliau, dating from the 16C to the 18C and its steeple of 56 meters high. It has a 17C high altar, richly decorated and sculpted and a polychrome organ built from 1683 to 1686 its 16C south porch is flamboyant in style. A statue of Saint Suliau, in a priest vest, surmounts the inner door and is dated 1514. A baptistry topped by a carved wooden canopy dates from 1619. A silver reliquary of Saint Suliau dates from 1625. The Church has retained a processional banner of the 17C where Saint Suliau is depicted on one of the faces and Christ in the cross on the other side.


All of the above are part of the parish enclosure that is so  nice to visit Sizun just for that. Then there are other things to see

The Chapel of Saint-Ildut dates from the 15C, built around 1485. It was built by the Earl of Leon. Consecrated to Saint Ildut, this Welsh monk evangelist of the Armorique, who is part of the Breton Saints not officially recognized by the Catholic Church. It has banners, crosses, statues of which some are pieces of goldsmith (Saint Mélar, the Virgin to the Child) three fountains are visible on the placître, one of which, associated with a wash-house, is perhaps an old basin to make hemp.  The Church of St. Cadou of the 17C and 19C and its Calvary, which dates from 1744.

The Maison de la Riviére ( House of the river), water and fishing, located on the outskirts of the village in the old windmill of Vergraon, presents all aspects of the life of a river (aquariums, models) and has an annex the Maison du Lac (house of the lake). More here in English:  House of the River in Sizun

The Lake of Drennec is straddling the towns of Commana and Sizun. It is a reservoir lake of 110 hectares containing 8.7 million m3 of water, with a dam weight of 500 000 tons of materials and embankments, dating from 1982, intended to store potable water for the supply of the region around Brest and a good part of the north of Finistère. A 7 km walking trail makes the tour, allowing you to discover landscapes, fauna and flora. The nautical center of the Monts d’Arrée has settled there. Two beaches have been arranged.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my blog are

City of Sizun on heritage

Tourist office of Finistére on Parish enclosures

And some specific sites on the parish enclosure of Sizun in French.

Sprev an association to preserve them

Apeve an association to preserve them

There you go , a small town , but me think well worth it for the parish enclosure of Sizun and Finistére,and Brittany;a jewel.

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


October 28, 2018

The painters at Pont Aven!

I like to take you on a foggy day as I write in my Brittany to a famous place, and a picturesque beautiful place we like a lot. This is in next door neighbor Finistére dept 29 and the city very much along the history of painters in France. For a little town, I think it has more punch than even Paris on an even scale. This is of course, Pont Aven. It is only 66 km from my house or about 41 miles.

Pont-Aven is dubbed “the city of Painters” as many painters including Gauguin have stayed there. And so beautiful a must to visit near me ::) On the N165 expressway!

The town of Pont-Aven is close to the Atlantic coast, bordered on the east by the Aven river. The small town of Pont-Aven is located at the edge of this river, where it widens into an estuary that forms an ria, where the last bridge before the sea is located on this coastal river. They are at the origin of the saying: “Pont-Aven, renowned city, 14 mills, 15 houses” of the Breton Aven which means river, river of Pont-Aven, in Breton Pont-Aën and one of the sources is located near the village of Pen-Aven

pont aven

Pont-Aven, came from the dismemberment of the parish of the primitive armory of Melgven. Pont-Aven, which depended on the bishopric of Cornouaille, was a simple truce of Nizon until the French revolution, part of its territory depending on the parish of Riec-sur-Belon. This town is quoted on the occasion of the revolt of the Bonnet Rouges (Red Caps,against the taxes demanded by the King) which occurred in Brittany in 1675. In 1844, Pont-Aven is described as a “seaside village, picturesquely situated on a sea side, with a port where ships abound from 50 to 70 tons.” In the second half of the 19C Pont-Aven welcomed its first tourists.

From 1830 at least, artists represented Pont-Aven as shown by paintings and lithographs of the time, but facilitated by the opening of the railway line to Quimper in 1863, the true discovery of Pont-Aven by the artistic world date from 1864: In July of that year, a young American painter, Henry Bacon travels diligently between Concarneau and Quimperlé where he travels to take the train and the stagecoach stops at Pont-Aven which he discovers by chance. He is seduced by this village. Anyone would even today!

Henry Bacon, back in Paris, talks to his artist friends, including Robert Wylie, who arrives at Pont-Aven in 1865 (he stayed there until 1876), quickly joined by other young American artists from Philadelphia such as Charles Way, Earl Shinn, Howard Roberts, Benjamin Champney, Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Moses Wright, and English painters such as Lewis and Carraway. Jean-Léon Gérôme, who teaches at the Paris School of Fine Arts, encourages his students to go to Pont-Aven in the summer and many young painters follow his advice in the following fifteen years; among them were Frenchmen such as William Bouguereau, Louis-Nicolas Cabat, Léon Germain Pelouse, Sébastien Charles Giraud, Paul Sébillot, Maxime Lalanne, etc., but also foreigners such as the Dutchman Herman van den Anker, the Irish Auguste Nicolas Burke, the Canadian Paul Peel, etc. All these artists are attracted by the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the low cost of living. They stayed at the hotel des Voyageurs, held from 1871 by Julia Guillou, the Hotel du Lion d’Or, at the pension Gloanec, or even at the Manoir de Lezaven.  By the summer of 1866, a dozen artists, most American or English, were present at Pont-Aven, including Henry Mosler, William Lamb Picknell, Thomas Alexander Harrison, Clement Nye Swift, and Frederick Arthur Bridgman.

Around 1880, a second wave of artists frequented Pont-Aven, which became the “new Barbizon”, there are some forty English or American landscapers, or painters from northern Europe such as the Danes Marie Luplau and Emilie Mundt, the Finns Amélie Lundhal and Helene Schjerfbeck, etc. as well as French painters such as Alexandre Dephony, Marius Gourdault from 1879, Gabriel-Charles Deney, etc.

The arrival in this “little cheap hole”(Pont Aven), on the advice of Jobbé-Duval, during the summer 1886 of Paul Gauguin, who resided at the pension Gloanec, then of Émile Bernard . Émile Bernard then painted “Bretons in the Green Meadow”, a painting that lays the groundwork for the synthetism that Gauguin explores in his turn the same year in the vision after the Sermon (Jacob’s struggle with the Angel). The name “Synthetism” was later given by Armand Jobbé-Duval who became leader of this artistic current which was to be called later the school of Pont-Aven, in which a whole colony of artists-painters such as Paul Sérusier (to whom Paul Gauguin gives in September 1888 the famous lesson of painting known as the Wood of love which is also the origin of the group of Nabis), Charles Filiger (who resides in Pouldu), Émile Schuffenecker, Meyer de Haan, Charles Laval, Rodel O’Conor, Robert Bevan, Armand Seguin, Wladyslaw Ślewiński, Jan Verkade, Mogens Ballin, Henri Delavallée, Ernest Ponthier de Chamaillard, Émile Jourdan, Gustave Love, Maxime Maufra, Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, Flavien-Louis Parkes, etc.  After a stay in Arles, Paul Gauguin returned in April 1889 to Pont-Aven staying at the Manoir de Lezaven where he painted notably “The Yellow Christ, the Green Christ” and “the Beautiful Angèl”, before going to stay from the summer of 1889 at the Auberge de Marie Henry at Pouldu where he  was joined by Paul Sérusier, Meyer de Haan, and then in 1890 by Wladyslaw Ślewiński, Henry Moret, Maxime Maufra and Émile Dezaunay.  After a stay in Tahiti between April 1891 and August 1892, Paul Gauguin returned to France and returned to Pont-Aven in April 1894, staying again at the pension Gloanec, accompanied by his companion Annah the Javanese, alongside Alfred Jarry, but he left definitively France in July 1895 for the Marquesas Islands.

A third wave of artists frequent Pont-Aven in the Belle Epoque and the Inter-war: Among them, Adolphe Beaufrére, Jean Émile Labourer, Henri Hayden, Nicolas Tarkhoff, Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Charles Wislin, Ernest Correlleau, Maurice Asselin, Fernand Danner, Maurice-Marie-Léonce Savin, Léon Germain Pelouse, Geoffrey Nelson, Andre Even, Mary Piriou, etc. Several of them (Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Ernest Corelleau, Maurice Asselin, Pierre Vaillant, Fernand Danner) worked in the same workshop at the Manoir de Lezaven. Foreign painters as well as the Australian Mortimer Menpes stayed a while at Pont-Aven at that time.

And some history on the lodgings of Pont Aven:

Julia Guillou  nicknamed “Mademoiselle Julia ” buys in 1873 the Hotel des Voyageurs, located on the Grand Place, which belonged to the Feutray family, and where she had been working since 1870 as a hotel mistress. Since 1865, this hotel welcomed American artists such as Clément Swift. Renamed Hotel Julia, many painters stayed there later as Robert Wylie, Thomas Alexander Harrison, etc. Its success is such that in 1881 Julia was able to build an annex, the Villa Julia (which now houses the Museum of Fine Arts of Pont-Aven). The less fortunate artists settled at the Pension Gloanec, located near the bridge over the Aven river  and built in the 1860’s and frequented by painters who lead a free life of artists without worrying about conventions. The Hotel du Lion d’Or, which belonged to the Linthillac family, was also frequented; It was replaced in 1892 by the hotel Gloanec built by Marie-Jeanne Gloanec nicknamed “La Mère Gloanec”(mother Gloanec) in the same location. La Mére Gloanec  welcomes Gauguin again. In 1904 Mademoiselle Julia  opened in Port Manec’h an establishment with breathtaking sea views on the mouths of the Aven and Belon rivers. The third celebrity was Angélique Marie Satre nicknamed “La Belle Angèle ” which was immortalized in her Inn by Paul Gauguin in 1889. The portrait currently sits at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris marked in capital letters on the canvas  “La BELLE ANGÈLE “.

The Monument to the Fallen of Pont-Aven, built in 1921 bears the names of 101 soldiers killed for France during  WWI.

In 1920, Julia Corelleau, née Louédec, opened the Hotel de la Poste and hosted numerous painters during the Inter-war period  like Paul Sérusier, Maurice de Vlaminck, Émile Bernard, Maurice Asselin, Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Pierre Vaillant, etc. and writers such as Pierre Mac Orlan, André Salmon, Roland Dorgelès, Paul Fort, Xavier Grall, Georges Perros, Max Jacob, etc.. Her husband Ernest Corelleau  was also a painter who acquired a certain notoriety.

The Monument to the Fallen of Pont-Aven bears the names of 29 people who died for France during WWII. Daniel Lomenech, a Breton native of Pont-Aven, engaged in the Free French naval Forces. He made about 30 trips with the boat N 51 on behalf of the English Secret Service, collaborating notably with Commander David Birkin, the father of Jane Birkin.

Nowadays, the town of Pont Aven is mostly tourism. In summer, when the tourist season is in full swing, many shopping malls open their doors. The painters exhibited their works there.

Things to see

Le Musée des beaux-arts  or Pont-Aven Museum of Fine Arts ( a very must to see) has been open since 1985. He has led a major acquisitions campaign from the outset and currently has a fund of 4 500 pieces, ranging from Pont-Aven School to contemporary art. It has been renovated to occupy  2 000 m2, spread over 7 floors. If anything here is the painters and this museum is a must;and the walk around the town, just magical with so much history and picturesque architecture all around you, magical. The museum official site is here: Fine Arts Museum of Pont Aven

pont aven

pont aven

The Church of St. Joseph was rebuilt in the late 19C in a neo-Gothic style. In the city center you can admire some old houses at rue des Meuniéres or place Delavallée. The oldest dates from the 15C. The Moulin du Grand Poulguin (transformed into a restaurant), the Moulin de Rosmadec (renowned gourmet restaurant), the Moulin David (painted by Gauguin) are all very nice to see and eat in ! Let’s add the flour mill le Dérout, still operating and testifying of the past Millers of the city. On the hillsides, above the harbor, you can admire villas dating from the late 19C and early 20C.At the right bank, on the hillside of Keremperchec, mention the farm of the same name, a beautiful set of 18C cottages recently restored (presence of a monumental well dated 1788), inaccessible to the public. Left bank, on the hillside of Saint-Guénolé, you can admire the two villas of the singer Theodore Botrel, built successively (Castel-Brizeux and Kerbotrel). The Manoir de Lezaven, privately owned, has long been popular with artists, some have been housed there. It belonged to Étienne Manac’h, Ambassador of France in China from 1969 to 1975.

pont aven

pont aven

And for a nice souvenir biscuits and gift giving typical of this town go to the Traou Mad here: Traou Mad biscuits of Pont Aven

pont aven

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my previous posts are

City of Pont Aven on painters

City of Pont Aven on the fine arts museum

Tourist office of Finistére on Pont Aven

Tourist office of Brittany on Pont Aven

Again a nice little town of Pont Aven very picturesques and architecturally nice with lots of good food and great walks along the Aven river. We love it!

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

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