Archive for April 6th, 2019

April 6, 2019

Guerlédan and the Chapel of Saint Suzanne!

Of course, I will continue here in my lovely adopted Brittany. There is so much to see in Brittany, imagine France, no wonder is visited by so many and leading. I have criss cross this region and I am amazed of the beauty here. I like to tell you about a small Chapel with a lot history in off the beaten path area of my Brittany. The Chapelle Sainte Suzanne!

Guerlédan is a town in the Côtes-d’Armor Dept 22 of the region of Brittany/Bretagne. The town was born from the consolidation of the towns of Mur-de-Bretagne and Saint-Guen, which became delegated towns in January 2017. Its capital is located in Mur-de-Bretagne. From Paris to make it easier for most visitors, you can come here by car on the A13/A84 and at Rennes take the N164 direction Brest; never done it but do not think there is train service here. The estimated car travel from Paris is 4h30.

And my feature presentation is the Sainte-Suzanne Chapel of now Guerledan (Mur-de-Bretagne). It was built from the end of the 15C with the help of Rohan who were the Lords and preeminent family. It bears the name of Suzanne, an Israelite Princess who lived in the 6-7C BC. The book of Daniel, incorporated in the Old Testament, refers to her life in the chapter.

mur de bretagne

The local story tells that the parishioners were hostile to the move of the Chapel to the village, and the day the statue of Ste. Suzanne was to be transferred; only the sacristan was there. The statue was laid on a cart harnessed by young oxen. As the loading was over, the oxen were packed in the descent and the statue was thrown ashore. She was found standing at the foot of an oak tree not far from the present Chapel. The faithful saw a sign and accepted the new place of worship!

The Chapelle de Ste Suzanne is notable for the motifs of its paneling and other 18C paintings. The Bell Tower was built between 1757 and 1764, thanks to the generosity of the parishioners. Elegant without a doubt, the double arcade of its porch, its two galleries with molded balusters, its slender and serrated arrow, the pinnacles, the numerous skylights and gargoyles are beautifully combined with the building. One will notice a wrought iron grate in one of the shutters of the great portal that allowed the Lepers to follow mass, without going into the Chapel. The size and shape in the Latin Cross, would have allowed her to play the role of Church, which she did on two occasions: during the reconstruction of the Church, at the end of the last century, then after the storm of October 1987.

The Oaks surrounding the Chapel of Ste Suzanne were planted around 1700 by the Lords of Rohan; they were immortalized by the painter Jean-Baptiste Corot, he is considered one of the greatest master painter of the 19C, for both his landscapes and his figures, his style is simple, sensitive and pure. He came several times to Mur de Bretagne between 1829 and 1854, greeted with his friend Alfred Le Cerf (at the Castle) he has strangely painted the fountain Sainte Marguerite, which is found on the paintings titled, the fire of Sodom, the destruction of Sodom and Bretons at the fountain.

Inside, the paintings adoring the vault at this Chapel Sainte Suzanne were made in the 18C thanks to Delaporte. They were restored in 1878, then in 1975 by the Beaux-Arts. There is also an altarpiece of the 17C and 18C, as well as a low relief that comes from the old rood screen of the Church. The statues that can be admired are those of St. Suzanne, St. Catherine, Saint Roch, Saint Yves, and Saint Anthony. Also, the paintings represent St. Suzanne defended by Daniel, St. Suzanne in prayer, the encounter of Jesus with his cousin John the Baptist, the Holy Trinity; Anne and Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus, as well as Mary and Joseph. Only the choir today has stained glass windows, the other were stolen over time.

Hope you enjoy this nice off the beaten path monument of the many to see in my belle France!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Chapelle Ste Suzanne

Tourist office of Lac de Guerledan on the Chapel

Tourist office of Côte d’Armor 22 on the heritage

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

April 6, 2019

Le Conquet and Church of the Holy Cross!

And why not go on to lovely Finistére dept 29 and visit toward the wonderful ocean coast the town of Le Conquet, the most westerly continental town in France! The town of Le Conquet is located in the north of the point or pointe Saint Mathieu, part of the town of Plougonvelin. In addition, the territory of Le Conquet includes the islands of the Archipielago of Moléne.

However, I like to tell you about a nice monument there and leave you the harbor and beach already in another post. Let me tell you a bit on the Church of the Holy Cross or église de Sainte Croix.

The Church of Saint Croix at Le Conquet is not banal: with its Gothic appearance, the ancient statues adoring its façade, its 18C tomb and its large flamboyant stained glass, all these elements seems several times centenary . However, the church was built in the mid-19C. In fact, It has travel over time.

LE Conquet

The construction date for this building is 1856, and listed above the entrance gate. However this is not a construction entirely of that time. The first stone of the new church was laid in 1857. The final reception of the church took place in 1858. Only fifteen months will have been enough to carry out these gigantic works. But the work has been considerably simplified by reusing most of the stones from the old Church of Lochrist and the Chapel of St. Christopher

le conquet

The new Church of the Holy Cross… or Sainte Croix is a little bigger than the old one. It has the form of a real Latin cross and its Bell Tower, copied on the old one, is no longer flanked by the high turret which housed the staircase leading to the galleries and the bells chamber.

Subsequently, repairs to the cover were carried out in 1932 and 1937. In August 1944, the Church was severely damaged by the bombing. It was not until the 1950’s that the Spire was rebuilt and carry out restoration work. The zinc gutters were laid in 2005 and the Arrow spiral Cross in 2012. And more repairs…

As in the past, three statues dominate the entrance gate. Two others are at the corners of the façade. The most beautiful, the most moving is this Christ of pity, or Christ of the bonds, who, stripped of his clothes, waits peacefully, to be judged by the Sanhedrin.

le conquet

The state of repairs of all these statues betrays their seniority. They are likely prior to the construction of the ancient Church of Lochrist dating from the 16C. Perhaps they were already decorating the previous Church, the experts date them in the 15C.

The Bell Tower has two beautiful galleries. Under the first, there are prominent sculptures that resemble gargoyles. At both angles of the façade, they represent fantastic animals and they are actually gargoyles intended to evacuate from the walls the rainwater coming from the gallery. At opposite angles, they are cannons and you can  see very well that erect to the sky, they would not allow the water to flow outward.

The very classical Interior plan of the Church of the Holy Cross (Sainte Croix) as well as the Interior restorations of the 1950’s first believe the visitor that the nave is not exceptional. You have to go through it with curiosity to measure all the riches. The lateral walls, for example, are adorned with decorative sculpted elements that come from the ancient children of the Church of Lochrist. In the right wing of the transept, you see an imposing tomb of black marble that surmounts a magnificent statue.

le conquet

This is the tomb of Dom Michel Le Nobletz, a famous Breton missionary priest of the time of Richelieu. Ardent advocate of the most deprived, fervent preacher of the Catholic Counter-Reformation to the point of being nicknamed (ar Beleg foll =Breton language), or the mad priest, by his critics, he spent the last twelve years of his life at Le Conquet in a house transformed since Chapel, the Dom Michel Chapel. His talents as a speaker and his very pedagogical method of illustrating his words by large drawings, the taolennoù, which he commented to the public, are at the origin of his fame.

le conquet

The stained glass windows, from three different eras, deserve special attention. At the ends of the transept which houses the tomb of Dom Michel Le Nobletz, you can admire two beautiful stained glass windows painted in 1932. The other stained glass windows of the nave, by their modernity, differ greatly with the previous ones. Made in 1960 and 1970, with the theme of the great characters of the Church.

Finally you have to take a look at the superb organ buffet overlooking the entrance to the nave. This great instrument was made in 1872 in the shop in Quimper of Jules Heyer. This famous factor of Polish origins had contributed with Aristide Cavaillé to the construction of the great organs of Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris. Jules Heyer has built the organ of the Cathedral of Quimper as well as most of the organs of Brittany.

le conquet

Access, coming from  Brest, continue straight to the city center and turn left to park at Place Llandello. Coming from Pointe St-Mathieu, facing a parking lot, turn left onto rue de Verdun and park right on Place Llandello.  The entrance to the Church is at 100 meters in rue Poncelin.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Le Conquet for parkings

regional iroise tourist office on Le Conquet

Tourist office of Finistere on harbors such as Le Conquet

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

 

April 6, 2019

La Roche Bernard, boating, history and quant city center!

I could not missed the rugby match with France vs Ireland later on and now watching a great match where Scotland beat Wales 29×13 in the VI Nations tournament. The day was cloudy with sun ups sometimes, and weather in the 10’s C or 50’s F no rain. It was time to use the best of the morning for a short ride to a town in the Morbihan I like too even if smallish. This is a re post from February 2017.

The trip is about 53 minutes from my house and La Roche Bernard is a nice boater’s heaven full of history as well. The tourist office is here: Tourist office of La Roche Bernard

Again , so many places to see in Brittany ,sometimes I find myself surprise of how far back was my last visit to a place. And of course, this is even in my Morbihan dept 56!

La Roche Bernard you reach it by the N165 to it, and once on the D765 you entered by the bridge or Pont de La Roche Bernard over the Vilaine river. The bridge was built in 1839,and it has 349 meters long of which 193 meters are hanging over the river with 6 meters wide. This bridge suffered the storms damaging it and it was replaced by a wooden passarelle until 1911.  Of which time a new steel bridge was built  measuring 350 meters long with 192 meters over water and 7 meters wide; the height over water level is 41 meters. After damaged during WWII a new bridge is built finally finished in 1960  . The current bridge is 407 meters with 245 meters over water and 84 meters over the river Vilaine . Once  over the bridge you entered the town and just follow Centre Ville and the parking La Vôute to go into the harbor where the big rocks are ,from where the town gets it’s name Roche=stone.

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

We took a long walk along the cale on the river right underneath the bridge , and then a walk in city center to its wonderful history of Catholic and Protestant history, and the guillotine during the French Revolution in the main square place du Bouffay. Here you have the Michelin wonderful Auberge des Deux Magots and hotel; more here : Auberge des Deux Magots

La Roche Bernard

One place not to miss other than seeing the boats and the artists on the trail from the 16C, that is marked by many of them is the Maison de l’Abeille or bee’s house; even if now is closed, opens again in April. All about honey which I love and get mine there all the time it is open !!! More here: La Maison de l’Abeille or house of the Bee

La Roche Bernard

Another site I recommend when open from June is the museum maritime ;more here: Tourist office of La Roche Bernard on the maritime museum

The museum is divided into floors with the first one is dedicated to the history of the bridges, the Street level is dedicated to Breton traditions on the Gulf of Morbihan, and the inferior level sort of second floor is dedicated to the boat La Couronne built here in 1629 on orders of Cardinal Richelieu to improve the naval defenses of France and participated in many battles including the best known as the Battle of Cardinals in 1759. It is also open from June to September.

La Roche Bernard

he harbor history and facilities are here : Harbor info of La Roche Bernard

And info on navigating the Vilaine river is here in French from the local regional govt. water resources : EPTB on the Vilaine river navigation

You can see some nice architecture and history on the House of the Canon (16C, timbered house of the 15C, the oldest in the city, district Tower ‘ Isle which was refuge for Protestants, and later the Notre – Dame 16C. One I always stop by is the Church of Saint Michael or St Michel. This Church was built in 1633. In 1878, almost in ruins, the old Church is replaced by a new one with more space. The Church is of course in the square or Place Saint Michel.

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

La Roche Bernard

Another interesting town of the Morbihan Breton, a gem for boater’s lovers and seacoast aficionados. Great square esplanade by the harbor with plenty of quant restos and souvenirs shops. The town is at the limit of the Morbihan and the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 of region of Pays de la Loire (old Brittany!). Enjoy it

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

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