Archive for April 15th, 2019

April 15, 2019

Grand Aquarium of Saint Malo!

So up with go to the corsair city of Saint Malo. Yes a very popular spot in our beautiful Brittany, however, there are places off the beaten path most visitors by passed by going to the city center. Of course, this is in Saint Malo, dept 35 of Ille et Vilaine in the region of Brittany. I like to tell you about a wonderful family trip my boys enjoyed very much, the Grand Aquarium of Saint Malo.

The Grand Aquarium of Saint Malo is located at the entrance of the Corsair city of Saint-Malo, in the heart of the malouin basin. It opened its doors in 1996. Owned since 2011 by the Looping Group, a European operator of amusement parks, this property is one of the main public aquariums in France, and the most visited private park in Brittany. With a total of 4 000 m2 and 2 500 000 liters of water (including 600 000 liters for the largest of the 46 basins ,excluding Nautibus attraction), there are 11 000 animals from the marine world and 600 different species.

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The Grand Aquarium offers to discover the underwater world in different rooms that address; the cold and temperate seas with the ballet of the jellyfish, the giant crabs of Japan (up to 3.80 meters large), the anemones, the wolf fishes, the barracudas, etc. The tropical collection with its clown fish, its surgeon fish, the coral, the garden eels and the nautilus. The mangrove with the four-eyed fish, the turtle, the piranha, etc. A wreck of a galleon inhabited by white-tipped sharks, blacktip sharks and harangues.
In addition, there are three attractions such as the tactile basin of 120 m2 tracing the contours of Brittany allows to touch the marine species that populate the Breton coasts such as bats, rays, starfish or sea spiders. Also a large shark ring. The basin, in which seven sharks (of four different species), one giant grouper and three sea turtles, one at more than 30 years of age, contains 600 000 liters of water and fully encircles the room. The Grand Aquarium offered the originality of being able to spend a night in the heart of this ring, surrounded by sharks. The “Nautibus”, submarine following a course among 5 000 fish swimming in a basin of 1 500 000 liters.

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rocasse fish

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big fish tank

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Fragile Sea Association; created in 2003 at the initiative of the Grand Aquarium and other partners such as the city of Saint-Malo, the Association “Mer fragile” aims to raise awareness and educate the general public about the dangers that threaten the sea but also the coasts. Its field of action extends to the entire Emerald Coast and goes through various operations such as cleaning of natural sites, and raising awareness of children in the school. More info on them here:

Once inside you can go through nine thematic areas, which bring into the world of the great blue. Among them, here are places particularly appreciated by visitors such as the cold and temperate seas, with always impressive jellyfish, giant Japanese crabs, barracudas or the microscopic world of phyto-plankton. The tropical room, where the multicolored fish are in a 25 ° water. Black tip and White tip sharks in a galleon wreck décor of yesteryear. The equatorial forest, with its mangrove décor and the adorable Florida turtles. The touch basin, where adults and children try to tame rays, bats or turbots, and caress the starfish. The shark ring, the highlight of the visit, with a huge circular basin that surrounds the visitor. This one can admire at leisure the zebra shark, bull shark as well as splendid sea turtles, a giant grouper, rays and more than 600 fishes. The Nautibus, a popular attraction for children, on board a mini-submersible and small and older alike begin a trip reproducing a scuba diving. Through the portholes, the marine world, quite real since it is a basin to offered to your eyes the wonderful views of our seas.

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Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Grand Aquarium

Tourist office of Saint Malo on the Grand Aquarium

Tourist office of Ille et Vilaine dept 35 on the Grand Aquarium

Tourist office of Brittany on the Grand Aquarium

It is fun for the whole family and something even in this fortified city an off the beaten path idea, just at the entrance to the city.  The Grand Aquarium of Saint Malo, nice, recommended for all. Enjoy it

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



April 15, 2019

Cathedral of Saint Vincent, St Malo!

Ok so I am bringing you to a more popular place , and one that even written before in my blog does not cover all of its things to see well. I feel the Cathedral is a must to visit in a city full of things to see! I like to bring you up to Saint Malo, in Ille et Vilaine dept 35 of my beloved Brittany, and see ,visit, the Saint Vincent of Zaragoza Cathedral!

As said plenty to see here and you can look up my previous post on St Malo or Saint Malo. For now, let me tell you about the wonderful Cathédrale de Saint Vincent de Saragosse!

The Saint-Vincent-de-Zaragoza Cathedral in Saint-Malo. Its architecture mixes Romanesque and Gothic styles.  It has been the seat of the former bishopric of Saint-Malo since 1146. The latter was abolished by the Concordat of 1801(agreement after the French revolution) , and its territory divided between the dioceses of Rennes, Saint-Brieuc and Vannes.

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The bishopric of Saint-Malo was created in 1146, when Jean de Châtillon, Bishop of Aleth since 1144, transferred his bishopric to Saint-Malo, a city in continuous growth at the time, which also constituted a much safer site. It was not until 1146 and the approval of Pope Eugene III that the transfer could be carried out. The monastery of Saint-Malo, founded in 1108, became the residence of the Bishop and his monastic church became a cathedral, replacing the Cathedral of Saint-Peter’s D’Aleth. The Church of Saint Vincent became the Cathedral of Saint-Malo until the abolition of the Episcopal seat in 1790 during the French revolution.

St Malo

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A bit of history I like

From this 12C Romanesque building begun on the site of an older edifice itself raised in 816, the nave, the cross of the transept and a span of the north and south crosses, as well as part of the cloister, subsist. The choir was rebuilt in the 13C. The Tower started in the 12C was completed in 1422. The south collateral dates from the 15C. Between 1583 and 1607, the north collateral was rebuilt while the north transept was enlarged and the Bell tower’s turret was built. The south transept was only partly initiated between 1623 and 1631. In 1676, the ground of the sanctuary, the ambulatory and the choir were elevated to the same level as the nave. In 1695, the cannons of the Anglo-Dutch fleet destroyed the bedside rose, which was replaced by three full-hanger bays. In the 18C, the south chapel was built in 1718, and the Bell Tower was elevated and topped with a slate dome. The façade was rebuilt shortly after, in neoclassical style in 1772-1773.

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In the 19C, Napoleon III was persuaded by Abbé Huchet to make the Bell Tower of a large arrow openwork in Breton Caen stone style in 1858, which was surrounded by four openwork pinnacles. This arrow, very similar to those of the Cathedral of Saint-Corentin of Quimper built at the same time, replaced a small slate dome. The crowning cross, at the top of the arrow, is laid in 1860. In 1851 a new Renaissance-style door was created to the right of the main gate. In WWII, the Cathedral of Saint Vincent was damaged during the fighting in the summer of 1944. A major restoration work that began in 1944 and ended only in 1972. Indeed the reconstruction of the nave absorbed the budget foreseen for the arrow. The Spire of the Cathedral was finally rebuilt, although identical in height to the original, this new arrow is inspired directly by the model of the Church of St. Peter of Périers with a more stripped style. It houses four bells. The coronation Cross destroyed during the bombing of 1944 was rebuilt in 1987.

A bit on the construction/architecture of the Cathedral of Saint Vincent for short.

The layout of the Cathedral of Saint Vincent is in the Latin Cross. The vaults are warheads for the choir and the south aisle, with ridges for the north side, and a modern brood paneling for the southern Chapel. The nave is made up of three vessels. The nave retains interesting Romanesque capitals. In the ground, a mosaic commemorates the kneeling of Jacques Cartier before he left for Canada on May 16, 1535. The choir belongs to the ogive style in lance. It consists of four spans, three of which are in front of the altar and one in the back. The chapels dug into the wall that closes the apse of the altar are very original. In the chapel added to the north in the 16C, you can see the graves of Jacques Cartier buried in 1557 as well as that of the Corsair René Duguay-Trouin whose remains were brought back from Paris in 1973.

In 1966, the historical monuments organism gave their consent for the reconstitution of a large rosary inspired by that of Notre-Dame du Folgoët. A new large rosette in 1968, replaced the three bays of the bedside and restores the face of the Cathedral of Saint Vincent as it was before the English destructions of 1695. In the north collateral, at the level of the third span, a stained glass window depicts Paul Aurélien, Tugdual, Corentin, Malo, Guillaume, Samson and Patern with nine pilgrims at their feet dated from 1970. The baptismal font dates from the 18C as well as three white marble statues. The large organs built in 1977 and inaugurated in 1980. They are composed of four keyboards and a crankset and 35 games. This organ replaces the one built in 1893 in Romanesque style which was destroyed in 1944. The Pulpit is from the 18C. It was put back in its place in the nave. The Sanctuary’s furnishings include a high altar, a pulpit seat and a bronze baptistery. All very nice indeed.

As usual by me, here are some webpages to help you plan your visit here and is a must

Official Cathedral of St Vincent at St Malo

Tourist office of Saint Malo on the Cathedral

Tourist office of Ille et Vilaine dept 35 on the Cathedral

And there you have it, another jewel of my Brittany and my belle France. Of course, Saint Malo is awesome. Need to give it time when visiting the city from the ramparts and old town, this is a must indeed see visit the Saint Vincent of Zaragoza Cathedral its full name. Enjoy it

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




April 15, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXVII

In continuing my saga of making known some of the things to do in my beloved Spain here I am again with some of the latest tidbits. My 77th post since Nov 2010! thanks. The weather in my neck of the woods is sunny breezy cool, no rain! and in my lovely Madrid is 17C sunny nice , this is about 63F.

The Fifth edition of the initiative Welcome to Palace! Or Bienvenido a Palacio! Locals and visitors can get to know some of these architectural gems of the region of Madrid, such as the Palace of the Dukes of Santoña, the current headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, industry and Services of Madrid; The Palacio de Buenavista, headquarters of the Army, and the Palacio del Infante Don Luis de Borbón, in Boadilla del Monte, among others. A program that extends until January 2020 and will allow you to know for free these properties through guided tours, concerts, theater plays, itineraries and conferences.

On this occasion, the recitals will take place in the Palacio de las Marquesas de Fontalba on the 9th and 10th of May at 20h; In the Palacio del Duque de Santoña, June 8th and 9th at 12h; In the Palacio de Buenavista, June 12 at 20h, and in the Palacio del Marques de  Amboage, 17th and 18th July at 20h30. The registration period, both for guided tours and for concerts, is now open at  Bienvenido a Palacio! official site

The dramatized visits, this year will be held again in the Palacio de Fernán Núñez, headquarters of the Spanish Railways Foundation. This activity, already indispensable on Christmas will be held between December 2019 and January 2020 in Madrid. The palaces that can be visited on this occasion are the Buenavista (headquarters of the Army), the Palacio de Don Javier González-Longoria (General Society of Authors and Publishers), the Palace of the Duke of Fernán Núñez, the palace of the Marquis de Amboage ( Residence of the Ambassador of Italy), the Palace of Godoy, (Center of Political and Constitutional Studies), the Palace of the Marquis of Rafal (residence of the Ambassador of Belgium), the palace of the Duchess of Parcent  (Ministry of Justice), the Laredo Palace (Center International Historical Studies Cisneros and Museo Cisneriano), the Palace of Joaquín Sorolla (Museo Sorolla) and the Palace of Infante Don Luis de Borbón, among others.

Marclay in Compositions, one of the most ambitious samples of the artist in Spain in recent years, which can be seen in the MACBA until September 24. In The images you can play the piano, the guitar, shout, sing, whistle, clap, roll on the ground or tap, among the endless attitudes related to sound, but in each of the four screens can be seen a different clip but synchronized  with the rest as if it were a perfect music quartet.

Marclay became world famous when his film The Clock (2010) won the Golden Lion of Venice the following year and became a masterpiece of contemporary art. The 24-hour film made with thousands of fragments (Truncates tiles) of films in which watches or people who watch or wonder the time synchronized with real time, is not in the MACBA for the desire of Marclay. But , you can see Screenplay (2005), another collage with silent movie images. More info here:

The reopening of the Teatro Salon Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares is 30 years old. The building housed a theater since the late 19C, but it was in private hands. After many works and years of inactivity, the City/Town Hall bought the parcel and rehabilitated the theater, which opened its doors again on April 14th, 1989. The belief that Cervantes was born in the garden of the Convent of the Capuchin Fathers was spread like gunpowder by Alcalá in the 19C. After the confiscation of Mendizábal in 1836 the land was acquired by individuals, who built a theater on the plot in 1888 in just 29 days. They placed two commemorative plaques on the façade and got the City Council to give the street the name of the author of El Quijote, a denomination it maintains. Its bad condition forced to reform it in 1925, which provoked an important aesthetic change in the facade and in the lower floor,  the capacity was widened and the wooden boxes of the second floor were replaced by a structure of work, which is still preserved. After the Spanish Civil War,  began to project films, but also served as a ballroom, hence its current name. There was nothing to guarantee that Cervantes was born there but a document was found  in 1943 and showed that he did was born  in the Calle de la Imagen (parallel to the one that bears his name Calle Cervantes). The Birth House of Cervantes opened in 1956. The Local was conditioned in 1979 as a bingo room, but years later they abandoned it. In 1985 the City Council acquired the property. The Teatro Salon Cervantes, currently integrated in the Network of Theaters of the Community of Madrid, has a rectangular layout and its facade tryptic is of modernist style. It has a seating capacity of 458 persons distributed in a rectangular patio, a tiered amphitheater and two boxes on the sides. More info in the network of theaters of Madrid here:

And the Alcalà de Henares Theater Salon Cervantes site here:

One up my alley while living there in Madrid is the Teatro Daoíz y Velarde that finally will see the light next year. After years of struggle and vindication, the neighbors of the Pacifico and Adelfas neighborhoods, in the Retiro District, see the theater promised them, a scenic space  located on one of the nave of the former military barracks Daoíz y Velarde  of Italian style, which will have two rooms and a capacity of more than 400 persons. The Theater will have an independent access to the rest of the cultural center and a central space for different uses and that contains a mural with images on the history of the Retiro District. More info here:

At the Teatro Real (Royal Theater of Madrid). Seven titles of the 12 planned for 2019 and 2020 will be completely new to the spectators. This is The case of Il Pirata, of Bellini, or Iris, of Pietro Mascagni. Titles to which one must add Into The Little Hill (George Benjamin), Three Tales (Steve Reich) and three clear bets highlighted by Matabosch as very risky: The passenger (Mieczyslaw Weinberg), Lear, of Aribert Reimann, and Achille in Sciro, of Coselli.

Throughout the 18C,Ma drid was one of the main centers of the creation of operas. The great casters Farinelli began together with Felipe V a series of productions that continued throughout the century with its successors. And among them is Achille in Sciro. It is a work of Coselli premiered in 1744 in the Coliseo del Buen Retiro (in the park), commissioned by Farinelli himself. But he never staged again. Also noteworthy are the recitals that will be offered by three stars such as Anna Netrebko (on November 1), Joyce DiDonato (May 15) and Philippe Jaroussky (May 25). In the section of ballet are scheduled the performances of the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Spain and the Nederlands Dans Theatre  (Dutch theater co).More info here:

Go to Toledo is always sublime, many times there and never tired of seeing it. Now lets see it through the eyes of Eugenia de Montijo, (Impératrice of France married Napoléon III).

The conversion of the Palace of Eugenia de Montijo in the only five-star hotel in the Old Town of Toledo serves as a pretext to rediscover the imperial city and fall back in love with it. It is not known exactly when Eugenia Palafox Portocarrero de Guzmán y Kirkpatrick were for the first time in this city so attached to history and literature, but had to be before becoming Empress of France after her marriage to Napoleon III. It Is known that there were many trips between Granada, Madrid and Paris, and Toledo was the perfect place to take a few days off before entering the capital. Also still family castle at Belmonte in Castilla La Mancha as well. See my posts on items mentioned here.

One of the favorite places of Eugenia de Montijo in Toledo was the Palacio de Fuensalida, now the seat of the Presidency of the Board. She was interested in its architecture and, above all, its relationship with the Empress Isabel, wife of Carlos I and mother of Felipe II. In the interior of its Palace, converted into a hotel her spirit and, at the same time, play with themes such as fashion and design that were so important in her life Eugenia de Montijo, Autograph Collection. Her portrait is hang in  the bar-cafeteria located in the lobby.

Eugenia liked to recommend the route that begins with the Puerta de Bisagra (Hinge gate), modified under the reign of Carlos V to make it more ornamental than defensive, to go later to the Plaza de San Vicente before reaching the Cathedral. Next to the Puerta de Bisagra stands the Church Santiago del Arrabal, the largest and most beautiful Mudejar church in Toledo. From here you can go up the Calle Real del Arrabal towards the city center. Before reaching the Cuesta de las Armas (Slope of the arms). It is worth observing the Puerta del Sol, on the right, and the Chapel of San José, a Renaissance work usually closed because it is privately owned that houses inside Greco’s paintings. Not far from the Archiepiscopal Palace stands the Church of San Marcos (St. Mark), the only existing remnant of the convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians back in the 13C. Nowadays it is the exhibition center of the Caja Castilla-La Mancha Foundation. At the end of the  Cuesta de las Armas is the Plaza de Zocodover, the neuralgic center of Toledo, place of appointment and meeting of its neighbors since the Moslem period (the origin of its name, Suk-al-Dawad, the market of the meat animals). Nearby are the Hospital and Museum of Santa Cruz and the Alcázar.Lost in the sunset that is contemplated from the Alcazar, a magical panorama on the Tajo river. Although , I would also propose to look in the morning to the viewpoint of the plaza del Conde from where another extraordinary vision of the river is contemplated with dozens of cicadas sounds as backdrop. As to the hotel itself , here is more info:

Quant visits holes in my beloved Madrid. Enjoy the walks!

Incursion in the Montmartre of Madrid. Every Sunday morning and for three decades, the Plaza Conde de Barajas, located next to the Arco de Cuchilleros, off the Plaza Mayor , and a few steps from the Mercado San Miguel (market), becomes the exhibitor of dozens of artists. The painters who meet here show off their painting works. Watercolors and oils coexist with the drawings, acrylics and sketches that give color a large palette of genres and formats.Nice indeed.

A visit to  the Sistine Chapel of Madrid!. The frescoes that cover all its walls, from the roof to the ground, have earned this nickname to the Church of San Antonio de los Alemanes (Germans), located in Calle Ballesta. Its elliptical layout  is another of its major peculiarities.

Since 1839, the halls of Lhardy have been silent witnesses to the history of the capital. Benito Pérez Galdós mentioned it in his National Episodes. Isabel II visited incognito in some other occasion, and Alfonso XII did the same in his meetings with the Duke of Sesto. Located in the Carrera de San Jerónimo, Lhardy was the first hotel in Madrid to allow the entrance of women alone. Its cocido (stew), as famous as its callos (tripe), includes in its three overturns chickpeas, carrot, potatoes, cabbage, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), sausage and stewed meats. More on the institution here: Restaurant Lhardy

The Valencian confectioner Luis Mira began to sell turrones (nougats) in a street post in the Plaza Mayor. Today, the house that bears his surname , stands, a few meters from Lhardy, as a sweet reference. Although their specialty is turrones made from traditional ingredients, their artisan recipes also include cakes, buds, marzipan or polvorones (Spanish shortbread). Casa Mira heirs site here: Casa Mira Madrid

In the Madrid neighborhood of La Guindalera, belonging to the district of Salamanca, still resist some of the curious Villas of modernist airs that brought together the modern Madrid colony, which was said to be the most European enclave of all neighborhoods Madrid  Of the more than 60 homes that were built between 1890 and 1906, only a dozen survive. A very nice walk indeed here.

Popularly known as the Cuesta de los Arrastraculos, an explicit nickname that alludes to the times in which it was a ravine of dirt, the stairway that shorten the biggest slope of Madrid connects the Calle  Segovia and that of the Calle Moreria. The origin of this name is divided between two possible beliefs. On the one hand, the presence in the past of blind neighbors who dwelt in the humble houses that dotted the hillside. On the other, the visit of St. Francis of Assisi, in which, according to tradition, returned the view to two indigents after ungirded eyelids with oil.

And last tip but not least,this hidden mirador (lookout) framed in the area of the Vistillas presents, behind the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, a few sunsets that have nothing to envy to the Temple of Debod. The more than 4,000 square meters of this botanical garden host up to 724 specimens of all kinds of dahlias which reach its greatest splendor in the month of June. Enjoy them all in my lovely dear Madrid!

Vestidos Simultanios or Simultaneous Dresses ,three women, shapes, colors, of 1925, is one of the works that stand out in the exhibition Pioneers: Women Artists of the Russian avant-garde, in room 43 of the National Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza. It is a sample that reveals the importance of these artists, who not only participated in complete equality in this crucial movement of the avant-garde of the early 20C, but in many cases were names that led some of their currents to follow. They are key figures of the essential Russian avant-garde. The exhibition brings together 12 works, selected from the permanent collection of the Thyssen, by the artists Natalia Goncharova, Alexandra Exter, Olga Rózanova, Nadeshda Udaltsova, Liubov Popova, Varvara Stepanova and Sonia Delaunay. These creators did not become a group, but many of them met and influenced each other. Along with their paintings, photographs of the artists are exhibited and a small review of their trajectories. More info here:

And here is a find! Hear all about it in my blog! Two valuable 13C manuscripts by Bernardo de Brihuega, collaborator of King Alfonso X, have been located in the Provincial Historical Archive of Ourense (AHPOU). This is a folio and a loose sheet, in Castilian, of the lives and passions of the Apostles , of the end of the 13C or beginning of the 14C,  and that constitute the oldest preserved testimony of this work, of which until now only some late copies were known. Such as from the second half of the 14C to the beginning of the 16C, in Latin, Castilian and Portuguese. The fragment located in the Historical Archive shows that De Brihuega’s work would have been disseminated and translated into the Western peninsula. The Historical Archive of Ourense is state-owned but is transferred and depends on the Department of Culture. In its five linear km of its deposits it guards 221 funds, of which 153 are of private origin. It is headquartered in the former Episcopal palace.The webpage for the Historical Archive of Ourense is here in Castilian or Galician:

There you ,and now is the best times to visit Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is on and the cofradias prepare for the march on the streets of the great Saints/Virgins of my Spain. Happy Easter, Feliz Pascua, Joyeuses Pâques! 

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



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April 15, 2019

Abbey Church of Sainte Croix at Quimperlé!

Ok so let’s stay in pretty old Quimperlé, not far from me and always a pleasant visit. I have done several posts on the city but feel some monuments deserves a post of their own. So in that thinking, let me present to you the Abbey Church of the Holy Cross (Sainte Croix). We are now cloudy here and rainy but heck this is Brittany !

The one you must and I wont mine seeing again, it along is worth the trip to Quimperlé is the Abbey Church of the Holy Cross or Eglise Abbatiale de Sainte Croix.  It’s a  jewel and in  splendid conditions. It is here that all started… It the most prestigious monument of the city of  Quimperlé, an abbey founded in the 11C by the Count de Cornouaille, Alain Canhiart following a miraculous cure. This Abbey Church along with the abbey of Lanleff, the only church in Brittany to have a circular plan copied as the one in the Saint Sepulcre of  Jérusalem.  It forms a Greek cross, and has equally a form of a clover drawn as in the Saint-Sépulcre of Jérusalem. From the 11C it has been preserved its interior a wonderful museum of works of arts. The choir of monks is a one of the best realizations of Roman art, the crypt from the 11C is still preserved, a entombment of Christ sculpture in about 1500 ,a retable from the 16C, a  Christ en robe(dressed Christ)  ,and a pulpit from the 17C are ,also, remarkable here!!! A must to see!!!



The Abbaye Sainte-Croix is a former Abbey located in the town of Quimperlé in the Finistère Dept 29 of the region of Brittany. Founded in 1029 by Saint Gunthiern thanks to a donation from the Count of Cornouaille Alain Canhiart, it is one of the powerful abbeys of Brittany, comprising many dependencies. Its centered plan nave inspired by the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is a quasi-unique example in Brittany. The Abbey was closed during the French revolution. The Church of the Holy Cross is preserved for worship but the Abbey buildings are converted into public buildings such as a courthouse and gendarmerie police barracks. The steeple collapsed in 1862, leading to the destruction of the greater part of the Church. This will be largely rebuilt at the end of the 19C.


A bit of history I like

The Abbey was the origin of the creation of the city of Quimperlé thanks to the protection that the walls surrounding the Abbey, to the island artificially created in the peninsula by the creation of confluence moat joining the Ellé and Isole rivers, by the attraction of minify of Cloz Gurtheirn and Papal protection. But the Abbey was the true feudal Lord of the city whose Abbot was both the administrator, the judge and the Seer, assuring the levying of taxes. The Abbey of Sainte-Croix was founded in the year 1029 at the site of a place named Villa Anaurot giving birth to the city of Quimperlé!

The Counts dynasty of the Cornouaille, who became Counts of Nantes in 1054 and having received by marriage the Duchy of Brittany in 1066, increased the richness of the Abbey by numerous donations from Nantes to Locronan, by various privileges such as lordships, rights on the city of Quimperlé, the right of episcopal jurisdiction over all the possessions of the Abbey, etc. , and made it their Necropolis.

The Abbey became parish Church in 1802. It was rebuilt between 1864 and 1868. A steeple-comb 1880 is high above the gable of the west façade.  An isolated Bell Tower was erected east of the bedside in 1903. It has the form of a Greek cross, consisting of a central rotunda of 26 meters in diameter, three rounded apses and a nave with a square shape. Its dome by its dimensions is the largest rotunda of France. The central dome rises 19 meters above the ground and is supported by 4 huge pillars. The annular aisle is covered with a barrel vault. Sainte-Croix is the first fully vaulted Breton Romanesque Church.

Inside, a jewel.  As said, the monks ‘ choir, spared during the collapse, is a masterpiece of Romanesque art ,and rare in Brittany. It is vaulted in the cul-de-furnace and 13 meters long.  Inside, the wall of the choir is organized on two levels. The lower part presents a series of blind armatures. At the top, a row of triple-roll full-bar windows with engaged balusters. On the sides of the apse, the windows alternate with double blind single-roll arches resting in the center on a committed baluster.


The 11C Crypt, located under the monks ‘ choir, is very well preserved and contains two tombs, including that of Saint Gurthiern, the founder of the first Abbey. It consists of a three-nave rectangle ending in apse. The vaulted vaults are based on six columns with carved bases and capitals and twelve balusters engaged on the edge. The two columns of the apse are a bundle of four balusters connected by a central column that stops before the marquee, sparing a void. It is illuminated by seven small windows that take day outside at the street level.



The Abbey Church of Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) presents a beautiful series of Romanesque carved capitals, notably in the Choir and the Crypt. The capitals of the Crypt and the Interior of the Choir, the oldest, are a declension of very stylized vegetal motifs of Corinth inspiration, located at the bottom of the western Chapel, the beautiful limestone altarpiece of the 16C is themed the Church Teacher. In the center, Christ in Majesty is surrounded by four angels in adoration. Around it are organized eight Biblical figures, the four evangelists, the twelve apostles and the seven theological and cardinal virtues, in the midst of an extremely worked architectural décor. The burial, in limestone of Saintonge, carved around 1500 is remarkable even if it totally lost its original paintings because it was inadvertently stored in a precarious way in the garden of the Abbey for several decades. It is a group of ten characters of about 2 meters high. It is considered the oldest entombment of Brittany. A beautiful 17C pulpit is also visible.


Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and you must are

City of Quimperle on the Abbey

Regional tourist office on Quimperle heritage

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on Quimperle heritage

Tourist office of Brittany on Quimperle heritage

There you go another gem of my belle France, beautiful Brittany,and quant nice Quimperlé , a must to visit while in the area or just come on over! This is the Church of the Holy Cross you will see today, or Sainte Croix. Enjoy it

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


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