Mont d’Arrée, the inner Brittany!

Well my creativity is low I know , so for lack of a better name I am titling it Mont d’Arrée, the inner Brittany. This is hills and forest and monuments of the creation of the region of Brittany or rather first Armorique, then the Duchy, and then the region of France. This is as old as it can get here and a strong symbol.

We passed by here with our car and stop along the way for sights and a bit of walking now because in summer is death valley à la Breton if you know what I mean.  The sights thought are huge and beautiful if you like pure nature, then this is it. Great place for walking in nice weather as well as biking too.  Let me describe in my best way possible this vast mountain of the Mont d’Arrée Breton. Bear with me ok!

The Monts D’Arrée (Menez Are in Breton) are an ancient mountainous massif of western Brittany forming part of the Armorican massif. They marked the boundary of the Diocese of Cornouaille and Leon. Their landscape is very close to those of Ireland and Wales, with its rocks emerging from the vegetation consisting mainly of heathland, which is typical of the Argoat. The Monts D’Arrée are located in the Department 29 of Finistère, mainly on the communes of Berrien, Botmeur, Brennilis, Brasparts, Commana, Huelgoat, La Feuillée, the Cloister-Saint-Thégonnec, Loqueffret, Plounéour-Ménez, Saint-Rivoal and Sizun. The Monts D’Arrée are part of the regional natural park of Armorique created in 1969.

monts d arree

The leveling drop is about 60 degrees from the Roc’h Trevezel, high of only 384 meters above sea level, and its neighbors the Roc’h ar Feunteun  371 meters, the Roc’h Ruz, and Roc’h Trédudon 383 meters protrude on the ridge, forming a striking relief, dominating a hundred meters the tabular granitic plateau of Leon, exposed to the vigorous influence of the winds of the northwest, very green because of the Borage and meadows that cover it because of its more modest altitude, although it is actually little wooded on the side of Commana and Plounéour-Ménez.

Towards the south-southwest, in the form of a high crescent, a line of massive heights, with rounded summits such as the plateaus of Toussaines, Menez Kador or Tuchenn Kador, long considered the highest point of Brittany at 384 meters; further south, isolated, balloon-shaped, Mont Saint-Michel de Brasparts, altitude roughly equal to that of Toussaines, but much more powerful in appearance, by its isolation. A symbol in Brittany. To the east, from the foot of Mont Saint-Michel, we find the marshes of Saint-Michel, the marshes of hell, a vast depression barely dug, flat surface rather than a basin, closed to the west by the mountains of Toussaines and Saint-Michel.  It is the natural water craddle of the  Finistère, birthing of many coastal rivers such as the Aulne, Elorn, La Penzé,  Queffleut  , Douron, Ellez , etc. take their source. The water is here unpolluted, which explains the presence of Commana and La Feuillée water bottling plants, the capture drawing water at the foot of the north slope of the Roc’h Trevezel for the first, and on the network of water of La Feuillée for the second.

monts d arréé

The country of Central-West Brittany (COB) or Kreiz Breizh in Breton, on the three departments of Finistère (29), Côtes-d’Armor(22), and Morbihan (56), aims to federate, beyond the departmental administrative divisions, the efforts for the development of this “country”. It has 108 towns, of which 37 in Finistère, on 3143 km2 with (1140 km2 in Finistère.

We did try to stop by the museum or Ecomusée Monts d’Arrée just off Commana direction Sizun, but on Saturdays it was closed when we were in the area. The museum page is here: Official Ecomuseum of Monts d’Arrée

monts d arree

A bit longer history I like !

The first traces of settlement of the Monts D’Arrée are attested by the numerous megaliths, erected from the 5C BC such as the  menhirs of Berrien, the Cloister-Saint-Thégonnec, Coatmocun in Huelgoat, Kerelcun and  La Feuillée or the alignment call the “stone wedding” in Brasparts; walkways covered with Commana and Brennilis. Many bronze age tumulus were discovered on the slopes of the Mont d’Arrée mountains, particularly in Berrien. In the Gaulish era, the Osisms built an oppidum in the Huelgoat, the camp of Arthus, whose remains still exist today. The Roman conquest will develop the region of Carhaix, without leaving important traces in the Monts D’Arrée.

The arrival of the Bretons from the island of Britain (present-day Great Britain) and Ireland is illustrated in the region of the Mont d’Arrée by the coming in 554 of Saint-Joua in Brasparts (where he died), the fight in 555 between the armies of Comonor Coount of Poher and Tudal, Prince of Dumnonia (seconded by the King of the Franks, Childebert) in Relecq  near Plounéour-Ménez, at the foot of the Mont d’Arrée. The Abbey of Relec in Plounéour-Ménez would have been founded there for this reason in 560 by a disciple of Pol Aurélien, although the history holds 1132 as the date of the founding of the Abbey of the Cistercian order. In the 8C, Saint Herbot, from the island of Britain, settled in the region of Berrien, healing the sick and the animals;  the peasants continued recently to offer him cribs of cow tails in the Chapel of Saint-Herbot located in the town of Plonévez-du-Faou.

The revolt of the stamped paper, also known as “Bonnet Rouge”  Red caps in 1675, revolt against fiscal and seigneurial oppression, raised the countryside around Carhaix and Quimper. A powerful movement of Christianization of the region was organized in the 17-18C under the impetus of Michel Le Nobletz (who called Huelgoat ,Citadel of the devil), then of father Julien Maunoir, Jesuit, who preached for example in 1679 to Locmaria-Berrien and the Huelgoat. Men rose in arms during the French revolution from August 1792 men rose against it at Scrignac, Berrien, Plourac’h, etc. by the numbers, but only a few  armed with rifles. The resistance movement in the Monts D’Arrée during WWII  began in October 1942 (Memorial of the “first resistant village of France” in Trédudon-Le-Moine). It is a Breton fief still nowadays, many children who attend the schools Diwan who practice a teaching mainly in Breton, or public schools bilingual like that of Saint-Rivoal, the tradition of the Festoù-Noz lasts, one dances among other things the gavotte of the mountains, the practice of the Gouren (Breton wrestling) remains frequent. Autonomist parties, for example the Breton Democratic Union (UDB), have good electoral results, although they remain largely minority. The tourism development of the region of the Monts D’Arrée was very quickly;  from the second half of the 19C;  Huelgoat, nicknamed “the Fontainebleau Breton” attracts tourists housed in the Hotel de France, opened in 1906 or at the Hotel d’Angleterre, opened in 1908. Writers and artists stayed there as Paul Sérusier or Gustave Flaubert; Victor Segalen died in 1919 in the Huelgoat forest.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office for the Monts d’Arrée

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on the Monts d’Arrée

National Regional Park of the Armorique on the Monts d’Arrée

National Regional Park of the Armorique on Mont St Michel de Brasparts

Tourist office of Brittany on the Monts d’Arrée and MSM

There you go a natural heavens on the territory of Brittany and a symbol to all Bretons. You too can come and see historical spots along its way ad gaze of the natural beauty of the Monts d’Arréé.

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

2 Comments to “Mont d’Arrée, the inner Brittany!”

  1. This is an area of Brittany I yet have to explore. How unusual for a museum to close on a Saturday; most of them tend to close on Monday or Tuesday. Still, better luck next time.

    Liked by 1 person

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