Archive for May 21st, 2019

May 21, 2019

The Fest-Noz of Brittany!

Ok so this is a traditional local Breton music sang and dance all over here on all major events. It is part of the Celtic Breton culture and you cannot avoided. I got into it as love all that is historical cultural traditional and it is a lot of fun indeed.  I have been asked to write something about it and I went back to newspaper articles and Fest Noz sites translating them and this is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy and you too be intrique about trying it, I said , its a lot of fun! The Fest-Noz of Brittany or the bal festival of Bretagne!

A Fest-Noz is a Breton word meaning “night party”, as opposed to Fest-Deiz for “day party” , and is a type of revivalist festivity, essentially a ball, invented in the 1950’s in the center of lower Brittany , essentially the Haute-Cornouaille, with the aim of recreating the festive gatherings of the peasant society which punctuated the days of collective works and which disappeared in the 1930’s. During the   1970’s , thanks to the folk movement, in particular the effect Alan Stivell from 1972 onwards, the festoù-Noz are no longer confined to the center of Brittany.

The Fest-Noz is part of the peasant of the old tradition still well alive in the late 1920’s and in some places like Maël Carhaix, Rostrenen, etc until around 1935, to fall into disuse throughout the late 1930’s. These were, on the one hand, the members of the Celtic circles, eager to have fun outside of their scenic obligations, on the other the former still well-valid peasants who animated the first Festoù-Noz new way, a time baptized “Breton balls” in its urban form. They take all the traits of balls: entrance fee, open to all audiences, musicians and singers advertised by display, elevated stage, refreshment bar with red-lemonade and Champagne Breton.

Loeiz Ropars organizes the first competition of Kan Ha Diskan in 1954 in Poullaouen, whose popular success exceeds expectations. In 1955, he organized his first Fest-Noz in a dance hall in Poullaouen, after the second singing competition. This historic evening, marks both the return to tradition and the adaptation to the new conditions of social and economic life . The singers concur in the room, on a separate stage of the dancers, in front of a microphone. These also provide the first recordings of Kan Ha Diskan, made by the first Breton record company Mouez Breiz. The first urban Fest-Noz was held in Quimper in 1958, under the name of Bal Breton. From the beginning of the 1970’s, Alan Stivell, who obtained recognition nationally and internationally, popularised Breton music and dance practiced in Fest-Noz on a large scale. Today, the dancers are looking for the pleasure of dancing in groups to share a privileged moment, all together. In a way, participate in a large-sized Fest-Noz as it often organizes in close proximity to the big cities Breton gets closer to a nightclub outing, see it as a musical trance.

There are hundreds of traditional dances, the most famous of which are: the Gavottes, the L’An Dro, the Hanter-Dro, the Laridé, the Plinn, the Kost ar C’hoat, etc. During a Fest-Noz, it is practice dances in chains or in rounds as everyone stands by hand and arm, couple dances, and dances to figures, such as the Jabadao or the many avant-deux of upper Brittany. The dances of lower-Brittany are most often arranged in two or three dances: thus, for example, the Gavotte-Bal-Jabadao follows characteristic of the lands of the south of the Cornouaille. You must dance the complete sequence with the same partner.


The music that can be heard in these festivals is three types: a cappella song, Kan Ha Diskan, accompanied singing, or purely instrumental music. Beyond the traditional instruments, there are nowadays groups with a wide variety of tendencies, from rock, jazz like Diwall, Skeduz, and Roll Ma Yar.etc to punk like the Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs , and mixes from all countries. Stringed instruments such as violin, double bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass guitar , as well as North African percussion have long been adopted to animate the Festoù-Noz, there are usually several groups that follow each other on stage, sometimes in the dance. A Bagad, a solo musician or a band is also commonly encountered. At the end of Fest-Noz, it is not uncommon for musicians and singers to make together an ox: a few pieces in a more or less improvised way, with a possible participation of musicians present in the audience.

The main webpage for these festivities and event scheduling is the Tamm Kreiz, here:

From May 25 2019 in the context of the Festival of Brittany, the organization Emglev Bro Gwened organizes an event of magnitude on that Saturday under the umbrella of the festival FEST TI AR VRO, with groups likeBoullig Ruz, David Pasquet trio, Korriganed, Tam Glaz, and the Celtic Cercle of Vannes will perform.  Festival of Brittany or Fête de la Bretagne

The association that is organising the main events of the Festival of Brittany is the Tiarvro-Bro-Gwened  (in Breton Vannes the capital city of the Morbihan dept 56 is call Gwened) more on them here: Breton traditions association in Vannes Tiarvro Bro Gwened

Different Fest Noz in the Morbihan dept 56:

the tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan area on traditional festivities here:

UNESCO world heritage info on the Fest Noz in English: UNESCO on the Fest Noz

And one that I locally participated in Pluvigner 2016 Fest Noz youtube video

Another youtube video from the Fete d’Arvor festivities of Vannes which are again coming up see my post on Some news from Bretagne in my blog.

And I hope you do try it , very nice family gathering and fun for all. The Fest Noz of Brittany unique gift to the world of inner France, in the Breton lands!

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

May 21, 2019

Guémené sur Scorff, Guer, Guillac in the Morbihan!

And more, never ending beauties of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Brittany. These are my off the beaten paths towns that I have spent weekends and holidays while enyoing the real living of country France. You should try it and enjoy it as we do. Let me introduce you to three more nice towns from Guémené-sur-Scorff, Guer, and Guillac in in-land Morbihan!

At Guémené sur Scorff, we saw the wonderful small Church of Notre Dame de la Fosse, from the 19C and  rebuilt around 1820. The bell tower dates from the 18C and stood near the present Church, housing the four bells. The former bell tower collapsed in 1757. This church’s is square and surmounted by a dome, whose construction was decided by the Guémené-sur-Scorff) factory in 1761, and replaced a former collegiate church of the 14C who disappeared during the French revolution. A college of canons was founded in 1529 by Mary and Louis IV de Rohan, the Lords of Guémené. The choir of the Church is enlarged in the 16C to accommodate the chapter (six canons) and stalls are installed. Stalls are reworked in 1932 and only remain today the sculpted panels. These sculpted panels now adorn the side altars and are the only remnants of the former collegiate church.

The city of Guemene sur Scorff and its heritage

Tourist office of the roi Morvan country on the Church

guemene sur scorff

guemene sur scorff

The town of Guer is located in upper Brittany, in the Gallo (romanesque latin) country; whose language is to be differentiated from the Breton (celtic), spoken in lower Brittany. The town of Guer owes its origin to Saint Malo, the first bishop of Aleth. In the 7C he built a Hermitage at the very place where the Church of Saint Gurval is today.

Another important element here for the military history buffs is the military camp famous since after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.  The national military camp of St-Cyr Coëtquidan is located in the Department 56 of Morbihan and south of the forest of Brocéliande. With an area of 5253 hectares, it covers 6 towns: Campénéac (1 945 ha), Beignon (1 597 ha), Augan (568 ha), Porcaro (491 ha), Guer (358 ha) and Saint-Malo de Beignon (75 ha). The camp currently is hosting 3 military schools. St Cyr Military camps info in French govt site

What we did do is walk the quaint streets of Guer, pl de la gare, the pl de l’hippodrome with its nice horse race track, and the wonderful Church of St Gurval, there was a church here since the 9C when it was mentioned of the arrival of St Gurval as ermite in the 7C and gave its name. The actual church is built from 1807 to 1847,in the form of a Latin cross, with new renovations done in 1870. It is a wonderful church.

Broceliande info site on what is around Guer in French

Tourist office of Guer Coetquidan Broceliande on the Church

Tourist office dept 56 Morbihan on the Church in French



The parish Church of Saint Bertin of Guillac built between 16-17C, rebuilt in 1860. The Church, as you see today is from the end of the 16C, and originally included only one nave flanked, on each side of the choir, a chapel opening on the sanctuary by a third-point arcade. In 1860, it was added a choir, which gave it the plan of a Latin cross. There are stained glass windows, and the crawly roof are decorated with crosses. The bell tower is covered with slate. The old stained glass disappeared during the construction of the choir. In the northern Chapel, a stained glass window depicts Saint Sosthène and Sainte Herminie ;donated at the end of the 19C by the owners of the Château de Josselin. The table titled “the donation of the Rosary” dates from the 17C, to the right of the Virgin and Child are women including Anne of Austria and St. Catherine of Siena, and on the left are men, including Louis XIII and St. Dominic. The Church housed a wooden statue of Saint Bertin from the 17C.


The parish Church Saint Bertin , dedicated to Saint Bertin, has the form of a Latin cross. It is in medium and small nave with ogival stained glass windows with flaming mullets. there are remnants of stained glass , representing the Apostles, with their names in Gothic letters. These remains of stained glass were replaced by other new stained glass windows, also representing the twelve Apostles, and in addition the child Jesus, the Blessed Virgin and Saint Bertin. In addition, the Church currently owns two other beautiful stained glass windows from 1831, one is at the window of the north Chapel, representing Saint Sosthène and Sainte Herminie ; the other is at the first window of the nave, representing Saint Louis, King of France, and Saint Yves.

City of Guillac on the Church

Tourist office of dept 56 Morbihan on Guillac and Church in French

And again, there you have some nice quant towns of my beautiful Morbihan to do your rounds into architecture,history, and Brittany as well as my belle France. Enjoy Guémené sur Scorff, Guer, and Guillac!

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



May 21, 2019

Gavres, and Guidel in the Morbihan!

And I go on with my beautiful Morbihan, showcasing my visits to this wonderful dept 56 of Brittany that I call home for the last 8 years. Ok these are beach town and more noted for that, and have written on them before. However, this post will be on the monument with historical architectural niceties that I enjoy visiting them all year around. I will tell you a bit more on Gâvres and Guidel.

Gâvres is located on a peninsula of the same name facing Port-Louis, at the entrance to the bay of Lorient and to the east of the ïle de Groix island. Gâvres is located at the northern end of Brittany’s largest dune cordon, which stretches from Pointe de Gâvres to Fort de Penthièvre, in the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon. Its history is linked to the craft of coastal fishing and offshore fishing with a predilection for sardine, before becoming a strategic military commerce place in the 17-18C, parallel to the development of the ports of Lorient and Port-Louis.

The Church of Saint Gildas b. 1888, in the form of a Latin cross, replaced the old Romanesque chapel which depended on a Priory located in Plouhinec. The former prieural Chapel, largely Romanesque, was demolished around 1880-1891,  and replaced by a Romanesque church. A stained glass windows dates from 1963. There are ex-voto models of the three-masts boats such as  “Saint-Gildas ” and  “Sainte-Anne “, that date from 1900.

Gâvres was part of the parish of Riantec until 1868. This small church was rectangular with two aisles. The central arcades rested on pillars. As the population kept growing, it became too small. The solution: to build a larger church. The first stone of the Church was laid in  1887 and the main work was completed in 1988. For lack of money, it was not possible to build a bell tower. A wooden campanile was erected outside the Church on the north wall to hang the primitive bell that was replaced in 1911. The cracked bell was melted and reformed to get the notes. The other two bells, come from a parish in Algeria. The blessing of the bells took place in July 1969. They are called Jeannine-Stanislas, Reine-Maxime and Marthe-Pierre. In 1971, the Church of Saint Gildas finally had a real  bell tower. Above the porch, a statue of St Gildas in granite, welcome visitors.

City of Gavres on the Church of St Gildas




Guidel is located bordering the Atlantic Ocean, limited to the west by the Laïta river which marks the border with the Finistère dept 29. It is a seaside resort of the coast of megaliths, its coastline has several sandy beaches. We past once again by city center on the wonderful Church Saint-Peter-Saint-Paul ; in the area the diocese of Vannes

We decided to take a break here and eat lunch. We pick a picturesque Italian villa call La Villa Toscane  resto grill pizzeria at 15 place Jafffré. Very nice decoration toscane, great welcome nice friendly service, big portions good prices , and great quality. We have pizzas of different combi I had the Mexicaine with chorizos and spicy beef, expresso coffee and a bottle of côte de provence st tropez rosé we share all for 18 Euros per person, nice. webpage:




The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul ; 19C, rebuilt in the early 19C, in Gothic style. It is noted especially by its large steeple cushioned by a polygonal spire and built around 1840 the parish church of Guidel is dedicated to the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. It is a vast building, with low sides and polygonal arrow. The choir is lined with beautiful and numerous stalls, and the lateral altars are now dedicated to the Sacred Heart, the Rosary, Saint John the Baptist and the Trinity.

City of Guidel on heritage

Tourist office Lorient south Brittany area on Guidel



There is a great pleasure boat harbor at Guidel with great beach parking and plenty of restos and vacation homes even campings. Passing Fort du Loch built in 1756.   Along great beaches and wild coastal cliffs. All the way out to Lorient. More on Fort du Loch here:



There you go another round in my wonderful beautiful Morbihan. Hope you enjoy the ride into these beauties on the off the beaten path trails of my lovely Brittany. These are Gâvres, and Guidel!

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

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