The Abbey of Notre Dame de Langonnet!

So this is a town and an abbey and a church all in one, even a park unique! All this in my beautiful Morbihan, in lovely Brittany. I have to tell you again about the Abbey Notre Dame of Langonnet!

Langonnet is part of the Cornish area of the Morbihan dept 56 and is bordering the Côtes-d’Armor Dept 22. The town  was part of the bishopric of Cornouaille. The language used was Breton Cornish until the linguistic changeover to French which took place in the 1950’s. The Cornish was used in the cantons of Gourin, Faouët, while the rest of the Department spoke the Breton Vannetais (except the eastern end that spoke Gallo). Langonnet is equidistant from Gourin and Faouët at about 9-10 km and is located in the center of a triangle linking the towns of Gourin, Le Faouët and Plouray. The main admin town is  La Trinité-Langonnet , bordering the Gourin-Glomel-Rostrenen road; while the Langonnet Abbey is located on the road to Plouray.

A bit of history I like on Langonnet

In 1136, Duke Conan III of Brittany, at the request of his mother the Duchess Ermengarde, granted the founding charter of Langonnet Abbey. Monks from the Abbey in the Diocese of Blois settled on the edge of the Ellé river near the Roman way Vorgium-Blabia (current Port-Louis). Around 1146, Maurice de Carnoët or Saint Maurice  became the Abbot before becoming the first Abbot of the Abbaye Saint-Maurice de Carnoët en Clohars-Carnoët (see this post). Langonnet Abbey had to suffer from the League War. The monks were forced to leave the premises and the Church was transformed into a stable. When the monks returned in 1598 after three years of absence the Lords of the vicinity had seized most of their land.  The preacher Julien Maunoir preached missions to Langonnet in 1646 and 1666.

The property of Langonnet Abbey is sold at auction as national property in 1791, during the French revolution.  In 1793, the Abbey became a rallying place for the region’s Chouans (fighting back at the French revolution); at the end the Abbey was occupied by Republican troops (revolutionaries) from 1795. Emperor Napoleon I settled there by Decree in 1806, the first public stud farm of Brittany with forty stallions and ten broodmares. The Langonnet stud was moved to Hennebont in 1856-1857 and the Abbey returned to the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit to  rediscovers its religious vocation. Like the other towns of the surrounding townships, Langonnet experienced two waves of emigration to North America the first in the 19C, when one of the first to leave made a wonderful account of his expedition and the second in the 1950’s, when the Consul of Canada made a promotional campaign in this part of Morbihan, and  59 persons from the town departed to Canada and 62 to the United States between 1948 and 1953.

What to see , well lets start with the Church of St Peter and St Paul. The present church was preceded by a monastic establishment founded by the monks of the Abbey of Landévennec. The Church, in its oldest parts, dates back to the 12C. From this primitive Church remains only the eastern part of the nave of Romanesque style.  In the 16C, the entire exterior was redone as well as the collateral, the font Chapel and the eastern part of the Church. The first spans of the nave are also built in the Gothic style. The ossuary and sacristy were erected in the 17C. In 1662, the Church was covered with a new roof structure. The bell tower was hit by Thunder in 1844. It was crowned with a small wooden arrow covered with slate. The square tower is entirely redone between 1846 and 1873 and the steeple that overcomes it. Inside, the furniture is almost entirely crafted in the 19C.

Langonnet

langonnet

However, the best is yet to come. Seeing the panel near the Church of the Abbey we took the plunge on the side road D128 which becomes the D790 to the Abbey entrance about 100 meters from it where the parking area is located. You go in and ride into the abbey property to the parking in the back.  And this is the Abbaye of Notre Dame de Langonnet! Right behind the chapter Chapel passing buildings where the monks live,once out you see to your right the walk path of peace and meditation where you find fountains and trails to prayer; then if turn to the left , you come into the main entrance of the abbey. Push the door right in and walk right into the cloister garden. Around it you will see door one small one with stained glass go ahead and open the door and the light is on the wall by the door as you come in ,turn it on yourself! Once out back in the cloister corridor you come to another door less nice but go ahead and open it too, Inside is the wonderful chapter chapel gorgeous.

langonnet

langonnet

The Notre-Dame of Langonnet Abbey contains an African Museum that it says is quite remarkable with a permanent collection, although raining no time to see this time. It has room or salle I general presentation of museum with the masks; salle II Tools of the kitchen ,home décorations;salle III music instruments;salle IV weapons;salle V African masks We did saw the chapel and the major chapel and grounds of the abbey with a friendly help from the guardian, very nice.

langonnet

The story goes that at the request of his mother, Ermengarde, in 1136, Conan III, Duke of Brittany, grants to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, great figure of the Cistercian order, land on the banks of the Elle river to built an Abbey. The wars of Religion, mainly the League from 1590 to 1598, were fatal to the Abbey. The expelled monks will only find ruins back in 1598. The Abbey will be rebuilt from 1688 to 1788.

langonnet

langonnet

Following the French Revolution, which marks the end of the presence of the monks in these places, buildings and close dependencies, reserved by the State, are transformed in 1806 in national Stud. In 1858, he transferred to the former Cistercian Abbey of Women in Hennebont.

langonnet

After various transactions, the missionaries of the congregation of the Holy Spirit settled in the Abbey. Nowadays, they still occupy it . Currently the Abbey is as follows: three-body logis Horseshoe shape enclosed by the Church, built around the cloister.

langonnet

langonnet

Massive and modest, the bell tower is typically Cistercian. The Hall or room of the chapter shows an already fine Gothic art, with this elegant arch lowbed based on thin pillars. Its capitals are decorated with clover leaves, acanthus, Ivy or oak. The architecture of the chapter room is always very neat. Each morning, the monks gathered there to read a chapter of the rule of Saint Benedict, commented on by the Father Abbot, who then read the tasks of the day.

langonnet

langonnet

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

Official Abbaye de Langonnet

City of Langonnet and its heritage

Tourist office of the Morvan country on Langonnet heritage

There you a wonderful full day in lovely old Langonnet to enjoy these wonders of our world. Do enjoy the Abbey and Church and more in Langonnet, my Morbihan of course!

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

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