Archive for May 27th, 2019

May 27, 2019

Surzur, Séné, and St Armel , my Morbihan!

Ok back to my beloved Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely region of Brittany in my belle France! I put together four towns all within easy reach especially with a car and all with near the beaches or on them. The remarkable architecture and history in them is what I am after thus. Let me tell you a bit more on Surzur, Séné, and St Armel in my Morbihan.

Surzur seems to have come from the Latin Sartor or Sartorius. Surzur is a former primitive parish which once encomwent the territories of the La Trinité  , the Héro and the small parish of Noyalo. The parish of Surzur depended on the temporal fief of the Bishop of Vannes. In the middle ages, the territory of Surzur had several small Lordships. In 1790, Surzur loses Noyalo, the Le Hézo and the Trinity-Surzur. Surzur is the capital of the canton from 1790 to 1801. Surzur, in Breton Surhur, is bounded to the north by Theix, to the west by Noyalo and Saint-Armel, to the south by the Anse de Pénerff, the Tour-du-Parc and Sarzeau, and to the east by Ambon. The town is  located 16 km from Vannes.

General Count Henri du Fresne de Virel, a Châtelain in Surzur at the Château du Grégo, is a hero of the resistance. Born in 1897, he was decorated with the Croix de Guerre 1914-1918 and that of 1939-1945. He undertook in 1940 to the ORA under the orders of General Frére. Tortured in August 1944, he died on 5 March 1945 and was buried in Surzur cemetery. A section of the road D 183 bears his name. Xavier de Langlais , owner-and restorer in 1962-of the Kohanno Kozh Manor, was a painter, Church decorator, writer, Breton and regionalist. He is best known today for the technique of oil painting, which is still authoritative today in this field. If he is buried in Sarzeau, he lived in Surzur and realized in the Church of Saint Symphorien several paintings including a stained glass in honor of General Count Henri du Fresne de Virel. A square of the town bears his name.

The Church of Saint-Symphorien ,11-12C, redesigned in the 16C on the sacristy,and 19C the stained glass windows, doors, stands and paneling, and in the 20C. It is in the shape of a Latin cross. It comprises a nave of four bays with aisles, a transept and a flat bedside choir flanked by a chapel in the south. The nave and the square of the transept are Romanesque: the nave communicates with the aisles by large arched arches laid on cylindrical piles. Above the large arcades are small semicircular windows. The triumphal arched arch is carried by columns committed to capitals decorated with stylized foliage, oven and volutes. The choir and the cross-braces, redone in the 16C, have again been retouched since. The southern Chapel of the Choir presents a beautiful flamboyant decoration. The western gate, consisting of a simple arched arch between two high flat buttresses, is from the 12C. The Romanesque tower which stood on the square was demolished at the end of the 19C and replaced by a large Romanesque-style bell tower that rises on a porch at the southern entrance of the south cross brace. The bell tower,  dates from 1904-1905. The altarpiece of the bedside, dates from 1751: it sees Saint Symphorien, Saint Isidore and the Virgin in the central niche. The painting depicting the Virgin of the Harvest and located in the lateral Chapel of the Rosary closed by a grid of 1821 dates from 1937. The lateral chapels are under the vocations of the Sacred Heart, the Holy Virgin and St. Anne. One of them, located on the north side, belonged to the Lord of Grégo.

City of Surzur on the Church


The Chapel of St. Helena , 17C, located in the village of Brarun, town of Surzur. Its façade is pierced by a door in a semicircular, dating from the 17C, and surmounted by a stone steeple. It was restored between 1992 and 1995. The stained glass windows evoke the Gothic era with the use of elements of the 15C.  The Chapel houses the statues of Saint Helena, the Virgin, Saint Margaret, St Teresa and Saint Mathurin.

City of Surzur on its Chapels

Official tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan on Surzur



The Church of Saint-Patern is located in the heart of the town of Séné. It is in the form of a Latin cross,  measuring  45 meters in length for a width of 30 meters at transept. Preceded by the bell tower, the nave develops into three bays. On the wings of the transept are grafted two apsidioles or small chapels on the south side and the heart, flanked by two sacristies, ends with a polygonal bedside.  The Church of Saint-Patern presents under its domes adorned with stained glass windows, one of which restores the episode of the miraculous fishing, two models. The first is a very nice three-mast boats from the beginning of the 19C under great bulwark, the Guardian Aangel boat.  The second ex-voto is a Sinagot, a boat from the Gulf of Morbihan, offering a black hull with a red-winged tapered line, registered in Vannes, the Saint-Louis.  This boat of Séné, of type Querrien, is the latest evolution dating from the 1920’s. There are very few votive models of this kind, if not two others, older, preserved in Sainte-Anne d’Auray. A stained glass window under a dome of the Church restores the scene of the miraculous fishing  with Jesus and his disciples.

City of Séné on things to see

Official Tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan on things to see at Séné


The Church of Saint-Armel at the small town of Saint Armel ,very near Séné, dates from 1666, but retains the 15C nave of the previous church. The Church was destroyed in 1855 , and  its immediately rebuilt until 1859. The Church is a banal form that has replaced the old Chapelle de la Confrérie (Brotherhood Chapel). The square and pseudo-Romanesque tower has three floors and a bell tower surrounded by a guard. The Church houses a statue of the Virgin and the Child, in cardboard molded pulp, dated from the beginning of the 19C.

City of Saint Armel on the Parish Church info

Official Tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan on St Armel things to see

saint Armel

There you go another gems of my beautiful Morbihan, so many villages, towns to see; we are working on it!!! Hope you enjoy the tour of Surzur, Séné, and St Armel in my Morbihan.

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

May 27, 2019

St Avé, St Cado ,and Portivy in the Morbihan!

And coming back to my beautiful Morbihan in my lovely Brittany of my belle France, I continue my showcasing of off the beaten path towns of my Morbihan. This time the interesting towns of St Avé (passed by it every day to work), the coastal Saint Cado in Beltz, and the wild coast of Quiberon with Portivy. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

The neighbouring towns of Saint-Avé are Saint-Nolff, Locqueltas, Meucon, Plescop, Vannes and Monterblanc. Saint-Avé was originally part of the former parish of Saint Patern of Vannes dismembered around the year 1000. It also included the territory of Meucon which subsequently became detached. Saint-Avé is erected in town during the French revolution in 1790.

The Church is dedicated to two Italian twin brothers, Saint Gervais and Saint Protais. The old church was reportedly built in the 15C. between 1426 and 1481 and other churches would have preceded it on the same site. Apart from some ancient elements including the left transept dating from the 15C, the church destroyed in the early 19C was rebuilt from 1830 to 1834. The current  Church, in its almost all, dates from that time. The nave is redone in the fashionable Neo-Gothic style of the times.

st ave

From the old Church of Saint Gervais and Saint Protais remain only the wings of the transept-the south transept being the chapel of the Lords of Lesnevé and the north transept that of the Lords of Beauregard, two Lordships of the old important regime of the town, also, some sections of the walls and structural elements, and above all three Gothic stained glass windows which are the most beautiful ornament. In the nave, the door in the basket, which overlooks the old baptistery, is adorned with elegant moldings, probably surviving from the old Church. All the other bays are modern. Work was carried out in 1975, due to the poor condition of the vault and to adapt the choir to the new liturgical norms of Vatican Council II. In 2000, work in the city center redesigned the square, the Church’s surroundings and the public lighting, and the bell tower, including its stone Spire, was sealed in 2001. The altarpiece was also completely renovated and the clock refurbished.

st ave

Next to the Church of Saint Gervais and Saint Protais , there is a Gaullist or Lech stele is topped by a granite cross as near the Chapelle Notre Dame du Loc (see below). This stele, linked to the funeral rites, was Christianized.  In the space of the old cemetery, there is a much wrought granite Calvary: the plinth, the fut and the panel are adorned with sculptures of Saints. On the banner-shaped panel, a Madonna and Child is surrounded by Angels. This is a 16C Calvary ordeal.

st ave

The Chapel Saint-Avé, also called Chapelle Notre-Dame du Loc, was built from 1475 to 1494. In the form of a Latin cross topped by a slate steeple, it has a main façade adorned with a beautiful portal with arches flanked by two buttresses with pinnacles and topped by a large oculus which, despite transformations, retains its medieval style authentic. It is surrounded by a paddock, where a fountain and a calvary are erected. And I passed by it every day to work!!!

st ave

st ave


City of Saint Avé with must see places

The small coastal river called the Etel (as the time see previous posts) once dug a deep valley. Today, with the rise of the waters, the Valley has become an Aber (Celtic word meaning estuary), more commonly called a Ria ( a Valley invaded by the sea at rising tide). The Ria of Etel  (Stêr an Intel in Breton), forms a small bay dotted with isles at its mouth, near Belz (see previous posts on it). It is on one of the islands of the bay, according to legend, that came to settle Saint Cado.  The Chapel of Saint-Cado is located in the estuary of Étel, on the island of Saint-Cado  town of Belz in the Morbihan dept 56  and dates mostly now from the 16C , the nave, the aisles and the choir date from the Romanesque period.

This is rich in history interesting to my Welsh readers, so bear with me please. Saint Cado (Kado), was born in 522 in Glywysing, former Kingdom of South-East Wales, son of King Saint Gwynllyw, and his wife St. Gladys. The first name would be derived from the Welsh word Cat, the fight , and perhaps this is the explanation of the fact that he became the patron Saint of the wrestlers.

St Cado

Following the Saxon persecutions, he took refuge in Brittany with many of his colleagues and settled as a hermit on a small island on the Etel river. A legend says that he hunted all the snakes ;since then there is no longer a single snake in the area of Beltz. He then devoted himself to the evangelization of the country. He built an oratory on this island, where the worshippers, more and more, came to listening. Tired of seeing the frat boats capsizing between the island and the mainland, he decided to build a bridge. Anyway, the mark of his foot on the rock is now called the “slip of Saint Cado“, and the people, in the past, did not pass without bow. The trace was protected by a grid and a cross was erected, which became the Calvary of Pen-er-Pont. near this finishing, St Cado departed to Palestine, and then returned, stopped in Rome where the Pope made him Bishop. He then returned to Wales, in his Abbey of Llancarfan, where he died as a martyr, killed by the Saxons, and Brittany retained his memories.

St Cado pont sur isle to island dec

The Hermitage of Saint Cado became a monastery, but, despite the gifts of the local lords, it failed to sustained itself.  In 1089, the Duke of Brittany Alain IV puts it under the aegis of the Benedictines of the Abbaye Sainte-Croix. The small monastery then became a simple Priory dependent on the town of Quimperlé. The monks built a priory chapel dedicated to Saint Cado, and immediately a pilgrimage began. The present Chapel, measuring 16 meters long by  over 10 meters wide, and was restored in 1959, however most dates from the 12C. From a classic plan, it consisted of a nave with 3 spans, two aisles and a semicircular apse in the oven-bottom extending the nave. The sacristy and the southern Chapel were added in 1842. The choir, with its apparent structure, is illuminated by three stained glass windows. Two of them, semicircular, dating from the 12C, were over shaded and reopened during the work of 1959.  The nave is separated from the aisles by semicircular arches resting on square pillars and the choir by a semicircular arch falling on columns engaged, with capitals decorated with foliage and rosettes.In the Chapel there are several interesting statues, including a 15C pedestrian. In the south Chapel there is an assemblage of stone blocks called the bed of Saint Cado.  And below the Chapel, towards the east, some stair steps built in 2004 lead to the devotional fountain dedicated to Saint Cado.

St Cado

St Cado water fountain 18C on harbor dec12

City of Belz on Saint Cado

Tourist office of Brittany on St Cado and the Etel ria

Coming right along on the Côte Sauvage or wild coast in the Quiberon peninsula we entered the town of St Pierre de Quiberon and find ourselves in the picturesque fishing village of Portivy. There is something nice here and I will tell you about it.

The Notre-Dame-de-Lotivy Chapel , 11C, built on the site of a former oratory dedicated to Dewi (David), Saint of Wales. It is the chapel of a former Priory (Lotivy) of Sainte-Croix-de-Quimperlé abandoned from the 17C. Duke Hoel  and his wife Havoise donated their estate to the Abbaye Sainte-Croix in Quimperlé in 1069. The chapel was looted and burned by the English in 1746. It was rebuilt by Françoise Sonic around 1840-1844(see below). The stalls, placed in the choir around the altar, date from the 19C. There is an ex-voto replica of a three-masted boat le Pierre Déarné dating from the 19C.


On November 6, 1844, a humble and pious young girl, Marie-Françoise Sonic, who cared for her sick mother in Kerhostin (a district annex to St Pierre de Quiberon), decided one evening to go and say a prayer before a statue of the Virgin sheltered in an angle of the ruins of the old Chapel of Lotivy (neighborhood of Portivy). During her prayer she hears very distinctly a voice saying to her in Breton:  “my daughter, go and say to rebuild this Chapel in my name “. Very moved, returning to the village, she tells her adventure. At the same time, Abbé Pascal Le Toullec, a native of Quiberon, has, during a prayer, the haunting thought of rebuilding the Chapel of Lotivy. His project raises enthusiasm. He will take him to good since on September 8, 1845, the first pardon can be held in the reconstructed Chapel. The Chapel is dedicated to the Virgin but it preserves the small statue of St. Ivy. The Chapel is located on the route du Moulin in Portivy.

Tourist office of St Pierre de Quiberon on the Chapel of Portivy

There you go another trio of gems in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56! You are better off with a car ,especially on Saint Cado and Portivy but all worth it I can assure you. Hope you enjoy the tour of Saint Avé, St Cado at Belz, and Portivy at the Quiberon peninsula.

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



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