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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