Daoulas, in the Finistére! The Abbey!!!

So let me tell you about a town off the beaten path really, the cousin of the bigger town of Plougastel-Daoulas. I have written plenty on the bigger town in my blog but I feel need to tell you a bit more on the smaller Daoulas.

Daoulas is a town in the department of Finistere no 29, in the Brittany region, known mainly for the Notre-Dame de Daoulas abbey. This town is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Mignonne and Lézuzan. Further upstream, the manor of Kerdaoulas dominates the valley. This town is located at the bottom of the harbor of Brest, bordering the estuary of the river Daoulas, in typical situation of estuary bottom, at the limit of the navigability and the rise of the influence of the tide.

Daoulas

Daoulas has a magnificent abbey, Old monastery done by the 12C, at the French revolution the canons of the order  of Saint Augustin, the abbey still shows great architecture of its old beauty. A  cloister from the 12C unique example of it in Brittany , a fountain, an oratory  from the 16C and a conventional house from the 18C. An exceptional garden  with medical plants inspired by the monastic gardens of the 14C grouping about  250 species of condiments, the therapeutics, aromatics, exotics even magical  plants. In addition to 5 hectares of discovery gardens with small pond , old water washing machines, and sheeps from the region of the island of  Ouessant. It’s a magical place.

A bit of history I like

The legend, reported by Albert the Great in the Life of Saint Jaoua and then repeated by several authors says that a lord of Faou, still pagan, has committed a double crime in the Church of Daoulas. The latter, having become a Christian, in reparation for his crime, founded the monastery of Daoulas, or both wounds, of the two pains, at the very place where St. Judulus had been assassinated by him. Saint Jaoua was charged with the construction of the monastery and proved that he was a very good architect.

This town is known for events related to the Revolt of the Bonnet Rouges (Red Bonnets) against the taxes of the king,  which reaches the area of ​​Daoulas July 3 and 4, 1675.  According to Albert Le Grand, the port of Daoulas was as prosperous as that of Brest in the first half of the 17C. The union of the abbey with the seminary of Brest for the benefit of the Jesuits in 1692 led to the dispersion of the canons; it was the beginning of the decadence of Daoulas, that the suppression of the seigniorial justice in 1790 accentuated the decline. Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie de Montijo passed by Daoulas on August 12, 1858.

The things to see here and very much worth the visit are

The Notre-Dame de Daoulas abbey and its gardens belong to the General Council of Finistère. The fountain Notre-Dame-des-Fontaines contains a Virgin and Child holding an apple in the hand, symbol of original sin. It has probably been built on the site of a former pagan place of worship, especially druidic as a very old statue located nearby seems to illustrate. The three basins of the fountain recall the Holy Trinity. The basin of the fountain forms a rectangle of 6 meters by 4 meters and is surmounted by a sort of small Gothic chapel made of Kersanton stone, covered with two acute crawlers with pinnacles at the four corners. Gothic style, it was rebuilt in 1550. This fountain was in the past the object of great devotion.

daoulas

The parish Church of Notre-Dame, is formed of the remaining Romanesque parts of the old abbey church and a neo-Romanesque part rebuilt in the 19C. the building to a supposed Romanesque state and brought down the choir of the 16C, very large, and the bell tower that threatened to collapse. The mission cross is on the site of the old choir. The Romanesque abbey remains the west facade, the nave and the north aisle dating from the last quarter of the 12C. The nave of seven bays 28 meters long, 12.5 meters high  is covered with a frame. Above, large splayed windows are pierced in the bare wall. The spans are not marked and the carved decoration is banned. At the end of the nave, the west wall is pierced by a door underlined by moldings and engaged columns. On the second level, three beautifully-sized windows with moldings cover the entire width of the wall, surmounted by a small window at the frame’s cradle. The choir and the two apsidioles, vaulted in a cul-de-four, directly extend the nave and the aisles, without transept. They are neo-romans ,19C, as is the south aisle and porch. The wall of the apse is animated by a series of seven blind arcades, supported by carved capitals imitating those of the cloister, where are inscribed in the axis three semicircular windows. The crests of the sacristy date from the 16C. In 1984, the altarpiece of the Virgin in the sacristy was restored and moved to the left side of the church. In polychrome wood, its pediment represents the eternal Father framed by 2 angels, the base represents at its ends, the adoration of the Magi and the Assumption of Mary.

daoulas

The entrance porch of the parish enclosure (calvary), known as the Porch to the Apostles, corresponds to the old porch of the Renaissance-style church and basket-handle, which was transplanted there in the course of the 19C. It was replaced on the south facade of the parish church by a neo-Roman porch.The ordeal located at the entrance of the cemetery is simple only one cross, but is double-sided. The old Ossuary dates from 1454. It was transformed into a Sacristy in the 19C. It is a rectangular building in Kersanton stones with the exception of the basement. It bears an inscription with the date of 1589 and the arms of Father René Du Louet.

daoulas

It’s a small town packing a lot of history and architecture that is worth going in and on the off the beaten path cycle of my lovely Brittany or Bretagne. Daoulas is a must.

daoulas

Some webpages as usual from me to help you plan your trip here are

City of Daoulas on the abbey in French

Tourist office of Landerneau-Daoulas on the heritage of Daoulas

Heritage ways of the Finistére on the abbey in French

Tourist office of Brittany on the abbey in English

And there you go ,you are now arm to come see this jewel of my lovely Brittany, and belle France; Daoulas is super , small but packing a lot of history/architecture in it. Hope you enjoy it as we did.

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

 

 

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