Châteauneuf du Faou, and Church of St Julien!

So back to the Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne, just an hour from my house and so much to see its overwhelming at times. If Paris is a movable feast then France is …well a huge feast and Bretagne its maiden sister! I like to tell you my latest haunts in my region.

Again, the introduction will be mostly repeated some extra here to tell you about in my opinion the best sights in Châteauneuf du Faou.

Châteauneuf-du-Faou is in department of Finistère 29 region of Brietagne. The town is bathed by the Aulne river, important Breton coastal river. The existence of the city is attested in 1368 in the cartulary of Quimper that reports on this date a tax of 45 pounds of Castrum Novum in Fago in favor of the court of Rome. The canal from Nantes to Brest is no longer navigable and the old narrow-gauge railway of the Breton network going from Carhaix to Châteaulin, opened in 1904 and closed in September 1967 no longer exists. The town is crossed by the national road 164, going from Châteaulin to Montauban-de-Bretagne, towards Rennes.

A bit of history I like

The old castle, built by an unknown family of Poher, stood on the rocky outcrop overlooking the Aulne and Pont-du-Roy, probably on the site of a former Gaullic oppidum commanding the passage of the river, it was established, moreover, on the edge of the old Roman road of Carhaix at the point of Raz. In 1186, the castle was taken by Guyomarch I and Hervé I de Léon and passed into the hands of the viscounts of Leon as attested by two acts of 1239 and 1275. It was already ruined in 1440 when was built at its site the Chapelle Notre-Dame-des-Portes. Long sections of wall and the base of a corner tower are still visible and being restored.

During the French revolution, the local population was rather hostile to new ideas, supporting for example its refractory priest, L’Haridon. During this time the town temporarily bore the name of Mont-sur-Aulne. In the following years, gatherings of Chouans (rebels against the French revolution) were reported everywhere around Châteauneuf-du-Faou, particularly in Laz. In 1815 again, Châteauneuf-du-Faou suffered a late but formidable attack of Chouans.

The construction of the canal from Nantes to Brest, begun in 1806 and completed in 1836, which borrows locally the course of the channeled Aulne river ; the last barge crosses the lock of Châteauneuf-du-Faou was in 1942. From then on the neighboring section Châteauneuf is open only to a tourist navigation. On August 8, 1896, the president of the French Republic Felix Faure, coming from Brest via Morlaix and Carhaix and heading towards Pleyben, Chateaulin, then Quimper, stopped in Châteauneuf-du-Faou as part of a trip to Brittany. It seems he is the only French head of state to have stopped one day by Chateauneuf! Between the two wars, an emigration to the United States began to develop, which began in Roudouallec and spread throughout the Montagne Noire region around Gourin (see my post on it) and Châteauneuf-du-Faou. The Pont du Roy bridge, whose six arches span the canalized Aulne river (canal from Nantes to Brest), south of the town. It was built in the first half of the 17C.

Chateauneuf du Faou

The city of Châteauneuf-du-Faou has the project to create a museum dedicated to Paul Serusier. For this purpose, the painting Autoportrait à la barbe rutilante (self portrait with a gleaming beard) , painted in Châteauneuf-du-Faou, was acquired by the city in 2017. The village of Paul Sérusier, famous nabi with a gleaming beard, a local citizen for nearly 30 years, he left behind wall paintings in the parish church. A circuit through the city is now dedicated to him, an exhibition space “Paul Sérusier” receiving contemporary artists was created at the Tourist Office, the City/Town Hall has a small collection of his works. His house whose walls are covered with frescoes is private and can not be visited. Who is Paul Sérusier ,well he was a friend of Paul Gauguin, and creator of the school of the Nabis, lived more than three decades of his life in Châteauneuf-du-Faou: he built in 1906 his house at No. 27 street who now bears his name and remains there until his death, which occurred at Morlaix in 1927. It is in Brittany, still in Chateauneuf-du-Faou, that, wearing his broad hat, wrapped in his shepherd’s cloak he continues to spend almost all his hours. In Paris, he cannot work . Member of the school of Pont-Aven, nabi painter, his work is worth by his moral qualities as much as by his style. It is persuasive and forces us to recollection and silence; moreover, it has its own radiance . It is said in painting circles that If Cezanne is the bridge between Impressionism and Gauguin, he is the elegant bridge that unites the symbolism of Gauguin synthesizing post-Impressionism a little raw cubists His wife, Marguerite Sérusier (born Marguerite Gabriel-Claude   at Lons-le-Saulnier; Jura), who died in   1950, was also a talented painter The city of Châteauneuf-du-Faou devoted an exhibition to her in 2016.

The one showcase on this post is the Saint-Julien Church dates from the 18-19C. The current church includes a nave with six bays and a choir with a polygonal chevet. The bell tower with its dome and its lantern is from a previous church built in 1737, as well as many statues that adorn it such as those of St. Margaret, St. Michael, St. Maudez, St. Barbara, St. Pierre and a stone Pietà. A statuary group representing St. Anne and the Virgin and Child dates back to 1632. The church is adorned with murals by Paul Sérusier dated from 1914 to 1919 which represent the Annunciation, the Assumption, the Baptism of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Chateauneuf du Faou


Chateauneuf du Faou

Chateauneuf du Faou

Chateauneuf du Faou

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Chateauneuf du Faou on things to see in French

Tourist office of Chateauneuf du Faou on the Church of St Julien in French

There you go another jewel in my off the beaten path trails of Bretagne, this one in pretty Finistére dept 29 and nice Chateauneuf du Faou,  and its Church of St Julien! Enjoy it

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




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One Comment to “Châteauneuf du Faou, and Church of St Julien!”

  1. Another little known gem in a country full of treasures. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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